Medical Marijuana Council

January 21, 2011

The Medical Marijuana Council provides a great deal of information on medical marijuana and studies that have been done regarding marijuana and it's effectiveness and safety with regard to various illnesses.  Most all information they provide is in layperson terms and is extrapolated from scientific studies to help the patient who is considering medical marijuana make a decision. 

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Blog posts : "volcano vaporizer"

Vaporizing Marijuana

April 6, 2010

So you want to learn about vaporizing marijuana?  How does it work?  Why would I vaporize?  There are several reasons people choose to vaporize, but first let's explain how a vaporizer works.  Vaporizers gently heat the plant material to release the marijuana's active ingredients - THC and CBN.  When heated to the IDEAL temperature range of 356 - 392 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant releases the THC and CBN without burning the plant and creating smoke, but rather creates a thin mist or vapor that is ready to be inhaled.  392 degrees F is the boiling point of THC.  Higher temperatures are achieved by burning marijuana such as smoking a joint, which destroys some of the THC.  This is why vaporizing is more potent.  Many marijuana smokers will set their vaporizer to "420" degrees F, however this is not the ideal temperature.   Generally marijuana tastes better (depending on your taste) sometimes it takes getting used to.  It is easier on the lungs, less harsh on the throat, and a little bit goes a long way.  Smoking marijuana with a flame can generate temperatures of over 1200 degrees, so you are inhaling a bunch of stuff you don't need to be inhaling, like the leaves of the plant and a lot more carcinogenic toxins.  When vaporizing, you are mostly releasing only the active elements you want.  The plant material when done is browned.  Vaporizing is a much healthier choice than smoking as you get very minimal tar, or other "in-active" ingredients.  Marijuana has hundreds of different ingredients which have no effect.  There is no reason to be inhaling these.  Vapor is not smoke.  Cannabis vapor is more potent than smoke.  Many say that vaporizers give a different effect then traditional smoking, a more clear, healthy pronounced effect. Some of the BETTER vaporizers are pictured.

The Volcano Vaporizer is considered one of the better vaporizers.  The cost is around $500.

There are a couple of Different Types of Heating Methods

Direct/Conduction Heating:  The classic glass dome type vaporizer, which works by placing your ground herb on a small metal plate which then heats up to the desired temperature.  (when grinding the herb make sure it is in small chunks, not ground to a powder)  The reason this is called direct hearing is because the herb is placed "directly" on the heating element.  This method is not as desirable, since the herb touches the heating element, it can burn and produce a gross "burnt popcorn" like taste.  This method is not as efficient also, sometimes not vaporizing the herb completely.  This style of vaporizer has been in use since the 1970's.  

Indirect/Convectional Heating:  This is the superior method for vaporizing herb.  Your marijuana will never directly touch the heating element, instead, direct hot air is passed over it releasing the good stuff.  Since it heats evenly, you stand a much greater chance of completely vaporizing your marijuana, increasing the efficiency and effect.   It is advisable to look for a ceramic heating plate, rather than metal, as the metal seems to put of by-products and smells like a soldering iron.

Vapor Delivery Systems

Stored Vapor:  Using this method of delivery, the vaporizer creates the vapor, then stores it in a glass dome or balloon style bag for consumption when ready.  The glass doe types don't provide the volume to store a "big hit".  The bag type however is able to accommodate large amounts of vapor, packing a nice punch!


Pictured above is the Arizer V-Tower Extreme, which includes a remote control.  The heating element is ceramic.  It comes with the bag, and food/medical grade plastic whip with detachable mouthpieces.  Wherever possible the strongest high quality glass is used.  Glass is inert - toxin free.  Some other vaporizers use metal, wood, plastics and teflon.  (although the outside is metal this does not come in contact with the heating element, and is insulated with non-toxic material).  The V-Tower Extreme vaporizer runs approximately $300. 

Direct Lung Delivery: When you inhale from this type of vaporizer, the hot air passes through the herb, sending the vapor directly into your lungs.  This method allows for much larger hits because you don't need to store the vapor, limiting the size of the hit.  The more you inhale, the more you take in (provided there is marijuana left to vaporize).  Another positive is the clean, fresh tasting vapor.  Some models have a built in fan to get a higher volume of air moving into your lungs.

Marijuana is not the only herb you can inhale from a vaporizer.  You can use dried herbs from a garden or purchase them from homeopathic stores, an herbalist or online stores. Sage is used to help people suffering from insomnia. Eucalyptus clears the sinuses.  Jasmine and lemon offers a pick-me-up of energy and mood. Lavender and chamomile is  good to reduce stress and relax. Rosemary and sandalwood help fight depressive feelings. These are just a few common herbs used with vaporizers.  An herbal expert can help you create a blend that may be ideal for specific conditions such as a Ylang Ylang, sandalwood, lavender and rosemary blend that reduces stress and helps with depressive moods.

Why not vaporize?  Some vaporizers take as long as 9 minutes to heat up.  Vaporizers can be expensive. (however there are cost savings as you don't need to use as much herb to medicate since it is more potent).   Vaporizers are not as covert.  Vaporizers are not typically as portable.  Although there are portable vaporizers they are often the longest in terms of time to  heat up.

Vaporizers range in price from $50 for portable hand held pipe looking vaporizers to over $500 for the larger clunkier models.

The iolite vaporizer is a portable (it can fit in your pocket), and runs off butane (which is in a separate chamber).  We haven't tried this vaporizer yet, however have heard good things, therefore it is our present choice for portable vaporizers. The manufacturer of the iolite has been producing butane products in Ireland for decades plus it has a 2 year warranty.  It may take a little longer to heat up, but that is a trade off for the portability.  We're told typically 7-9 minutes.

If you use a marijuana vaporizer please feel free to comment on the brand you use and your likes and dislikes! 

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