Vaping Medical Marijuana?

Vape Vs Smoke Part 1


In Texas, smoking marijuana is illegal.  Still people wonder what the difference is between vaping and smoking cannabis.  In the next few blog entries, I will discuss how cannabis is produced for smoking and what the differences in preparation and delivery mean for the cannabis user. 



Most people equate smoking cannabis to smoking cigarettes, but are the two really the same?  Both involve inhaling burned chemicals into the lungs, so it is not a stretch to assume that both will cause damage to the lungs over time,  However, there is not enough scientific research to support this conclusion definitively. 

A study in 2006 funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse concluded that smoking cannabis does not lead to lung cancer (1).   The same is not true, obviously, for the relationship between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.


Most patients are hesitant to smoke cannabis - if not from fear of developing cancer, than simply because it can be harsh on the lungs and unpleasant for those around them. However, inhalations is an efficient way to deliver cannabinoids into the body due to its rapid absorption into the thousands of tiny capillaries in the lungs. The cannabis enters the bloodstream very rapidly and is quickly distributed throughout the body - particularly acting quickly in the brain. This brings fast-action relief. For patients who do not want to smoke but who need the fast action offered by inhalation, vaporization of both flowers and cannabis oil are the alternatives that deliver all the benefits of marijuana without actually combusting the plant material (as you would in a rolled joint)




More and more people have begun to choose oil vapor cartridges within the cannabis industry. The lack of odor is often cited as one of the main reasons for this choice, in addition for the ease of use.  However, an absence of regulatory oversight could mean that manufacturers use cheap and unhealthy fillers that can severely harm patients.  Never buy cannabis cartridges on the black market.




Growers take great care to nurture their plants from seedlings into mature flowering cannabis plants . They must harvest the buds at just the right time. They then dry and cure them.  The drying process enhances cannabinoid concentrations and helps to develop terpene profiles and reduce harshness in the final product . Think of starting a campfire with wet kindling and all of the harsh smokes that comes from burning a product that has not been completely dried. 


Proper drying and curing also allows buds to be stored for long periods of time without losing potency.  Drying properly also avoids contamination with mold or other infestations.


Cannabis flowers that have been dried are stored in dark, cool, and vaccum-sealed containers to keep out moisture. This also avoids contamination with mold.  CV vaults have become industry standard as a type of humidor for cannabis to store the product by holding a natural salt packet to keep humidity at a constant level

It is therefore advised for consumers who like to have several cannabis flower strains on hand to purchase a few small vaults (containers) that hold around half an ounce of dried flower in each container.  Once the salt packet has become had and dry, they should be replaced.  Containers should always be placed in a safe, locked location out of the reach of pets and children.






1. Tashkin, Donald P “Effects of Marijuana Smoking on the Lung”. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, Vol 10, No 3, 06/01/2013

Dr. Allison Kendrick

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