Marijuana Vaporizers vs. Bongs: Which are better?

Any marijuana enthusiast has smoked out of a water pipe aka a bong at some point in their lives. Smoking from a water bong was the established and favored method of inhalation all the way from the early 80s until the mid-2000s. There were several reasons for its popularity which included both health and recreational aspects. Today, bongs are still frequently used by weed fans throughout the world, however, there is a new device stealing the spotlight – marijuana vaporizers. The first modern vape was invented in China around 2001, but it was not used on a wide spread basis until 2008. Now that we are in the year 2019, marijuana vaporizers are just as recognized, and utilized as bongs, maybe even more so. This begets two questions: what is the difference and which is better?

Water Pipe / Bong


A water bong is a combustion based device that utilizes water filtration to get rid of some of the toxins produced by this heating method. The idea is that when you light the marijuana on fire, the smoke will pass water first which will cancel out a little bit of the tar, ash and butane. The water also adds a cooling element which is supposed to reduce throat burn. There is also a variety of bongs with different percolators which may provide additional filtration of carcinogens. The overall benefit of bong use is that it’s better for one’s health than a traditional glass pipe, and heavy hits are not burning hot, and therefore, it tastes better. Now let’s analyze how a vaporizer compares.



A marijuana vaporizer is a mechanical device that uses either convection or conduction heating methods in order to produce pure THC vapor. Convection heating involves indirect heating, while conduction directly heats the herb, but neither of these methods actually burns the flower. The use of a vape eliminates the creation of smoke, tar, ash, and the other 4,000 carcinogens associated with smoking. Marijuana vaporizers typically offer pre-set or precision temperature control which allows users to specify their perfect temperature, and avoid overly warm vapor. They also come in a multitude of sizes, ranging from desktop units like the Volcano which can be used at home for amazing joint sessions to ultra-portable and discreet vapes such as the Atmos Micro Pal. The advantages of using a weed vaporizer are numerous- it completely eliminates combustion, allows for temperature control for enhanced flavor, and they can be as portable or as large as a user requires.


After having read the information above, you should have drawn the obvious conclusion that marijuana vaporizers utterly destroy their competition, the water bong. Even though, bongs provide some minimal levels of filtration, users are still inhaling ash, tar, smoke, and a disgusting combination of miscellaneous chemicals. Marijuana vaporizers allow users to enjoy their cannabinoids without the risk of major carcinogen exposure which tends to lead to lung cancer. Also rips from a vaporizer taste better, and are usually cooler since most units offer a selection of temperatures. Lastly, vaporizers are customized for different purposes and consumers are free to choose from portable, sleek units to larger desktop units which can be enjoyed in group sessions at home. Ultimately, as we move forward into 2020 and beyond, expect marijuana vaporizers to continue to grow in popularity and rend bongs obsolete.

Hemp and Cannabis Laws In Florida

Florida law

Although the consumption of CBD is legal in all fifty states, the law has distinct variances from state to state. Many users may be curious if they are allowed to privately grow hemp, and also how the current federal and state laws are shaping up in regards to the use of THC from cannabis. The answers to these questions are ever evolving and changing since the United States is simultaneously loosening up on ingestion laws (e.g. decriminalization in many areas) while tightening up their regulations concerning cultivation and distribution. Below is a short summary and overview of what the current hemp and cannabis laws look like in everyone’s favorite sunshine state, Florida.

What is hemp and can I grow it privately?

hemp vs marijuana

Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant that is rich in the CBD, but contains less than 0.3% THC. It is currently not legal to grow privately in Florida, and there are only two industrial permits that have been issued. The 2014 farm bill allowed for the growth of hemp by only research agencies and universities. The only legal permits are currently for two respective learning institutions which include University of Florida, and A&M University. The 2018 farm bill has covered some basic details on the use and cultivation of CBD, but the USDA is expected to clarify on regulation practices as of Fall 2019. It is possible by 2020 or 2021, regulations could lessen and private farms could grow hemp.

What is cannabis and can I grow it?

