Smoke Flower v. Vaporizer (not Vape)

All cannabis and marijuana smokers debate whether to smoke cannabis flower v a vape, vaporizer, like a Volcano. Well, there is research on this issue. There is fully conducted science to help decide the debate. In 2007 a study was published in Clinical Pharmacology , by Abrams DI, Vizoso HP, Shade SB, Jay C, Kelly ME, Benowitz NL. Vaporization as a smokeless cannabis delivery system: a pilot study. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Nov;82(5):572-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.clpt.6100200. Epub 2007 Apr 11. PMID: 17429350.

Vaporizer or Vape?

The University of California San Diego, Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) researchers, Donald Abrams, MD from San Francisco, studied the effects of inhaled smoked flower v vape, inhaled vaporized cannabis. This is not to be confused with “vape pens” style of consuming cannabis oils, extracts. The study used a vaporizer like the Volcano.

and VAPORMED. These are medical grade “smokeless” delivery systems for marijuana.

The University of California San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research published study results back in 2007. Read the actual study results.


Here is a summary of the important results of the study.

The analysis suggests that the blood levels of vaporized marijuana are similar to those of smoked flower marijuana. However, at and after 30 minutes, the vaporized marijuana versus smoked marijuana, had significantly higher THC concentrations. Additionally, the carbon monoxide levels were significantly reduced with vaporization compared with smoked marijuana. Vaporization is a cleaner method for consuming cannabis.

In this study, vaporization of marijuana was found to be a safe and clean mode of delivery. Further, the participants clearly preferred vaporization over smoking as a delivery system for the marijuana used in this trial.

Who Smoked Flower? Who Vaporized?

Eighteen healthy subjects were recruited and admitted to the inpatient ward of the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at San Francisco General Hospital to investigate the delivery of marijuana by vaporization compared to marijuana smoked in a standard joint/cigarette. One dose (1.7, 3.4, or 6.8% tetrahydrocannabinol) and delivery system (smoked marijuana cigarette or vaporization system) was randomly assigned for each of the six study days.

Fourteen participants preferred vape v flower, vaporization, 2 smoking, and 2 reported no preference. No adverse events were observed.

Study’s Goal and Process

The primary goal of the study was to evaluate the use of a flower v vape, vaporizer. They compared plasma levels of delta-9-tetrahyrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabinol, and metabolites, including 11-OH-THC. The healthy volunteers smoked one 3.95% THC marijuana cigarette (using the Foltin puff procedure). The other volunteers inhaled the vaporized product of the marijuana from an identical cigarette processed through the Volcano device. In addition to plasma levels, they compared the THC concentration over an 8-hour time period. Also, the researchers compared the subjective high experienced by the patients, and clinical evidence of cannabis effect by evaluating conjunctival hyperemia and heart rate.

They also compared the tolerability of the two methods of ingestion, and they measured expired carbon monoxide to evaluate whether the vaporizer reduces exposure to respiratory toxins. Twelve participants were admitted for a 2-day stay at the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at San Francisco General Hospital. They were randomly assigned to either inhalation of products of a smoked marijuana cigarette or the vaporization products produced by use of the Volcano device. Blood for pharmacokinetic evaluations and measurement of physiologic and psychologic effects of cannabis were conducted by the GCRC research nursing staff who have been involved in all of the cannabis clinical trials to date. On day 2 of the stay, participants inhaled the alternative product and the same measurements were obtained.

Final Results

The study demonstrated that vaporization of cannabis produced significant blood levels and physiologic effects with little to no side effects, or adverse reactions. Vaporization provides a rapid onset, reliable and safe delivery system to be used in future effectiveness studies of medicinal cannabis.

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