With marijuana being legalized in more states, it was only a matter of time before vaporizers, or e-cigarettes, began to be used to smoke pot.
In a review of marijuana vaporizers, the Wall Street Cheat Sheet noted that the rise in e-cigarettes and vaporizers used for smoking nicotine — or “vaping” — in the past few years has created a $1.5 billion industry. Now users have begun swapping out e-juice, or liquid nicotine, for liquid pot, and marijuana vaping is on the rise, also.
The Inquisitr reported in June, 2014, that the first vaporizer designed exclusively for marijuana hit the market — an electronic joint from Dutch inventors and marketed by the company E-Njoint. The vaporizing liquid sold by the company comes without THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes a high, and users must add their own – usually by just refilling the e-joint with pot leaves and smoking it.
But supporters of marijuana vaporizers claim that users can get a “healthier” high by putting their own THC concentrate in a tank type e-cig. And though there are few studies related to marijuana vaping specifically, there have been several which suggest that vaping in general is healthier than smoking – both marijuana and cigarettes.
One of the most popular concentrates is CO2 oil, which is a concentrate created by using pressure and carbon dioxide to separate the marijuana plant material.
Leafly reports that the CO2 method is the most effect way of reducing cannabis to its essential compounds. The oil it produces can be “smoked” in the popular portable vaporizer pens used for nicotine consumption, but one of the industry’s bestselling products is a pre-filled, disposable cartridge containing the oil mixed with polypropylene glycol, the same liquid used in nicotine “e-juices.”
The concentrates used in vaporizers is 5 – 6 times more potent than smoking a regular joint, and proponents claim this makes them healthier by allowing a user to get high with a much smaller amount and by avoiding the inhalation of smoke and its related toxins.
The trend toward using concentrates has gotten some bad press, though. CNBC reported in February, 2014, that hash oil concentrate, a powerful distillation of marijuana’s essential active ingredients, was being used to create “juice” for vaporizing. However, the oil may pose an even greater danger than smoking.
The problem with the hash oil concentrate is in process required to make it, which involves a butane-gas extraction. It is a dangerous process and can be explosive. There have been reports from around the country of people blowing up their kitchens and basements attempting to make hash oil concentrate. Some states that have legalized marijuana have banned the concentrate simply because of that danger.
What do you think? Is vaping marijuana safer and healthier than smoking the plant itself?
[Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]