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Science: Use Of Vaporizers Reduces Toxins From Cannabis Smoke

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A new study has found that a vaporizer drastically reduces harmful gases in cannabis smoke, delivering a nearly pure stream of cannabinoids with very few by-products of combustion. Smoke of combusted cannabis usually contains similar toxins as tobacco smoke and smoke of other herbal material, which may damage tissues, resulting in chronic bronchitis and cancer.

The study, conducted by Chemic Labs in Canton, Massachusetts, analysed vapors from cannabis heated in the Volcano (manufactured by Storz & Bickel GmbH & Co. KG, Tuttlingen, Germany) and compared them to smoke produced by combusted cannabis. The Volcano is designed to heat material to temperatures of 130° to 230° Celsius where medically active vapors are produced, but below the threshold of combustion. Previous studies have found that vaporizers can reduce harmful toxins in cannabis smoke. However, this was the first study to analyze the gas phase of the vapor for a wide range of toxins.

The analysis showed that the Volcano vapor was remarkably clean, consisting 95% of THC with traces of cannabinol (CBN). The remaining 5% consisted of small amounts of three other components: one suspected cannabinoid relative, one suspected PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon), and caryophyllene, a terpene. In contrast over 111 different components appeared in the gas of the combusted smoke, including a half dozen known PAHs. Non-cannabinoids accounted for as much as 88% of the total gas content of the smoke.

The study was sponsored by the US organisations California NORML, MAPS, and MPP. It used cannabis with a THC content of 4%. A quantitative analysis found that the Volcano delivered 46% of the THC into vapor following three 45-second exposures of the sample to the heat. In earlier studies typical efficiency of cannabis cigarettes was reported to be in the range of 15-40% for experienced users, and was 45% using a pipe.

Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California, San Francisco, has submitted a grant proposal to the California Center for Medical Cannabis Research in San Diego to test the Volcano in a clinical study.

Source: International Association for Cannabis as Medicine
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