A smokeless cannabis-vaporizing device delivers the same level of active therapeutic chemical and produces the same biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins, according to UCSF researchers.
"We showed in a recent paper in the journal ‘Neurology’ that smoked cannabis can alleviate the chronic pain caused by HIV-related neuropathy, but a concern was expressed that smoking cannabis was not safe. This study demonstrates an alternative method that gives patients the same effects and allows controlled dosing but without inhalation of the toxic products in smoke," said study lead author Donald I. Abrams, MD, UCSF professor of clinical medicine.
The research team looked at the effectiveness of a device that heats cannabis to a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees C, just short of combustion, which occurs at 230 degrees C. Eighteen individuals were enrolled as inpatients for six days under supervision in the General Clinical Research Center at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.
Under the study protocol, the participants received on different days three different strengths of cannabis by two delivery methods—smoking or vaporization—three times a day.
Plasma concentrations of THC were measured along with the exhaled levels of carbon monoxide, or CO. A toxic gas, CO served as a marker for the many other combustion-generated toxins inhaled when smoking. The plasma concentrations of THC were comparable at all strengths of cannabis between smoking and vaporization. Smoking increased CO levels as expected, but there was little or no increase in CO levels after inhaling from the vaporizer, according to Abrams.
"Using CO as an indicator, there was virtually no exposure to harmful combustion products using the vaporizing device. Since it replicates smoking’s efficiency at producing the desired THC effect using smaller amounts of the active ingredient as opposed to pill forms, this device has great potential for improving the therapeutic utility of THC," said study co-author Neal L. Benowitz, MD, UCSF professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences. He added that pills tend to provide patients with more THC than they need for optimal therapeutic effect and increase side effects.
Patients rated the "high" they experienced from both smoking and vaporization and there was no difference between the two methods by patient self-report of the effect, according to study findings. In addition, patients were asked which method they preferred.
"By a significant majority, patients preferred vaporization to smoking, choosing the route of delivery with the fewest side effects and greatest efficiency," said Benowitz.
Co-authors include Cheryl A. Jay, MD, UCSF neurology; and Starley B. Shade, MPH; Hector Vizoso, RN; and Mary Ellen Kelly, MPH, UCSF Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.
Source: University of California - San Francisco
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- From The Great Wall To The Great Collider
- Early Human Ancestor Did Not Have The Jaws Of A Nutcracker
- Increase In Volcanic Eruptions At The End Of The Ice Age Caused By Melting Ice Caps And Erosion
- How Gut Inflammation Sparks Colon Cancer
- Would New Planet X Clear Its Orbit? - And Any Better Name Than "Planet Nine"?
- A Conservative Argument For Genetic Modification Of Embryos
- Top Secret: On Confidentiality On Scientific Issues, Across The Ring And Across The Bedroom
- "I must disagree with the physics of what this author has written. I may have some basis for..."
- "Those are the same arguments for progressives. Scientists are playing God and thwarting the will..."
- "Okay, this is easy to check, just go here: Current Impact Risks. Everything is shown..."
- "Jeez, don't you guys spell check or proofread your articles?..."
- "Faunus was the god of shepherds and planet nine is the shepherd of the trans-NeptunIan objects..."
- Pertussis Booster Protection Declines Rapidly Over 4 Years
- Unapproved Stem Cell Therapies – A Menace to Public Health
- Enjoying the Sun’s Vitamin D, While Blocking Skin Cancer
- Norovirus: From Satan’s Biohazard Lab To Your Duodenum
- Health Briefs: What You Missed Over the Weekend
- Florida Declares Zika Virus State of Emergency
- VA health system faces significant challenges, studies find
- Millennials say one thing but do another when choosing chocolate, study finds
- NREL explains the higher cellulolytic activity of a vital microorganism
- 200,000 fish bones suggest ancient Scandinavian people were more complex than thought
- Claims for solar cell efficiency put to test at NREL