Vaporization causes more effect on the body

Scientists are discovering a significant difference between smoking and spraying. What is the acute effect of smoked and vaporized cannabis in healthy adults?

How does smoked or vaporized cannabis strongly influence subjective effects, cognitive performance, psychomotor performance, and cardiovascular measurements in healthy adults?

Smoked, pharmacokinetics, THC vaporization

A study published in the JAMA supervised by Ryan Vandrey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, actually bears on administration of THC using controlled methods. The different ways in which THC enters the body produce effects on dramatically different time scales.

The scientific experiment

This study was conducted from June 2016 to January 2017 on 17 healthy adults. Six smoke and vapor outpatient experimental sessions, with 1 week of weaning between sessions, were carried out in groups and the doses of THC were distributed at random in each group.

Eligible participants were judged to be in good health by examining their medical history, electrocardiogram, blood tests (hematology and serology), and physical examination. Participants said they had used cannabis in the past, but denied having used cannabis or other illicit drugs in the month before participating. Urinary toxicology tests for cannabis, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), opioids and phencyclidine were performed using rapid enzyme immunoassay kits during screening and before each experimental session. : Participants had to provide a negative result for all drugs before each session. This study was approved by the Johns Hopkins Medicine Institutional Review Board and all participants gave their informed consent in writing.

The aim of this study was to compare the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of smoked and vaporized cannabis in healthy adults. This study builds on previous research by examining multiple doses of inhaled THC, enrolling people with infrequent drinking patterns (defined here as no use in the past 30 days accompanied by a negative result to urine toxicology test) and including a full battery of pharmacodynamic tests (i.e., subjective effects of drugs, cognitive and psychomotor performance, and vital signs).

Result on different doses

Each participant received either zero (placebo), ten or 25 milligrams of THC, and then reported their experiences of each dose in each condition in six different trials.

In a crossover trial, inhalation of smoked and vaporized cannabis, containing 10 mg of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol produced discriminatory effects and modest impairment in cognitive functioning, while inhalation of a 25 mg dose of THC was associated with pronounced effects, an increased incidence of adverse effects and significant impairment of cognitive and psychomotor capacities.

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Vaporized cannabis produced greater pharmacodynamic effects and higher THC concentrations in the blood than smoked cannabis in equal doses. This means that significant, and sometimes harmful, effects can occur at relatively low doses of THC in infrequent cannabis users and therefore these data should be taken into account in the regulation of retail cannabis products and in the development of cannabis products. education of people who start to use cannabis.

In smokers, THC levels in the blood peaked at around 3,8 nanograms per milliliter of blood when they were given 10 milligrams of THC.

Vaporizers, on the other hand, ended up with significantly more THC in their body, reaching 7,5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. This trend was repeated when participants received higher doses: vaporizers had 14,4 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, and smokers only 10,2.


Vaporization therefore turned out to be a more efficient way of delivering THC to the blood, but it also changed the experience of study participants with regard to the dose of THC. This evidence that vaporizers experience the effects of THC differently contradicts previous work which showed no significant difference between the two methods.

The authors of this new study argue that this is due to their meticulous experimental design: They kept their THC dosage constant by painstakingly calculating the percentage of THC in each batch of federally sponsored medicinal herb.

Smoked, pharmacokinetics, THC vaporization

The results demonstrate that vaporizing is at least one more effective method than smoking for administering THC, says Nadia Solowij, psychologist from Wollongong University, in her commentary:

Vaporization avoids combustion, which tends to burn THC and produce harmful byproducts, it produces much less “sidestream smoke”: the same smoke that will not end up in the lungs of the person vaporizing. It is a safer intrapulmonary delivery system than smoking, because by heating rather than burning plant material, it prevents the formation of toxic pyrolytic compounds, including carbon monoxide and carcinogens. However, there is little strong evidence from clinical trials or epidemiological studies to support that this is a safer option, ”Solowij continues.

The team concludes that vaping can reduce exposure to certain contaminants that come from combustion, which is essentially the same argument that is still in favor of e-cigarettes. The question is whether this means vaporizing is actually safer, however, remains unanswered.

Policy change

Cannabis policy and regulation is undergoing radical reform across the developed world. At the time of writing, the medicinal use of cannabis is approved in 30 US states and non-medicinal use is permitted in 9 states. Many countries in the European Union and other countries have also approved medicinal use like Australia and non-medicinal like Uruguay and Canada. Along with these policy changes, the perceived harms associated with cannabis use have decreased. These changes have also created a new market, which has increased access and stimulated the development of new products and formulations.

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Historically, cannabis has primarily been smoked using various instruments such as joints, pipes and bongs. Vaporizers: Similar to electronic cigarettes, have emerged and become an increasingly popular method of administering cannabis, particularly in states allowing non-medicinal use such as California. Cannabis vaporizers vaporize hot-dried cannabis or concentrated cannabis extracts and / or resins, creating an inhalable vapor. Vaporization is associated with less toxic exposure (eg from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) than traditional smoking methods which increases the attractiveness of the product.

Meticulous experimental design

The questions were designed to assess participants' feelings of: general effects: pleasant or unpleasant, illness, heart-rate, anxiety and / or nervousness or paranoia, relaxation, alertness, vigor, motivation, agitation, hunger, or no appetite, dry mouth, dry, red and / or irritable eyes, throat irritation and coughing, difficulties in routine work, memory loss, tiredness, etc.

Most previous studies included the use of single doses of THC, relatively low concentrations (1,7% - 6,9%), small sample sizes, and the aspiration procedures did not match the natural profiles of the patients. consumers that may produce variation in dose release. In addition, the extent to which cognitive and psychomotor impairment differs depending on the method of inhaling cannabis (i.e., smoked or vaporized) has not been systematically assessed.

Given the increasing popularity of vaporization and increased access to cannabis in the expanding drug and non-medicinal product markets, controlled studies comparing the acute effects of administering smoked and vaporized cannabis to consumers are emerging. essential and can inform dosing guidelines.

Smoked, pharmacokinetics, THC vaporization


Vendors and consumers should be aware that inhaling cannabis with a vaporizer may produce more pronounced effects than traditional methods with tobacco.

In this study, participants observed an increase in subjective effects, cognitive and psychomotor impairments, acute cardiovascular effects, and THC levels in the blood after inhaling smoked and vaporized cannabis. Notably, vaporized cannabis produced larger changes in study results than smoked cannabis.

Future studies should further explore the effects of vaporizers and other new ways of delivering cannabis to users with varying degrees of experience. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles are likely to vary considerably among products and consumers.

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