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Vaporizer Study

Vaporizer Study

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Published by: Matias Ceballos Guzman on Dec 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Cannabis Vaporizer CombinesEfficient Delivery of THCwith Effective Suppressionof Pyrolytic Compounds
Dale GieringerJoseph St. LaurentScott Goodrich
Cannabisvaporizationisatechnologydesignedtodeliverinhaled cannabinoids while avoiding the respiratory hazards of smokingbyheatingcannabistoatemperaturewheretherapeuticallyactivecanna-binoid vapors are produced, but below the point of combustion wherenoxious pyrolytic byproducts are formed.This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of an herbal vapor-izer known as the Volcano
, produced by Storz & Bickel GmbH&Co.KG,Tuttlingen,Germany(http://www.storz-bickel.com).Three200mgsamples of standard NIDA cannabis were vaporized at temperatures of 155°-218°C. For comparison, smoke from combusted samples was alsotested.The study consisted of two phases: (1) a quantitative analysis of thesolid phase of the vapor using HPLC-DAD-MS (High Performance Liq-
Dale Gieringer is affiliated with California NORML, 2215-R Market Street #278,San Francisco, CA 94114.Joseph St. Laurent and Scott Goodrich are affiliated with Chemic Labs, 480Neponset Street, Building #7C, Canton, MA 02021.The authors offer thanks for insight and technical support to Jeff Jones, ElvyMusikka, Irvin Rosenfeld and Aidan Hampson.This research was supported by a grant from the Marijuana Policy Project. Addi-tionalsupportprovidedbytheNORMLFoundation,theMultidisciplinaryAssociationfor Psychedelic Studies and Storz & Bickel GmbH&Co.Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Vol. 4(1) 2004http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JCANT
2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J175v04n01_02
uid Chromatograph-Diode Array-Mass Spectrometry) to determine theamount of cannabinoids delivered; (2) a GC/MS (Gas Chromatograph/ Mass Spectrometer) analysis of the gas phase to analyze the vapor for awide range of toxins, focusing on pyrene and other polynuculear aro-matic hydrocarbons (PAHs).The HPLC analysis of the vapor found that the Volcano delivered36%-61% of the THC in the sample, a delivery efficiency that comparesfavorably to that of marijuana cigarettes.TheGC/MSanalysisshowedthatthegasphaseofthevaporconsistedoverwhelminglyofcannabinoids,withtraceamountsofthreeothercom-pounds. In contrast, over 111 compounds were identified in the combustedsmoke, including several known PAHs.The results indicate that vaporization can deliver therapeutic doses of cannabinoids with a drastic reduction in pyrolytic smoke compounds.Vaporization therefore appears to be an attractive alternative to smokedmarijuana for future medical cannabis studies.
2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]
Marijuana, cannabis, vaporization, smoking, harm re-duction
Concernabouttherespiratoryhazardsofsmokinghasspurredthede-velopmentofvaporizationasanalternativemethodofmedicalcannabisadministration. Cannabis vaporization is a relatively new technologyaimed at suppressing respiratory toxins by heating cannabis to a tem-peraturewherecannabinoidvaporsform(typicallyaround180-190°C),but below the point of combustion where smoke and associated toxinsare produced (near 230°C). The purpose of this is to permit the inhala-tion of medically active cannabinoids while avoiding noxious smokecompounds that pose respiratory hazards. Of particular concern arethe carcinogenic polynuclear (or “polycyclic”) aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs),knownbyproductsofcombustionthatarethoughttobeamajorculprit in smoking-related cancers. While there exists no epidemiologi-cal evidence that marijuana smokers face a higher risk of smoking-re-lated cancers, studies have found that they do face a higher risk of bronchitis and respiratory infections (Polen et al. 1993, Tashkin 1993).This risk is not thought to be due to cannabinoids, but rather to extrane-ous byproducts of pyrolysis in the smoke.
Inprinciple,vaporizationoffersmedicalcannabispatientstheadvan-tages of inhaled routes of administration: rapid onset, direct deliveryinto the bloodstream, ease of self-titration and concomitant avoidanceof over- and under-dosage, while avoiding the respiratory disadvan-tages of smoking. Compared to other proposed non-smoked deliverysystemsusingpharmaceuticalextractsandsynthetics,vaporizationalsooffers the economic advantage of allowing patients to use inexpensive,homegrown cannabis.In practice, the major question concerning vaporization comes downto feasibility. How well can one design a vaporizer that reliably pro-duces “smokeless,” toxin-free cannabinoid vapors from crude canna-bis? Toaddressthisquestion,wetestedadeviceknownastheVolcano
,an herbal vaporizer produced by Storz & Bickel GmbH&Co. KG,Tuttlingen,Germany(http://www.storz-bickel.com).Thestudywasde-signed to measure how efficiently the device delivered delta-9-tetra-hydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids, and how effectively itsuppressed other, non-cannabinoid compounds from the vapor.The study consisted of two phases: (1) a quantitative analysis of thesolid phase of the vapor using HPLC-DAD-MS (High PerformanceLiquid Chromatograph-Diode Array-Mass Spectrometry) to determinethe amount of cannabinoids delivered; (2) a GC/MS (Gas Chroma-tograph/Mass Spectrometry) analysis of the gas phase to analyze thevapor for a wide range of toxins, focusing on pyrene and other poly-nuculear aromatic hydocarbons. Vapor was generated by loading theVolcano with 200 mg samples of NIDA cannabis. For comparison, acombusted control using 200 mg of cannabis burned in a glass pipebowl was also tested.Upon analysis, the Volcano vapors were found to consist over-whelmingly of cannabinoids, while the combusted control containedoveronehundredadditionalchemicals,includingseveralknownPAHs.The results, which are discussed below, provide encouraging confirma-tion of the feasibility and efficacy of vaporization.This study was the third in a series of cannabis smoke harm reductionstudies sponsored by California NORML (National Organization for theReform of Marijuana Laws, www.canorml.org) and MAPS (Multidisci-plinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, www.maps.org) (Gieringer2001).Thefirststudytestedavarietyofsmokingdevices,includingtwocrude homemade vaporizers along with several waterpipes and other de-vices, specifically examining THC and solid smoke tars (Gieringer1996). It indicated that only vaporizers were capable of achieving re-ductions in tar relative to THC. The second study (Chemic 2000) was a
Gieringer, St. Laurent, and Goodrich9

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