Vaporizers, Smoking, and Marijuana Health
Posted by Laura Vladimirova | September 13 2011 | 6702 views | Comments ↓
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Vaporizers can be as decorative as they are essential for protecting your lungs.
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There’s something comforting about joints. Maybe it’s the routine rolling process, the hard cough-induced hits, or the white smoke plumes that make the experience feel harmonious. Yet, from a health perspective, that isn’t exactly the case. Though there is less danger in smoking cannabis than in many other day-to-day activities, some concerns linger on.
A 2003 NORML and MAPS study examined the health effects of smoke combustion on the respiratory system. “Like tobacco,” the study cites, “marijuana smoke contains toxins that are known to be hazardous to the respiratory system. These toxins are essentially a byproduct of combustion, separate from the pharmaceutically active components of marijuana, known as cannabinoids, which include THC. Although there is no proof that marijuana smoking causes cancer, chronic pot smokers have been shown to suffer an elevated risk of bronchitis and respiratory infections. ”
The study also presented a solution to the health hazard: the ability of vaporizers to eliminate “harmful toxins in marijuana smoke.”
Vaporizers have been around since the early 90s and yet, there seems to be an unspoken resistance to these potentially life-saving devices. Images of joints, blunts, and bongs have been so persuasive that few even consider possibilities beyond smoking.
When 49-year-old California native Rosa Vallie was diagnosed with cancer, she knew she didn’t want to smoke the medicine. She tried edibles, but had a hard time keeping food down during the treatment. Then, her nephew Mikey bought her a vaporizer.
“I couldn't smoke. I have bad lungs and I didn’t want that on top of treatment. When Mikey brought me one, it looked kind of crazy to me, like little stereo speakers!” says Rosa with a smile.
She used an Iolite vaporizer for the duration of her recovery, stating that it helped her feel “much less anxious, less in pain” and helped her regain an appetite for “big sister’s world famous tamales.”
Shahin Amirpour, owner and distributor of Hot Box Vaporizers, has noticed a degree of hesitation when clients consider the switch from smoking to vaporizers. He’s got a few theories as to why.
“[People] think they don’t get the hit they’re used to,” he says. “They think they get higher when they get the harshness of a smoke hit. They feel their lungs fill up and they think vaporizers can’t do that.”
To address the harsh hit cravings, Shahin and his team came up with a creative solution, “We engineered our heating element in a way that you can choke it. You can hit it real slow and still get that choke feeling you get while smoking. Some vaps don’t give you that, but ours is designed for it. Vaps that fills up a big bag, like Volcanoes, are great. They’re great for a sharing experience. But, you suck out of a bag and don’t get a direct hit. We know what our customers like and made the Hot Box for them. ”
In addition to preserving health, Shahin says that vaps are a better value, “You get more out of your herb. You can collect the leftovers, which still have THC and since its already been heated and activated, you throw it in a coffee grinder and use that for edibles. ”
Shahin believes that price points can also be a turn off. While some range in the expensive side, like the Volcano, others, including Hot Boxes, Silver Surfer, VaporBrothers and Iolite are more affordable. However, regardless of the vap price, the hidden costs of smoking with combustion are always going to higher.
Though it may seem tempting, Shahin strongly warns against buying inexpensive vaporizers as they can do more harm than good. “Vaps from China are cheaper. They’re good for value but this is a health product,” he says. “We’ve taken apart some of the vaps and they’re made from cheap fiberglass. They’re spray painted. It’s like those dog food recalls. The last thing you want is your regular heated inhalation device being outsourced and defective. ”
As more people in the marijuana community become aware of the subtle difference between strains, they can also choose better tools to derive the full benefits of those strains. Perhaps a vaporizer doesn't feel like a part of that process initially, however, the health benefits alone make them a much needed part of any real cannabis arsenal.
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Friday, 09 September 2011
Article by Laura Vladimirova, on Sep. 13th 2011