Studies: Vaping Prevalent Among Medical Cannabis Patients

Ontario, Canada: Medical marijuana patients are increasingly turning to vaporization as their preferred means of cannabis delivery, according to survey data published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and in the Harm Reduction Journal.

In one study, investigators from the University of Waterloo, School of Public Health surveyed the consumption habits of 364 patients registered in Canada’s medical marijuana program. Authors reported that vaporization was “the most popular mode of delivery for medical cannabis” among patients. Subjects in the study said that they preferred vaping because it “reduce[d] the negative health consequences associated with smoking.”

In another study, researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed 1,485 state-registered medical cannabis patients. Among respondents, 39 percent reported having vaporized cannabis during the past month. However, most patients also acknowledged smoking cannabis as a means of drug delivery. Younger patients (those under the age of 44) and those with a more extensive history of medical marijuana use were most likely to report using a vaporizer device.

Vaporizer technology heats marijuana to a point where cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion. Clinical trials evaluating the technology conclude that vaporization is a “safe and effective” cannabinoid delivery mode that “does not result in exposure to combustion gases.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis use in Canada: Vaporization and modes of delivery,” appears in the Harm Reduction Journal. Full text of the study, “Prevalence and correlates of ‘vaping’ as a route of cannabis administration in medical cannabis patients,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.”