[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]S[/dropcap]leek, fashionable, convenient and most of all discreet, cannabis vape pens have undergone a meteoric rise in popularity. Unfortunately, many still view vape pens in the same category as e-cigarettes. So here’s a look at the benefits of using vape pens in lieu of smoking.
Utilizing cannabis oils and the process of vaporization, vape pens deliver the potency of THC and other cannabinoids without any of the carcinogens found in the smoke produced when smoking joints and using pipes. Vape pens produce considerably less odor, making it far less noticeable when consuming cannabis in public, which remains illegal in most states that have legalized cannabis. With the advent of disposable vape pens, it is not surprising that the product’s use has skyrocketed. BDS Analytics, a leading cannabis marketing company, has documented that the most significant trend in cannabis has been the emergence of the vape category with 2018 vape sales accounting for 22 percent of revenues at dispensaries in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon.
Originally cannabis oil was made by allowing butane to flow over cannabis flowers producing a liquid that was evaporated and purged of the butane. Known as butane hash oil (BHO), it developed a very bad reputation as the butane was not always totally removed from the final product, and because it also resulted in hazardous and sometimes deadly explosions. Other distillates using advanced extraction equipment including supercritical extraction using CO2 instead of butane are now being used making its commercial production far safer, but it is basically the same process. With the advent of legalization and the requirements for laboratory testing for contaminants, cannabis oils found in vape pens can now be depended on to deliver the goods without the dangers.
“Like any product on the market, the consumer needs to weigh the dangers with the perceived benefits.”
Concerns regarding vape pens remain with cutting agents such as polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin used in the manufacturing of cannabis oils to produce a homogenous product, increase shelf-life and create a mellow, pleasant vapor cloud. Although recognized as generally safe by the FDA, it should be noted that there are no scientific studies documenting the safety of inhaling these cutting agents that have been heated or burned.
Like any product on the market, the consumer needs to weigh the dangers with the perceived benefits. Surely the elimination of the carcinogenic smoke with the use of vape pens mitigates the exceedingly lesser dangers of the other ingredients found in cannabis oils. Admittedly hospitals are not overflowing with patients in hospital beds due to smoking cannabis, unlike smoking tobacco which is the cause of death for over 400,000 Americans every year. Since neither cutting agents nor cannabis smoke is causing an uptick in debilitating ailments, it is up to the consumer to decide which they prefer based more on convenience and personal preference than any perceived danger.
The ability to use cannabis oil vape pens is more impacted by the reactions of elected officials to e-cigarettes, which basically utilize the same vaporization process as cannabis vape pens but dispense the nicotine found in tobacco, rather than the THC found in cannabis.
Cigarettes are the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. It is the smoke produced by burning tobacco that causes the monumental increased risk of stroke, heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes and most cancers. E-cigarettes contain a cartridge of a fluid containing nicotine. They do not produce smoke, thereby significantly reducing the most dangerous aspects of tobacco use. Although nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure and may lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the dangers of nicotine pale in comparison to the smoke released from burning tobacco.
All too often the mad rush to ban e-cigs winds up including all vape products including cannabis vape pens. If government officials truly wanted to improve the health of their citizens, they would ban all tobacco products and encourage the use of cannabis as a viable and much healthier alternative.