Dear Alice,

As the "Technology" of smoking weed advances, my friends say that different ways are healthier then others... I know that either way it is still not healthy, but there is a new product called a vaporizor and they say that it burns a certain way to where the weed is not as harmful as smoking it from a pipe, bong, blunt, or joint. Is this true? How exactly does the vaporizor work?

Dear Reader,

Actually, a marijuana vaporizer is not all that new. A vaporizer (often referred in this context as a marijuana or cannabis vaporizer) known as the Tilt appeared on the American market in the late 1970s. Due to the anti-paraphernalia laws, the Tilt was pulled from the market, but still used by people taking medicinal marijuana. Currently, the marijuana vaporizer is making a comeback among the general population as another method for getting high.

Similar to tobacco, marijuana smoke contains toxins harmful to the respiratory system. Research has shown that regular marijuana smokers have increased rates of respiratory infections. Marijuana vaporizers provide an alternate means of inhaling active cannabinoids, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, while avoiding smoke toxins.

Marijuana vaporizers work by heating the cannabis to a temperature where active ingredients evaporate into a thin mist. Specifically, the cannabis heats to a temperature of 356 - 392 degrees Fahrenheit, below the point of combustion where smoke is produced. Without combustion, the amount of carcinogens, or toxins, decreases. Depending on the design of the vaporizer, the vapor is then captured in a glass and inhaled via a tube. It's important to know that reliable data to support this technique as less risky to health is limited.

More information about the intricacies of smoking marijuana can be found in Alice's Alcohol and Other Drugs archive.

Alice!
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