There are many ways to ingest medical marijuana and each has its pros and cons. Some folks swear by their edibles while others prefer the tried and true approach to medical marijuana: just plain smoking it. But thanks to advances in science and tech, vaporizing marijuana is the new norm. In fact, next to dabs, vaping (inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device, which became Oxford Dictionary's word of the year in 2014) has become one of the most popular new ways for patients to medicate.
One of the many reasons people like using vape pens is that they're typically odorless which makes it easy to use when you're on the go. Some of the newer pens, like Slim Joint, are designed to look stylish and discreet and are available in regular and extra strengths, depending on one's needs.
How E-Joints Work
Vaping e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, is the catalyst that started the vaping trend. But now, you can vape good old marijuana too, getting the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids that you may require for health reasons.
When you inhale an e-joint, the tip glows, just like a real joint. But what you exhale is vastly different and more comparable to the mist that a fog machine creates. E-joints function on the same basic principle: a heating element known as an 'atomizer' heats up the fluid, turning it into a gas.
Many e-cigarettes are rechargeable, with refillable liquids that come in a variety of interesting flavors. The level of customization and variety of tastes have turned vaping into a popular hobby. But for medical marijuana patients, e-joints are more than just a tool for relaxation – they're an important delivery method for medicine. And, just like there are many varieties of e-cigarettes there are many varieties of e-joints as well. There are also different strains available (including indicas, sativas and hybrids) and different flavors and methods of vaping.
Depending on the region or dispensary, there are a few options for vapes. Some dispensaries will process their marijuana into a psychoactive liquid that can be used in a personal vaporizer. Disposable e-joints are just like disposable e-cigarettes in that they require little maintenance or recharging batteries. Popular brands include the Juju Joint and the SlimJ. One major con is for environmentalists, as these e-joints are disposable, but many producers are working on programs to recycle the devices, especially as these devices grow in popularity.
Are E-Joints Safe?
There has been a fair amount of controversy in response to the safety of e-joints, especially in regards to health effects. Since users inhale a vapor instead of smoke, many believe it's much safer. So far, the overwhelming consensus about e-cigarettes and vaping is that it's far safer than inhaling smoke. The truth is, not enough research exists to be definitive, but according to WebMD, "So far, evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may be safer than regular cigarettes. The biggest danger from tobacco is the smoke, and e-cigarettes don't burn. Tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you'd get from a real cigarette. But what's in them can vary."
E-joints are a different matter entirely as none of the chemicals contained inside an e-joint are addictive. Plus, the cannabinoids inside are known by a wide scientific consensus to be helpful for certain conditions, including cancer, HIV, glaucoma, chronic pain, and many other conditions.
Medical marijuana patients are likely already familiar with which strains are best for their condition(s). But are e-joints right for patients? That's a decision each patient will have to make on your own. Who knows, the result could be very positive.
By William Wallace of azmarijuana.com