Given all the controversy, we would not necessarily classify this device as a medgadget. On the other hand, it is clear that this device charms the ageing hippie population of San Francisco and those with chronic maladies (pretty much everyone in the city nowadays, it seems). So what’s the buzz about a different inhalation method? The San Francisco Chronicle explains:
The future of medicinal marijuana is floating in a plastic, 2-foot-long turkey roasting bag, being sucked into the lungs of grandmas and AIDS patients at cannabis dispensaries and homes across the country.
The allure to the sick — and the health-conscious looking for a cleaner high — is that the toke is nearly smokeless.
The device that generates the smokeless drag is called a marijuana vaporizer. Medical cannabis advocates hope these devices — which stand slightly larger than a blender and can cost close to $500 — will help legitimize marijuana’s medicinal use and take a swipe at its reputation as the devil’s weed.
By heating cannabis to a point where vapors are formed but before the herb combusts, a vaporizer creates a clear substance that, advocates say, is practically free of many of the toxins found in marijuana smoke.
Becoming smoke-free, they hope, will make marijuana more palatable as a medicine to federal officials, scientists and regulators who are dubious about the health value of a smoked drug.
“The smoke aspect is a real problem in making the case for medicinal marijuana,” said Dale Gieringer, a Berkeley resident who is executive director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and one of the early evangelists of vaporizing technology.
The Bay Area has become the intellectual hub of vaporization — from a just-completed UCSF study on the technology’s effectiveness to Alameda County health officials’ plans to allow the devices in new cannabis dispensaries.
In the past two years, more than a dozen manufacturers have sprung up as vaporizers have wafted to the surface of the culture. Which explains the bumper sticker in an Oakland cannabis cooperative: “Got vape?”
Alternative reality, indeed.
If you think that vaporization is the best solution for your chronic aches, the German-based Storz & Bickel has an informative website about the Volcano…