Cannabis is a plant that contains a variety of therapeutic compounds, but also has a psychoactive ingredient known as THC. It is currently illegal to grow marijuana, and/or sell or distribute it. It is also considered a criminal act to possess marijuana in Florida, although the state has local counties that have decriminalized minor possession offenses. Among some of the more populous jurisdictions that have decriminalized the act of carrying less than 20 grams are Miami Dade County, Broward County, West Palm Beach County, and Orlando.

What about medical marijuana?

Florida Medical Marijuana law currently allows the use of cannabis for patients suffering under an umbrella of conditions. Some of the qualifying conditions include Cancer, AIDS/HIV, Seizures, PTSD, ALS, and Crohn’s Disease among others. Florida users that wish to legally enjoy cannabis will need to acquire a medical marijuana card via a licensed physician’s recommendation, and they must get this card renewed every three months by the Department of Florida Health. There are a multitude of state-licensed dispensaries that they will be able to pick their medicine up from there.

Keeping up to date:

It’s important for CBD and THC users to keep up to date on the newest laws and regulations regarding possession, distribution and selling at all times. State and federal laws do not always match, and laws change from state to state so be mindful to look up all the nuances prior to traveling with cannabis or hemp. Watch for updates and be sure to check your local jurisdiction for even more precise clarification on criminal vs permissible use.

All about Marijuana Edibles


Cannabis edibles are not yet legal in the U.S. although they may be decriminalized in certain jurisdictions (see your local state laws). While cannabis is a naturally growing plant that has been widely used for thousands of years, the fact is that eating is still remains a riskier idea than smoking or vaping it. The recommendation is for users new to marijuana is to try vaping it, as this is the most precise and healthiest means of consumption; however, if you truly prefer to eat it, here is a couple of things that you should know in regards about the consumption of marijuana edibles.

Users overestimate how much to consume

There have been a few studies about marijuana use and hospital visits, and evidence has shown that you are thirty three times more likely to end up in the ER if you use edibles instead of vaping or smoking your cannabis. Dr. Andrew Monte’s study is fascinating because it basically proves that users consistently over-estimate how much to eat and end up dealing with negative effects.

Austin Anderson | Colorado Cannabis Tours

Users may experience adverse reactions

Edibles are simply more toxic than gently vaped marijuana. People have reported severe symptoms including anxiety, extreme paranoia, pounding heart, sweating, and even delusions and hallucinations. Marijuana edibles may have a purpose but they really should be reserved for experienced users that have built up a tolerance. Jumping in feet first into cannabis edibles is not the smartest idea.

Users should start with lower dosages

Users are never recommended to exceed a dose of 10mg, and lower doses tend to be more effective and produce fewer side effects. The current recommended starting dose is between 2.5 mg to 5 mg max. The reason for this is the mode of action is different when cannabis is taken in orally. You may be fine the first hour, but as the THC absorbs, you will begin to experience the effects in full and it’s important that you don’t become impatient and over consume.

Users should not mix them with drugs and/or alcohol

Dont Mix

Most people consume marijuana edibles to get high, not for health benefits, so the temptation to mix may be there. Do not do this! The use of alcohol and edibles together will cause additive depressive effects and the likelihood of experiencing psychotic issues will increase. Alcohol will increase the amount of THC available in your blood so you could end up on a trip that is not so fun.

Make Sure You Are Using a Weed Vaporizer

Make Sure You Are Using a Weed Vaporizer

Since the first line of cannabis vaporizers devices hit the market, a multitude of new vapes have been introduced, including the famous Pax 3 vaporizer.  These pen-style vaporizers offer herb consumers not only with a greater level of stealth, but also with a much higher amount of convenience, since they can use the devices almost anywhere, anytime. However, with so many models and brands available, it is common for consumers to make the mistake of getting a device that is completely a waste of their time and money.

If this is your first time getting into the world of dry herb  vaporizers and you need help in choosing the right device,  there some of the most important things to keep in mind.

