A Bit More on That Vaporizer Study

Oct 30, 2009

science, smoking, vaporization

Yesterday I posted a brief summary of a new study of vaporization of marijuana as an alternative to smoking. Since that original post, I’ve spoken to a couple of researchers about this study, and they raised a few points that seem worth sharing:

First, for reasons that aren’t clear, before performing the tests of smoking and vaporization, the researchers put the marijuana through a drying procedure that ordinary marijuana consumers don’t do. This might have eliminated some plant compounds, such as terpenoids, that are actually of interest.

A second possible flaw is that the researchers considered all “byproducts” – defined as substances other than cannabinoids --  together. They didn’t analyze precisely what they were, lumping bad stuff like the toxic combustion products contained in smoke with potentially beneficial plant compounds like those terpenoids mentioned above. That puts the finding that fewer byproducts were produced at 230 degrees Celsius than were produced at lower temperatures in a somewhat different perspective: We don’t know if the same byproducts were produced at 230 degrees as were produced at lower temperatures – and what’s in that mixture could be just as important as how much of it there is.