A vaporizer is a device commonly used to release medicinal and/or psychoactive compounds from plant material, probably the most commonly used herb is cannabis, although it can also be used for tobacco or to release certain therapeutic compounds from herbs and other plants, a practice now commonly known as Phyto-Inhalation. For medical or recreational cannabis users, vaporizing is an alternative to smoking. Rather than burning the cannabis, a vaporizer heats it enough (typically around 200 degrees Celsius) so that the volatile psychoactive and medicinal constituents contained in the plant’s oily glandular secretions melt and phase into an aromatic vapor that does not contain the particulate matter such as tars and other toxins found in the smoke.
Subsequently, the vapor is inhaled in the case of most vaporizers such as the balloon extraction and hose or mouthpiece delivery as seen in the Volcano Vaporizer models, or is moisture conditioned and/or ice cooled in the case of the modular vaporization “tools” and “system” approach. With less or no smoke formed, and a cooler temperature, the irritating or harmful effects of smoke and associated toxins are greatly reduced or even eliminated.
The shortcomings of smoked cannabis have been widely viewed as a major obstacle for approval of crude cannabis for medical users even though many studies clearly indicate that the strong expectorant activity of THC probably compensates for much of the ingested tars in a manner not akin to the smoking of tobacco by causing the user to cough up the tars in mucous discharges subsequent to the smoking. Nevertheless, in response to the concerns several scientific studies have tried to establish whether vaporizers could offer a clinically reliable and safe method of cannabis use.
Though vaporizers show great variations in performance, such studies have always found vaporization superior to smoking, and high-end vaporizers used with High Grade Hybrid Cannabis strains containing elevated levels of THC (the medicinal and psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) have been found to entirely eliminate inhalation of undesired compounds in a manner consistent enough for clinical trials. In comparison to cannabis use methods such as eating, vaporization offers the advantages of inhaling THC: rapid onset, direct delivery into the bloodstream, and the possibility to gradually increase delivery until the desired level is reached, in this manner enabling more effective self-dosage.