Reviewed by Independent and Reliable Third Party Organizations

One of the best ways for you to know whether or not a a vape is worth your time and money is to check out cannabis vaporizer reviews. Many of these reviews are found via the World Wide Web. Before believing those that you will read though, it is extremely important that the source is actually reliable. The review should also be comprehensive, and should take into consideration the following components or aspects:

  1. Affordability
  2. Versatility
  3. Stealth
  4. Durability
  5. Ease of Refill
  6. Safety of Use

Heating Methods Available

As of the moment, there are 2 different basic heating methods when it comes to the use of a weed vaporizer:

  1. Conduction – The dry herb blend that will be vaporized is placed on a metal component that will be heated so that the active ingredients of the blend will be released.
  2. Convection – The blend will never be in contact with the heating element used by the cheap marijuana vaporizer. Instead, a polyfill medium is used to place the blend on to, which is then heated to release the material’s active ingredients.

The Standard Components that Make Up these Pen-Style Vaporizers

Many of the products that you will find available in the market today make use of the same base unit, something that almost always runs on a lithium ion battery. This feature makes these vaporizers look very much alike, in addition to the fact that their chargers and components can be interchanged. It is worthy to note that these “standard” components are mostly made in China, and in most reviews, their performance takes precedence over other aspects. So when looking for a marijuana vaporizer review, it is a must that you select one that also includes information about the device’s safety of use.

Approval from the Food and Drug Administration

As mentioned above, most of the standard parts and accessories of even the best pen-style vaporizers are made in China. However, many of them have been tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have been approved by the organization. It is extremely vital for you to choose a vaporizer that comes with FDA approval, as this means that it does not present any health issues. Nevertheless, you should always apply the ‘buyer beware’ saying here. Regardless of what brand of weed vaporizers you will invest on, make sure that you follow the directions of its use.

Vaporizers Will Save You

Vaporizers Will Save You

No anti-smoking campaign is strong enough and no warning compelling enough to persuade smokers to quit smoking. In spite of knowing that tobacco smoke contains injurious substances that can affect the heart, the lungs and even cause cancer, it’s hard to give up the habit. Now however, smokers have an alternative where they can inhale without absorbing the harmful toxins—vaporizing.

Vaporizing claims to be a relatively safe alternative in which herbs and plants are not heated to the extent where compound burn and release toxins, but just enough to release their active compounds into the vapor, which is inhaled. There are portable vaporizers, vaporizer pens and desktop vapes. 

Vaporizers Will Save You

Vaporizers come in many forms and one such is the PALM 2.0 Vaporizer, which is said to have come to the market at the end of 2012. Manufactured by VaporBLUNT Company of Chatsworth, California, it succeeds the Palm Original.

Palm 2 is small, compact, portable and can be used even while on the go. It has a thick polycarbonate outer shell, a rechargeable NIMH battery that allows the substance to vaporize and steel rods inside the heating chamber that’s made of ceramic. A plastic air path and a screen that can be replaced ensures two things: optimal performance and easy maintenance. The unit doesn’t have a switch and functions by inserting and removing the battery when required. Once you get the hang of it, this system seems to work quite well.

Vaporizers Will Save You

It’s compact size works in its favor: it’s portable (said to be the smallest vaporizer in the market) and the manufacturers have such immense faith in their product that they offer a lifetime warranty. A charger, two rechargeable AA batteries, two mouthpieces, a cleaning brush come along with the vaporizer.

To use the vaporizer, insert whatever material you use, into the filling chamber. Do ensure that the herb is ground to a nice powder. A fine mesh screen provides an extra layer of protection and also prevents the blend from flowing through the air path. The battery provides the heat and converts the material in the chamber into vapor, almost immediately. An indicator light shows that the vaporizer is heating, and the heating element heats up very fast. It reaches a high of 350 degrees F. A fully charged battery gives the user 30 minutes of continuous vaporization.

The mouthpiece is located at the top of the vaporizer, and the way you draw is going to determine the temperature inside—if you hold the battery in for longer and take slower draws, it will raise the temperature. Slow, steady breathes for 3-5 seconds will ensure that you get the best out of your vaporizer and blend. The way you use your breath in conjunction with the heating element helps decide the quality of vapor.

It’s advisable to remove the battery once you finish taking a draw, else it could cause overheating of the blend.

