- by Marni Meistrell
The legalization of medical marijuana in Puerto Rico has rapidly produced more and more options to access cannabis and ways to consume it. The most known is smoking. While smoking weed is the old school, go-to method for many people, it may not be a viable option for you given the local medical marijuana laws. Right now, Puerto Rico regulations do not allow patients to smoke cannabis. But not to worry, vaping cannabis may actually be a better option and could hold many advantages for your medical marijuana needs.
What is Vaporization?
Vaporization is a process that changes solid substances into vapors so they can be inhaled. A vaporizer is a device, often electronic, that is used to turn a liquid substance—most commonly extracted from cannabis or tobacco—from its solid state into a gas, or vapor, at very low temperatures in order to inhale it.
The vaporizer works by heating the substance to a temperature below burning, but high enough to release the active ingredients into a mist that is inhaled. The substances most commonly vaporized are tobacco and cannabis. But other substances may be vaporized as well, including other herbs, cannabis concentrate and wax.
The Benefits of Vaping
Vaporization is recommended by many physicians as a safer alternative to smoking. Smoke contains carcinogens, regardless which substance is being burned and inhaled, is not very good for a person’s cardiovascular or respiratory health. With smoking, combustion happens as the solid substance is burnt. Combustion produces smoke made up of particles of the substance. It also creates chemicals, including free radicals and carcinogens, similarly made from the burnt substance. The smoke filled with particles and harmful toxins cause irritation to the lungs as well as other damage to the respiratory system when they are inhaled.
Generally, cannabis can burn at temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit when it is smoked. Combustion happens somewhere around 390 degrees Fahrenheit, which means cannabis can burn about five times as hot as necessary to get the effects. On the other hand, a vaporizer burns marijuana somewhere between 285-338 degrees, which is much lower than the point of combustion. Because combustion doesn’t take place, there is no resulting smoke. Without smoke, many of the negative side effects, like throat and lung irritation, “brain fog,” and hang-over are diminished or eliminated altogether. In fact, it’s also been reported that about 95 percent of the smoke is eliminated from the mist that is inhaled with a vaporizer. Studies also show that cannabis terpenoids are increased 4-8 times when cannabis is vaporized rather than smoked. Cannabis terpenoids are an active ingredient that stimulates the feel-good chemicals in the brain and may aid in the reduction of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety and infection. In other words, the effectiveness of medical marijuana can be substantially enhanced if its vaped.
Another benefit of vaping is that it is more efficient in releasing active ingredients, like THC. Vaporizers were reported to convert 46 percent of cannabis to THC as opposed to smoking, which only converted 25 percent of cannabis to THC. So less cannabis is needed than when smoking it, for the same effect.
Vaporizing Substances Other Than Tobacco and Cannabis
Tobacco and cannabis are not the only plant substances that can be vaporized. In fact, many herbs such as chamomile, rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus, lavender, basil and a host of others can be vaped. Vaping other herbs may be used for illnesses like colds and flu as well as other conditions that affect breathing and lungs. It may also help with respiratory issues, calming anxiety and autoimmune disorders, chronic pain and other ailments.
If you are looking for a new vaporizer or other accessories for your medical marijuana needs, Encanna will offer vapor cannabis cartridges, in our Puerto Rico dispensary, as well as vaporizers in our online and retail store.