Americans Don’t Know The Safest Way To Consume Cannabis Survey Says
Legal cannabis is now accessible to more Americans than ever, and it will only continue to grow in reach.
But while cannabis becomes mainstream, knowledge of the many ways to use and consume the herb does not.
A recent survey of around 9,000 American adults revealed that 53% of participants didn’t think there was a form of consuming cannabis that was actually safe. Among the participants who do believe there were some forms of consumption that are safer than others, edibles are perceived to be the safest (25%).
The study, which was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, also showed that people still believe smoking cannabis flower is the safest way to consume cannabis (16%), compared to vaping (3%), and oils (3%). These findings are contrary to what the science tells us about the safety and efficacy of vaporizing cannabis. The survey also revealed that less than 1% of survey respondents believed that dabbing cannabis is the safest form of consumption.
“As more states legalize recreational use of marijuana, further research assessing the safety of marijuana across its various forms is necessary to inform state regulations and public policy,” write the researchers.
What do the study’s findings mean?
For one, it shows that the industry still has a lot of work to do when it comes to educating people about the myriad of ways available to consume cannabis. Not all cannabis is equal, especially when it comes to administration methods; each of them may have its pros and cons especially for people who are taking it for medicinal reasons.
Another is the fact that it still seems commonplace for Americans to think that there is no safe way to consume cannabis at all, means that the gateway drug theory is still in full effect. Again, it all boils down to the importance of educating people especially in this day and age when cannabis use continues to spread.
Smoking vs. Vaping
To an outsider who isn’t familiar with cannabis, or smoking in particular, it may seem silly to go as far as differentiating smoking and vaporizing.
However, there is a stark difference among the two forms of inhaling cannabis. Most Americans’ first encounter with cannabis, especially back in the old days, is probably lighting up a joint or a bowl, which is then smoked. But these days, vaporizing cannabis has become trendy although it certainly has its own health benefits compared to smoking flower.
Smoking cannabis can cause an irritation on delicate tissues found in your throat, mouth, and lungs. This is caused by the high temperatures involved with burning the embers and tar, which are then inhaled into the body. Many people still prefer to consume via smoked flower, and there’s nothing wrong with this, unless you’re already sick.
Other key differences between smoking and vaping include:
- Lower temperatures: When you burn plant material, the combustion results in smoke, which you don’t see when you vaporize it. Using a vaporizer entails heating cannabis oils or flower at low temperatures which are just right for melting the oils and resins in the flower without burning too much plant material. Inhaling at lower temperatures has many more health benefits. The ideal, and most common temperatures for vaporizing cannabis is between 330 to 370F, which gives you some vapor while minimizing burning off too much plant embers.
- Improved cannabinoid efficiency: Smoking cannabis flower results in burning off almost 50% of the beneficial cannabinoids in the plant once you inhale it. This is perhaps the greatest difference between the two forms of inhalation. Another 20% is lost in the smoke burn off. For this reason, smoked cannabis is one of the least efficient among all the cannabis consumption methods, especially for someone who values the plant’s therapeutic properties. It may not be the same for a recreational consumer.
- Fewer carcinogens: A 2001 study revealed that vaporizing as opposed to smoking can eliminate the creation of potentially harmful carcinogenic compounds which are found in cannabis smoke as a result of combustion. Some of these known carcinogens are benzene, toluene, and naphthalene.
Do you agree that vaporizing cannabis is safer than smoking it? What are your thoughts?