Vape away and quit smoking once and for all.

Use or Abuse? The Safe Use of Cannabis

Use or Abuse? The Safe Use of Cannabis

‘Ayurvedic’ Indian medical literature describes nine stages in the toxic manifestations of cannabis use, starting with redness in the eyes, going on to “Complete forgetfulness” (Stage 6) and ending with the ninth stage; “shouting, fainting, rolling on the ground, difficulty in speaking, disclosure of secret feelings, misery, extreme prostration”.

The same literature states that

‘Cannabis never causes any harm to a person who takes it’. (‘Fundamentals of Ayurvedic Medicine’. Shiv Sharma. Delhi 1995).

Properly utilised with realistic expectations and awareness of its properties, cannabis is a safe and effective medicine as well as being an enjoyable recreational drug. If improperly used, with unrealistic expectations and ignorance, adverse effects may result. The onset of unwanted effects may be obvious or insidious. They are all avoidable.

Uncertainty of Potency: Because of current uncertainty of supply due to it’s illicit status there can be great variability in strength. Typical street ‘skunk’ will have 10-11% THC and some as much as 20%, but much cannabis in Britain has very little THC content whatsoever. According to a study by the Dutch government in 1992 the THC content of imported weed/hash ranged from 0.5 -14%, while from indoors grown ‘skunk’ they measured up to 27% THC.

All cannabis users should avoid ‘Soap bar’ (also known as ‘Chernobyl’ in France or ‘Euro-Hash’) at all costs. This poisonous ‘Product of Prohibition’ masquerading as ‘Moroccan’ is dark brown in color. It is available all over Europe and often includes ‘free’ added animal tranquillizer (sometimes the only active ingredient). Soap bar may have flakes of plastic wrapping in it – a sure sign of a ‘remix’. If it goes brittle when you burn it you can assume the worst. Only an end to prohibition will protect people from the dangers of this type of contamination and adulteration.

If the distribution and sale of cannabis was properly regulated (the only responsible way forward), the labeling of type and strength would be possible as is usual with almost all consumer products. This would enable users to be more informed in their use of cannabis; more able to safely enjoy its many benefits.

Set and Setting: The result of the drug is a combination of set (expectations), setting, personality, and the drug. Best case: Enjoying a puff at home with a friend at the end of the day. Worst case: Taking a puff driving down the M25, then looking sideways into the eyes of a cop.

Cannabis Over Dosage: Taking too much cannabis for comfort is most common by the oral route (eating or drinking). This is because the time from taking the drug until the experience of effects begin is from one to three or more hours. Impatient, ignorant or just plain greedy users take too much – and then it hits them. They will have an unforgettable experience – but there is little chance of any lasting or life threatening damage.

Impatient overdosing with oral cannabis is the most frequent negative mention of the drug in medical literature of the 1800′s. In the last few years it has been the most common drug related problem treated at festivals in Britain (interestingly often involving older users who really should know better).

Use or Abuse? The Safe Use of Cannabis

Oral cannabis over-dosage is far more intense and longer lasting than from the inhaled route. The effects are from the stimulation and sedation of the central nervous system with a flooding of ideas and images that are vivid and rapidly changing, while attention and concentration can be markedly impaired. Time perception is significantly altered with minutes seeming like hours. There may also be distortion of spatial perception, disorientation, speeding heart rate, dry mouth, and reddened eyes. Secondary physical effects, aside from a speeding up of the heart rate is generally no more than that associated with mild to moderate exercise.

The greater the dose, the greater intensity and longer these stimulant effects will last before sinking into a deep sleep. To avoid overdose by eating or drinking – try a little and wait at least an hour and a half; longer if consumed on a full stomach.

Effects On Personality: While many people benefit from and enjoy their use of cannabis, there are a minority for whom use of cannabis is contraindicated. Individuals with personalities that are prone to substance abuse, allergy, sensitivity, or adverse reactions to other medicines should exert greater caution and self awareness if they wish to use cannabis in any way.

