The Health Benefits of Vaporizing vs Vaping by CC Castañeda
Weed is the new wine and, amongst Canna-moms, vaping a fruity pebbles flavor in a vape pen is all the rage, but is it safe? When Jordan, a mom of three, picked up a Roxy vape cartridge at her local Las Vegas dispensary this past November she had no clue that choosing to vape marijuana, instead of vaporize it, would send her into a coma. Although marijuana is classified as non-lethal plant, the added ingredients can be fatal.
Vaping on the go is so easy with a vape pen allowing moms like Jordan to inhale discreetly with little to no marijuana smell, but the questionable ingredients in vape cartridges such as polypropylene glycol and many preservatives lead to health problems such as Jordan’s. As a busy mother of a newborn and a young boy with cancer, Jordan relied on these vape cartridges to get past pain caused by fibromyalgia so she could focus on her family. Instead she found herself waking up after a coma in a strange hospital room at St. Rose Dominican in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jordan was unaware of the dangers of many vape cartridges. In fact, news came out one month later that vape cartridges were being recalled because they contained heavy metals.
“Many of the factories that source vape cartridges also service the e-cigarette world,” says Roger Voloarsky, CEO of Puffco. “Because e-cigarette liquid is less viscous than cannabis oil, manufacturers use cutting agents to thin out the concentrate so that it can be vaped in certain hardware. Unfortunately most of what’s used to thin out cannabis oil isn’t particularly healthy.
Some manufacturers use propylene glycol, a common household solvent used in hand sanitizers, deodorant sticks, cigar humidors and smoke machines with adverse reactions such as sore throat, muscle pain, and ammonia smell in urine. Other companies shifted to buying commercial terpenes typically used as cleaning solutions such as a citrus terpene cleaning solution such as D-Limonene.
“When purchasing a pre-filled vape, there’s always going to be some sort of additive in it,” Voldarksy says. “The convenience is really liberating, but it doesn’t come without compromise.”
Jodan’s unhealthy medicine caused such severe asthma problems that she ended up pulling out her nebulizer when her inhaler didn’t work and she couldn’t catch her breath. When she realized she couldn’t breathe without the nebulizer she asked her husband to call an ambulance. After he called 911 he realized his wife’s lips had turned dark blue. A hospital doctor placed Jordan in a medically induced coma to allow her lungs time to heal on a respirator.
The next morning Jordan woke with a tube down her throat and was unaware of how she had gotten to the hospital. The respiratory specialist explained that her lungs had been so full of carbon dioxide that it had almost been fatal. He explained that they had given her albuterol and steroids, but they couldn’t get her breathing under control. Her heart was beginning to stop so they medically induced the coma to save Jordan’s life.
Her doctor advised her to discontinue smoking and use edibles instead. Unfortunately edibles take some adjustment and she found that they took too long to take effect leaving her in pain without relief. Pharmaceuticals were not an option. Jordan’s dilemma was how does she safely yet efficiently medicate with cannabis? It’s a thought that others in her situation have had to face.
Since cannabis is federally illegal states take on the bulk of the responsibility making sure cannabis products are safe, but since FDA is a federal, not state, agency the oversight is minimal at best. A recent report by Leafly’s David Downs, California Cannabis Labs Are Finding Toxic Metal in Vape Carts, has raised concerns within the cannabis industry, among regulators and for consumers. Since January 1 in California, all legal cannabis vape carts are subject to stringent new testing for heavy metals. At SC Labs, founder Josh Wurzer reports that about 0.5% of the vape cart batches he’s tested have failed for lead. “We’ve seen some issue,” he said. “Out of the thousands we’ve tested, we’ve had a very small portion over the limit.”
The only thing a consumer can do is stay away from processed cannabis. However, someone like Jordan, who’s a mother, didn’t want to smell like marijuana and she needed a bigger high than flower traditionally has granted to combat her fibromyalgia.
Overall, vaporizing cannabis flower is a much safer alternative than concentrates for someone like Jordan with asthma and breathing problems. Concentrates present their own issues with preservatives. Many solvent based concentrates extract terpenes during processing only to add synthetic terpenes before sale for aroma and flavor to confuse the buyer. While that may sound okay to some, unnatural terpenes cause lung issues when inhaled making raw rosin a safer choice. A dab placed on a dab nail that is too hot can also cause lung damage when smoked. To a person with asthma, like Jordan, certain cannabis products can actually be fatal.
Desktop vaporizers have been on the market for sometime, but thanks to innovation have really expanded in use. Vaporizers are not to be confused with vaping as the ingredients utilized are whole cannabis flowers instead of processed marijuana concentrates mixed with synthetic terpenes, preservatives and propylene glycol. Coughs disappear overtime after vaporizing remedying hacking after bong hits. Vaporized smoke is lighter with most of the smell emitting at the beginning and toasted cannabis at the end. The smell dissipates faster alleviating aroma clinging to clothing.
Vaporizing marijuana buds creates a different, more expanded high than simply combusting the same amount of flower. In fact, it works so well that vaporizing extends the life of your gram. When buds are placed in a pipe and lit with a lighter that’s combustion which burns at a much hotter temperature which halts the inhalation of certain cannabinoids and incinerates the flower to ash. When buds are placed in a wand and vaporized the temperature is below 432 Fahrenheit which toasts the flower allowing cannabinoids and terpenes alike to be inhaled which creates a better high similar to dabbing concentrates. Like Rick Simpson says, “If you’re not getting high you’re not healing.”
Luckily, 7th floor Vapes makes efficient customizable desktop vaporizers so no two are alike! Steve Kelnhofer’s handy glass attachments, wands and knobs continue to astound the cannabis industry. His innovative company provides handheld vaporizers as well as desktop so medicating on the go accommodates both flower and concentrates alike. With a correctly gauged temperature each inhale features every single important cannabinoid from the plant. Vaporizing, instead of vaping, benefits the asthmatic with an unsurpassed high, because the thinner vapor smoke heated to the correct temperature allows stressed lungs to puff gently into relaxation. Vape cartridges can go in the trash where they belong. Moms like Jordan, who choose weed over wine, deserve to know their high is safe so they choose 7th Floor Vaporizers and get back to raising their families.
*Jordan’s last name was omitted from this article at her request due to the legality of her current state of residence.