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Increasing Acceptance of Marijuana Furthers Discussion of Ingestion Methods for Medicinal Use
Vaporizers, both large and small, are gaining in popularity as a healthier method to ingest cannabis
|By PR Newswire
|January 29, 2014 11:30 AM EST
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Two major recent opinion polls show an unmistakable shift in public opinion in the United States regarding the legalization of marijuana. A poll from Gallop last October showed 58-percent of Americans now favor legalization. A more recent poll from CNN showed legalization support at 55-percent, and the majority view marijuana less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. That majority now ostensibly includes President Obama, who in a widely publicized article in the New Yorker said that he believes marijuana is less dangerous (than alcohol) "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."
The issue of marijuana legalization will continue to be debated, and now discussions surrounding ingestion methods have heightened – especially for medicinal use. For example, medical marijuana reduces painful side effects from certain types of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy and other serious illnesses, however, the smoke can negatively affect the respiratory system. This is why "vaping" is drastically growing in popularity and notice in the media.
A vaporizer is a device that is used to extract the active ingredients from plant materials. Vaporizers accomplish this feat by heating the plant material to a point hot enough so that the active ingredients undergo a phase change from a liquid state to gaseous state (producing the water vapor). Though vaporizer designs differ in form and function, their invention and subsequent use have been cited as contributing to the softening of the public's attitude toward pot, a much less controversial option than rolling a joint of baking pot brownies.
In 2009, Dr. Donald Abrams, Chief of Hematology-Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, led one of the first clinical trials with healthy marijuana smoking volunteers aged 25-40 looking at a vaporizer and comparing the levels of cannabinoids that developed in the blood stream after smoking a cannabis cigarette versus vaporizing the same cigarette.
"We knew that we could demonstrate that smoking cannabis was effective until we were blue in the face. And nobody would say it should be approved because of the "delivery" system," said Dr. Abrams. "It was the fastest clinical trial I've ever done because we had people lined up. It was very easy to enroll. And what we proved was the levels of the cannabinoids in the bloodstream were equivalent whether it was smoked or vaporized; that there was much less exposure to noxious gasses when it was vaporized as measured by expired carbon monoxide; that the high was graded as equal and that patients actually had a preference for vaporization."
Vaporization units, both large and small, are now being viewed as medical devices, helping patients ingest the medical benefits of marijuana, not the smoke or toxins.
"In our field of pain medicine, we are always looking for different, simpler, and more easily tolerated routes of medication delivery, and, while nebulization of aerosols has certainly been available for various respiratory and other conditions, heated vaporization of pain medications presents an unusually compelling avenue to explore," said Michael D. Halperin, M.D., Interventional Pain Management. "Although standardization of dosing is a necessity, the simplicity of use, the portability, and reliability of newer 'desktop' vaporizers is a step further towards the goal of rapid targeted medication delivery through inhalation, which, in many ways, acts in much the same way as the administration of volatilized general anesthetics in common use."
Acceptance of vaporizing as an ingesting method within the "cannabis culture" has been swift and certain, and the science behind its efficacy is growing. The United Patients Group, a resource for alternative medicine, lists over 50 conditions that are treatable with medical marijuana.
"I am a woman who suffers from painful cramps and I have trouble sleeping," said Genifer Murray, a vaporization enthusiast from Colorado. "Being in my 40's, I've tried other methods, but nothing works like cannabis for both conditions. However, being as active as I am, I prefer to vaporize. For me, it's just a healthier alternative."
"Vaporizing, in contrast to combustion, heats the plant material to the perfect temperature to efficiently extract the full flavor, potency, and purity of your plant material," said Seibo Shen, CEO of VapeXhale, a manufacturer of high-end, desktop vaporizing products. "When you vaporize, you are inhaling the active compounds in your material while significantly reducing the amount of smoke toxins absorbed. These smoke toxins include polynucleararomatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs), best known for being a prime suspect in cigarette related cancers. Vaporizing circumvents the need to inhale these toxins, providing the user with a healthier and satisfying water vapor."
Media Contact: Amey Owen, The Cline Group, 610 538 6700 ext. 1621, [email protected]
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