Cannabis, an effective relaxant, can at the same time cause an alienation or detachment through chronic use. Despite the widely held ‘laid-back’ view of cannabis use, the most commonly reported adverse reaction to cannabis is in fact acute anxiety. The price of relief of tension may be a dulling or suppression of feelings, a prolonged dullness after use, paranoia and a fear of loss of control. Insensitivity to feelings of other people or situations may well result plus apathy, introspection and an increasing turning inwards.

Paranoia and delusional thinking are not uncommon effects. In chronic use paranoid and delusional thinking appear to be the consequences of the suppression of feelings. The dulling of feelings may alienate the cannabis users from others by diminishing empathetic capabilities. This emotional insensitivity then results in conflict through misperception and relationship problems causing isolation.

An effective relief of emotional distress then becomes an impediment to relationships for the cannabis user. Feelings are an integral dimension of social perception that convey important contextual information. Cannabis, as an effective sedative and antidepressant, has this undesirable side effect when misused, especially over a long period. The benefits and enjoyment afforded by the drug may be paid for by complications caused by the user avoiding dealing with the causes of the emotional pain, as well as diminished functioning while under its influence. Cognitive impairment by continuing or over use of cannabis creates a form of mild dementia that may persist for up to several weeks after discontinuing the drug. Individuals sensitive to the drug report a persistent ‘hang over’ that diminishes the ability to pay …

Medical Uses Of Marijuana

Medical Uses Of Marijuana

Despite protestations from countless governments that ‘more research is required’, people have known about the medical properties of Cannabis for thousands of years, and a massive amount of knowledge exists for anyone wishing to find it and use it.

The Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic) and Tibetan literature on the subject goes back to at least the 10th Century. In China as early as 2737 BC it was used by herbalists in the court of Emperor Shen. The Tibetans call it ‘Sman-mchog rgyal-po’ which translates as ‘King of the best of medicines’.

In Ayurveda it is called ‘Harikaki’ and described as being;

“useful to human beings like a mother’; At times even a mother becomes angry but ‘Haritaki’ never causes any harm to a person who takes it”.

Between 1840 and 1900 more than 100 papers were published in the western medical literature recommending cannabis for various illnesses and discomforts. More recently in 2000 a survey of 1000 British doctors found that 8 out of 10 said they would prescribe cannabis if they were allowed to (Medix Survey 2000).

Public opinion has been virtually unanimous on the subject. After the House of Lords Report recommending the legalisation of medical cannabis (1998) one opinion poll found 86% opposed to the Governments refusal to act; another found 92% supporting the Lords. Yet the use of cannabis is still illegal in Britain and almost every country in the world. How can any civilised society do this, and deny the sick such a useful medicine? We use opium based medicines so why not cannabis, which is not addictive? It is not even possible to take a lethal dose of cannabis.

Meanwhile misprescribed or overprescribed ‘legal’ medicines are responsible for at least 100,000 deaths each year in the US alone (‘Worst Pills Best Pills’ (2005 edition) by Dr. Sidney Wolfe).

One thing is for sure; the worldwide prohibition of medical cannabis is one of the most aggressive and extreme examples of a general campaign against herbal medicine in general, openly backed by the drug companies. They operate massive and constant lobbying operations at the highest levels. Their pharmaceutical grip on the planet is threatened by the reemergence of very useful medical herbs like cannabis, especially if such herbs were to be freely available in an open market which they would not control.

Ironically these same companies are in fact the largest growers of herbs; they need them for their products to work.

Ailments for which the medical use of cannabis may be beneficial include:

Addiction, Arthritis, Appetite Loss, Nausea, Cancer Chemotherapy, AIDS Wasting Syndrome, Nausea From Cancer, Chemotherapy, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Depression, Parkinson’s Disease, Movement Disorders, Dystonia, Asthma, Brain Injury/Stroke, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Depression, Mental Illness, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure/Hypertension, Migraine, Nail Patella Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Tourette’s Syndrome.

Below are notes on some of the most common medical uses of cannabis.


In 1994 the ‘Times’ reported;

‘The demand for Cannabis among British pensioners has stunned doctors, police and suppliers. The old people use the drug to ease the pain of such ailments as arthritis and rheumatism. Many are running afoul of the law for the first time in their lives as they try to obtain suppliers.’

