Not only is selecting the right strain of cannabis flower important for getting optimal health benefits, but the administration method can also make an immense difference in outcomes. Many people struggle with determining the ideal way to consume hemp flower or medical marijuana. In this article, we’ll discuss two inhalation methods: smoking and vaporization.
Smoking and vaporizing enable people to get the full spectrum of beneficial compounds in the cannabis strains they consume.
- Cannabinoids – Examples include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There are over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant! These compounds affect the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps to regulate various biological processes in the human body.
- Terpenes – These naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants (and all other plants) give plants their specific aromatic qualities. Terpenes act synergistically with cannabinoids to influence physiological (and sometimes psychological) effects.
- Flavonoids – These plant metabolites are thought to promote positive biological responses. They are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-viral properties.
Whether choosing to smoke or vaporize hemp or cannabis, an individual will absorb beneficial plant compounds readily into their bloodstream faster than with many other administration methods. Inhaling cannabis makes CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavinoids more bioavailable.
Vaporization Vs. Smoking Cannabis — What’s the Difference?
Vaporization is essentially the heating – without burning – of cannabis to release active ingredients into a vapor. A device, vaporizer, heats the cannabis product at a lower temperature than an open flame (as with smoking). Vaporization avoids the combustion that occurs with smoking, which releases respiratory irritants and carcinogens into the body.
Note that vaporization with a vaporizer is different from vaping using devices like e-cigarettes and vape pens which might include nicotine, liquid propylene glycol, glycerol, synthetic flavors, or vitamins. Vaporization heats dry cannabis to a specific temperature to release its active ingredients without producing toxic by-products such as ammonia and carbon monoxide.
How to Use a Vaporizer with Cannabis or Hemp Flower
Three basic parts (heating chamber, power supply, and mouthpiece) comprise vaporizers made for cannabis and hemp flower. Some units enable the user to adjust the temperature, and most come with brushes for cleaning and replacement parts.
The general steps for using a dry vaporizer include:
- Warm up the device. Typically, vaporizers have an indicator light that illuminates when the unit has reached the desired temperature for vaporizing.
- Grind the cannabis flower to the recommended consistency.
- Load the ground product into the vaporizer chamber.
- Adjust the temperature of the unit (if it has that capability) to fulfill your desired results. Temperatures below 350 degrees offer a milder effect than do temperatures above 400 degrees.
- Using the mouthpiece, inhale by mouth the vapors produced. On exhaling, you should be able to see and taste the flower’s vapor.
- As you continue the inhalation and exhalation process, be mindful of how you feel and recognize when you’ve reached the desired symptom relief you wanted.
Additional Things to Know About Vaporizing Cannabis
- The potency of cannabinoids will decrease as the number of inhalations through a vaporizer increase. That’s because the oils from the cannabis flower will be more abundant in earlier inhalations and gradually become less concentrated. When the vapor thins and begins to lose its flavor, it may be necessary to refill the device with more product if the desired effect has not yet been attained.
- Some people may perceive vaporizing to be a cumbersome process. Setting up the device, preparing the product (e.g., grounding the flower to the proper consistency), waiting for the vaporizer to reach the right temperature, and cleaning the device may prove inconvenient for some users.
- Vaporizing may appear more expensive upfront (because of purchasing the equipment). However, vaporizing allows for a more controlled and concentrated release of cannabis compounds than smoking. Ultimately, it may require less cannabis to get the desired effects. We recommend the ARGO Arizer because of the rechargeable and removable batteries as well as the small, portable size.
- Some states laws have made it illegal to burn medical marijuana due to possible health hazards. So vaporization is typically the best choice for legal and safety issues.
Is Smoking Cannabis or Vaporizing Cannabis Right for You?
To obtain the optimal effects from our hemp flower (which is rich in cannabidiol and other cannabinoids — and within the legal 0.3% THC limit), we recommend vaporization over smoking. For both safety and potential legal ramifications (depending on the state), we highly recommend the use of a dry herb vaporizer over smoking or combusting medical cannabis flower.
Please reach out to us for more information if you have questions about our hemp flower and how to properly administer it. If you’re a medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania and struggling to determine the best strains and administration methods that will allow you to get the most from your prescription, we offer MMJ consultations with a PA-certified medical marijuana consultant. Contact us with your questions — we’re here to help you make informed decisions about using CBD and cannabis to enhance your health and well-being.