Smokeless cannabis delivery device efficient and less toxic

May 15, 2007

A smokeless cannabis-vaporizing device delivers the same level of active therapeutic chemical and produces the same biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins, according to UCSF researchers.

Results of a UCSF study, which focuses on delivery of the active ingredient delta-9-tertrahydrocannibinol, or THC, are reported in the online issue of the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

"We showed in a recent paper in the journal Neurology that smoked cannabis can alleviate the chronic pain caused by HIV-related neuropathy, but a concern was expressed that smoking cannabis was not safe. This study demonstrates an alternative method that gives patients the same effects and allows controlled dosing but without inhalation of the toxic products in smoke," said study lead author Donald I. Abrams, MD, UCSF professor of clinical medicine.

The research team looked at the effectiveness of a device that heats cannabis to a temperature between 180 and 200 degrees C, just short of combustion, which occurs at 230 degrees C. Eighteen individuals were enrolled as inpatients for six days under supervision in the General Clinical Research Center at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.

Under the study protocol, the participants received on different days three different strengths of cannabis by two delivery methods—smoking or vaporization—three times a day.

Plasma concentrations of THC were measured along with the exhaled levels of carbon monoxide, or CO. A toxic gas, CO served as a marker for the many other combustion-generated toxins inhaled when smoking. The plasma concentrations of THC were comparable at all strengths of cannabis between smoking and vaporization. Smoking increased CO levels as expected, but there was little or no increase in CO levels after inhaling from the vaporizer, according to Abrams.

"Using CO as an indicator, there was virtually no exposure to harmful combustion products using the vaporizing device. Since it replicates smoking’s efficiency at producing the desired THC effect using smaller amounts of the active ingredient as opposed to pill forms, this device has great potential for improving the therapeutic utility of THC," said study co-author Neal L. Benowitz, MD, UCSF professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences. He added that pills tend to provide patients with more THC than they need for optimal therapeutic effect and increase side effects.

Patients rated the "high" they experienced from both smoking and vaporization and there was no difference between the two methods by patient self-report of the effect, according to study findings. In addition, patients were asked which method they preferred.

"By a significant majority, patients preferred vaporization to smoking, choosing the route of delivery with the fewest side effects and greatest efficiency," said Benowitz.

Source: University of California - San Francisco

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Israelis develop 'cannabis without the high'

May 30, 2012

Israeli scientists have cultivated a cannabis plant that doesn't get people stoned in a development that may help those smoking marijuana for medical purposes, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

Marijuana use suppresses immune functions, study shows

Dec 03, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Smoking marijuana can trigger a suppression of the body’s immune functions, making cannabis users more susceptible to certain types of cancers and infections, according to a new study led by a University ...

New study reveals how cannabis suppresses immune functions

Nov 25, 2010

An international team of immunologists studying the effects of cannabis have discovered how smoking marijuana can trigger a suppression of the body's immune functions. The research, published in the European Journal of Im ...

Study links cannabis strains with memory impairment

Oct 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- People who smoke potent strains of cannabis that are low in cannabidiol (such as skunk) are putting themselves at far greater risk of acute memory loss than people who smoke other types of ...

Smoked cannabis reduces chronic pain

Aug 30, 2010

For people suffering chronic pain, smoked cannabis reduces pain, improves mood and helps sleep, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Ulg
not rated yet Oct 02, 2008
Gasification the process in which organic material is converted into combustible gasses... 20% of the volume by weight is converted into carbon monoxide.

While I am not going to get into the debate of safety in smoking- gastrointestinal is for sure the way to go. But it is a fact that tobacco has worse long-term effects and so does drinking alcohol vs smoking marijuana

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.