Arthritis affects the joints and surrounding areas, including muscles, membrane linings and cartilage. It causes painful inflammation, heat, swelling, pain, redness of skin and tenderness in the affected areas. Cortisone-type drugs provide dramatic pain relief for short periods but decrease in effectiveness if used over time. The side effects of these drugs include nausea, restlessness, insomnia, dizziness, headache, depression and mood swings, irregular heartbeat and menstruation problems. Several cannabinoids have both analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory effects, a combination particularly helpful for arthritic people. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main active ingredients in cannabis is a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. Cannabis can be smoked or eaten to relieve the general pain, inflammation and discomfort of arthritis. Cannabis poultices can be applied topically to troubled areas. Cannabis in alcohol or as a cream can also be rubbed on the skin.

Appetite Loss, Nausea, Cancer Chemotherapy, AIDS Wasting Syndrome:

One of the most outstanding medical values of cannabis is the role it can play in restoring a person’s relationship to food. Cannabis is remarkably powerful in combating nausea and vomiting, making it possible to consume food and hold it down. It is also an extraordinary stimulant of appetite itself; a condition known by cannabis users as ‘the munchies’. Conditions characterised by nausea, vomiting, appetite problems and severe weight loss include AIDS Wasting Syndrome, kidney failure, tuberculosis, hyperemesis gravidarum (magnified form of morning sickness) and anorexia and the side effects of chemotherapy.

Nausea From Cancer Chemotherapy:

Nausea and vomiting, which can last for days after a single treatment and be so violent as to threaten to break bones and rupture the aesophagus, are common side effects of the chemotherapies used in treating cancer. Many patients develop such an aversion to the site or odor of food that they stop eating altogether and lose the will to live. Up to 40% of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy do not respond to the standard treatment for preventing vomiting. These use expensive ‘antiemetics’ drugs such as ‘Zofran’ (which must be administered by intravenous drip and cost £250+ a treatment). ‘Marinol’ which uses THC was approved after much resistance in the USA in 1986. It is effective in many cases where other drugs have failed. Smoking or eating cannabis also seems to provide relief where standard treatments fail. The effectiveness of cannabis in treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy is dose-related. The higher the blood levels of THC, the more complete the relief of vomiting. Lester Grinspoon, M.D. has calculated that using cannabis to treat chemotherapy nausea would cost about one percent as much as treatment with Zofran.


The usual treatment is eye drops containing drugs called ‘beta-blockers’. While effective they can cause depression, exacerbate asthma, decrease heart rate and increase danger of heart failure. The most common form of glaucoma, ‘open angle glaucoma’ happens …

Methods of Using Cannabis

Methods of Using Cannabis

Choosing the Medicine : The medical values of THC, CBD and other Cannabinoids.

Which cannabis? There are two strains of cannabis; Cannabis ‘Sativa’ and Cannabis ‘Indica’. Both contain large amounts of THC, but Cannabis ‘Indica’ contains other cannabinoids such as CBD and CBN. These are similar to THC, but have different effects on the body and can be used in different ways. THC causes the feelings of euphoria, creativity and a sense of well-being which are often called being ‘high’. It also reduces blood pressure and nausea, benefits cancer patients taking chemotherapy, AIDS patients who have reduced appetite and patients with uncontrolled glaucoma. CBN and CBD cannabinoids create a stronger sedative physical effect useful for pain relief and reducing muscle spasticity – helping Multiple Sclerosis patients, stroke victims and those suffering from chronic pain.

Our knowledge of these different cannabinoids can be used to target them specifically for the purposes they are most effective. However most cannabis currently available is a hybrid strain – somewhere in between the extremes of ‘Sativa’ and ‘Indica’. The ‘Sativa’ plant is taller and sparcer, with bigger branches to unit length, while the ‘Indica’ plant is more compact, narrower, skinnier and shorter, with more branches spaced closer together. Cannabis resin (‘hash’) is likely to be higher in CBD, while many strains of herbal cannabis (‘weed’ or ‘skunk’) can be very high in THC. One of the many strong arguments for legalisation is that it would require cannabis to be properly labled like any other mass consumer product.

