Vaping Medicinal Cannabis

Dr Lisa Beckett

May 2022

What is vaping?

Vaping refers to inhaling medicinal cannabis vapour by using a device called a vapouriser. A vapouriser heats the dry cannabis to just below combustion. This results in extraction of the cannabinoids in the plant so they can be inhaled. Because the herb isn’t burnt, no carcinogens are released making it safer than smoking (see below).

Vapour is less irritating and more flavourful than smoking and extracts more cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

Why choose to vape medicinal cannabis?

Vapourised cannabis has a rapid onset compared to oils or capsules. It can be useful particularly for acute symptoms or when a medication is to be taken as needed. Some patients have a preference for vaping over ingestion.

What do I need?

You need a vapouriser, a grinder and cannabis flower.

The vapouriser needs to be compatible with dry herb. These may come as portable or desktop varieties. Prices vary, as do heating methods, battery life and temperature settings.

Look for a vapouriser that can heat between 175-200º C.

How to vape

  1. Grind the cannabis flower in a herb grinder to a medium - medium fine consistency
  2. Pack the herb chamber full but not tight to allow the herb to heat evenly
  3. Turn the vape on and set the temperature between 175 - 200º C.
  • Different temperatures will have different effects. It may take trial and error to find your ideal setting.
  • In this temperature range you should get a good extraction of cannabinoids.
  1. Inhale slow and long and into your lungs. This allows the hot air to pass slowly through the herb to extract the cannabinoids.
  2. Hold for 5 seconds before exhaling
  3. Wait 10 minutes to see how you feel
  4. If another dose is needed, stir the herb to expose more surface area. Repeat from step 4

When do I change out the flower?

Most vapes are session vapes meaning they turn off at some point. Depending on your heat settings there is likely to still be useable herb left. This is known as already vaped bud or AVB.

After the session stir your herb and repack it to keep using it. Once it reaches a brown colour without any green this is the time to replace it.

Can I use oil or vape liquid?

No. Cannabis oil is designed to be taken orally and will damage a vapouriser.

Vape liquid is designed to be vapourised but needs a specific liquid vapouriser, not a herb vapouriser.

Can I just smoke medicinal cannabis?

When you smoke cannabis you lose between 20-80% of the cannabinoids in side stream and combustion. This makes it hard to know how much medication you are receiving.

There are also health concerns with regards to carcinogens produced when smoking that are not present during vaporisation.

References

https://catalyst.honahlee.com.au/article/vaping-vs-smoking-cannabis/

www.cannatrekmedical.com