Smoking/inhaling: Burning or vaporizing the cannabis and inhaling the smoke into the lungs is the fastest route to the blood stream. Conventional wisdom is that holding in the smoke increases the effects felt. Recent research shows the opposite; it causes more harm to the lungs without increasing the amount of THC absorbed. Studies done in Australia indicate that 95% of the THC in cannabis is absorbed in the first few seconds of inhaling. Holding in the smoke longer just allows more tar and other noxious chemicals to be absorbed. Take small, shallow puffs rather than deep inhalations.

Methods of Using Cannabis

Irritation of the throat and lungs is one of the most obvious adverse effects to the marijuana smoker as is the inevitable cough upon inhaling. The cough is the body’s reaction to the irritation of the numerous constituents of the smoke. Prolonged and repeated exposure to these irritants can lower resistance to, and aggravate infections from viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The lesser coughing, the safer the smoke. The fewer puffs the better; the more potent the cannabis used is the fewer puffs required. For these reasons, it is preferable to use only the more potent flower tops, or high grade hash for smoking use.

Despite the obvious dangers of inhaling hot smoke, there is evidence that in some cases (ie. Asthma) smoking could be a beneficial medical use of cannabis. Another advantage of smoking is that it allows the user to control their dosage better as the effects are almost immediate, unlike when eating, or using THC in pill or spray form. In general however, smoking is not the best way to take cannabis, especially for pain, being a less efficient use of the herb than eating. However, many medical users find they appreciate the immediate and pleasurable effects of smoking cannabis and the harm of smoking can be reduced in various ways. One alternative to inhaling smoke is to release the THC through Vaporization; inhaling vapor rather than smoke, see vaporization.

Joints: Smoking cannabis in ‘joints’ is one of the least harmful ways of smoking. A loose, fat joint is preferable to a thin one because the temperature of the smoke is lower in a thick joint. Mixing cannabis with tobacco counter-acts the positive effects of THC. Some research suggests that Cannabis may actually offset some of the harmful effects of tobacco but there is also evidence that the relaxing effects of cannabis on the lungs allows the toxins in tobacco to get in deeper. There is evidence that a thin joint gives a more stimulating ‘high’, while a fat joint has a more sedative effect (due to different burn temp in ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ joints). Avoid rolling papers with ‘strawberry’ tasting chemicals and the like, ‘rainbows’ and any use of colored inks.

Methods of Using Cannabis

Pipes and Bongs: Many ingeniously designed products are on the market that claim to offer a cooler smoke but they are not all safe or efficient to use. Avoid wood, aluminum or plastic materials. Use glass, stainless steel or brass pipes and bongs.

Water pipes: Recent research suggests that water pipes are the most harmful and least efficient methods of smoking cannabis. The water absorbs a great deal of the THC in the smoke (up to 50%!), increasing the amount of tar the smoker must ingest to get the desired result. Using a water pipe with a mouthpiece less than 20cm from the water level can allow water vapor and water drops to enter the lungs.

Vaporization: Using a vaporizer which heats but does not burn the cannabis, is an alternative to smoking. The process involves releasing the THC as vapor which is inhaled rather than smoke. The effect is ‘clearer’ and it is far more economical and reduces the exposure of the throat and lungs to products of burning. Vaporization works because THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, is a resin that vaporizes at a lower combustion (burning) point than cellulose. You can make your own vaporizer very cheaply or buy various types starting at around £35 up to £300+ for the ‘hospital standard’ ‘Volcano’. High heat destroys some of the THC in smoked cannabis (estimates vary). Vaporizers heat it more gently; the THC molecules decarboxylate and evaporate in a whitish vapor.

Methods of Using Cannabis

A problem with vaporizers is with correct use. Many users tend to overheat and consequently burn the stuff. They are now ‘smoking’ not ‘vaporizing’ the cannabis, often without realizing – and just as many toxic tars are released as smoking in a pipe. Vaporizers …