Enjoy this article by The Medical Cannabis Clinics and speak to a patient coordinator to learn more about medical cannabis and vaporisers.

Key Points

  • A medical cannabis vaporiser is a medical-grade specialist device prescribed as a way to consume the cannabis flower. They are believed to be less harmful and harsh than smoking cannabis, which remains illegal in the UK. 
  • Three medical cannabis vaporisers have been approved for the use of cannabis medically. These are the Volcano, Mighty Medic, and Mighty+ Medic by Storz and Bickel Gmbh & Co.
  • Research into medical cannabis vaporisers is limited, but published studies have shown much encouragement in the use of specialist vaporisers for medical cannabis.
  • The Medical Cannabis Clinics aims to raise awareness of how medical cannabis can assist various conditions. Book a consultation call or speak to a patient coordinator to see if you are eligible for a medical cannabis vaporiser for your condition.
Close up Marijuana leaf on light green background , Medical using of marijuana cannabis plant product concept

What is a Medical Cannabis Vaporiser?

In November 2018, medical cannabis was made legally available for prescription in the United Kingdom. Patients can be prescribed medical cannabis in various forms, namely topicals, oils, and medical cannabis flower, which is vaporised. Three vaporisers have currently been approved for the use of cannabis medically. These are seen as the safest and least harmful way to consume the commonly prescribed flower. Due to the adverse effects that smoking has on health, the cannabis flower should only be vaped through specialist vaporisers.

Vaporising devices heat a material until it produces a vapour. Vaporisers were developed to slowly heat the product instead of burning it, and this slow heating leads the material (medical cannabis, in this instance) to produce a vapour. Many people confuse medical cannabis vaporisers with the vaporisers that are now a popular alternative to tobacco smoking. However, they are different and should not be viewed as the same. Vaporisers used for medical cannabis generally fall under one of three categories: pens, portable vapes, and desktop vapes. Get in touch with us to find out which are the most popular types among our patients.

Storz and Bickel Gmbh & Co. is a German business that focuses on the production of trustworthy medical-grade vaporisers. The three vaporising devices that have been approved are all produced by this company, which are: the Volcano, Mighty Medic, and Mighty+ Medic. All three devices have the option of adjusting the heating temperature with accuracy so the vapour density can be regulated. The vaporising devices by Storz and Bickel Gmbh & Co. are believed to be less harmful and harsh than smoking cannabis, which remains illegal in the UK. Indeed, because vaporisers do not burn the material, they do not release harmful substances that are found in cannabis smoke. Medical cannabis vaporisers heat and decarboxylate the cannabinoids found in the flower without creating any byproducts that are toxic. 

Here are the evaporation temperatures of the primary cannabinoids:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) = 157℃ or 315℉
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) = 180℃ or 356℉

The burning of the cannabis flower occurs from 230℃ (446℉).

One of the key benefits of using a vaporiser for medical cannabis is that it has a swift onset of effects compared to other methods, such as through oral intake. This is because the ingredients access the bloodstream quickly through the alveoli in the lungs. An effect can be felt within just a few minutes and can last for several hours. This is beneficial for patients with acute conditions, as well as being easier to determine the optimum dosage because the effect is felt so fast.

A study was published in 2007 which compared cannabis smoking against cannabis vaporising with a Volcano. It demonstrated that the bioavailability of vaporised cannabinoids through the use of the Volcano and Mighty Medic devices is between 29% and 35%. This is significant because the bioavailability of orally ingested cannabinoids is thought to be less than 15%.

Hand Showing Cannabis Leaf Against Sky With Sunlight

How to Use a Medical Cannabis Vaporiser?

What Equipment is Needed for Medical Cannabis Vaporisers?

Here is the equipment you will need in order to use a medical cannabis vaporiser:

  • A medical cannabis vaporiser 
  • A grinder for the preparation of the cannabis flower
  • A set of scales so that you can weigh your medication out
  • Cleaning materials to keep your vaporiser clean (see our list further down the page about how to clean a vape)
  • An aid for filling the vaporiser

A Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Medical Cannabis Vaporiser

If you have never used a medical cannabis vaporiser before, it can seem a little daunting. For this reason, below, we have a step-by-step guide to help you with using the device. 

STEP ONE: Fully charge your vaporiser. Once it is charged, run it through a heat cycle several times to ensure any manufacturing residues are burnt off. 

STEP TWO: Using your scales, weigh out the prescribed amount of medical cannabis flower.

STEP THREE: Next, grind the cannabis flower with your grinder.

STEP FOUR: When filling the chamber, do not overfill it or pack the material down, as it can increase draw resistance. Plus, it can prevent all of the material from vaporising. To determine if you are taking full advantage of the cannabinoids, check the vaporised content to see if it has irregular colouring across the grounds. If it does, some of the substance is being wasted, and not all of it is being vaporised.

STEP FIVE: You now need to set the vaporisation temperature. The trick is to start low. A suitable temperature to start is 170℃ (338℉). You should not find the vapour harsh, and you should not experience throat irritation from vaping. If the temperature is very low, not much vapour will be expelled, but this will increase as the temperature rises. 

STEP SIX: It’s time to use your medical cannabis vaporiser. Do not feel as though you need to hold the vapour in your lungs for an extended period, as it is not thought to affect how well cannabinoids are absorbed into the system. You should find the flavour changes as you use the vaporiser, and the ingredients will activate. Effects should be felt within one to five minutes of use. 

How to Clean a Medical Cannabis Vaporiser

It is essential that you maintain and regularly clean your medical cannabis vaporiser. Depending on how often you use it, it should be done once a week minimum.

To clean a vape, you will need:

  • Cleaning wipes
  • Cleaning fluid
  • Cleaning buds and picks

Because the steps for cleaning a vaporiser depend on the particular device you use, you should read the instructions from the manufacturer of your vaporiser to ensure that you do so correctly. 

What Does the Evidence Say About Medical Cannabis Vaporisers?

Research is unfortunately limited when it comes to medical cannabis and vaporisers, but studies that have been published have shown much potential and promise:

  • In the 2007 study mentioned earlier that assessed the Volcano vaporiser, researchers concluded that inhalation through the Volcano is thought to be much safer than smoking cannabis. They found patients had little (if any) carbon monoxide increase after inhaling THC from the vaporiser. Patients that inhaled THC from smoking cannabis unsurprisingly had significantly increased levels of carbon monoxide in their bloodstream. Furthermore, patients who took part in the study expressed a preference for the Volcano vaporiser compared to cannabis smoking.
  • A study published in 2016 also assessed the efficiency of vaporisers when used for cannabis. Two of these vaporisers were produced by Storz and Bickel Gmbh & Co. The study found that the vaporisers efficiently decarboxylate acidic cannabinoids and reliably release cannabinoids into the vapour. The study concludes that vaporisers can be considered a promising method for the effective and safe use of medical cannabis. 
  • In 2019, a qualitative analysis of vaporising cannabis among medical patients was released. There were several positive conclusions drawn. They stated that vaporisers have therapeutic effectiveness because dosing is flexible and it is easy to use. They also noted the benefits economically and said that the features of vaporisers make them both convenient and discreet. 
Medical cannabis and doctor. Marijuana therapy concept

Book an Appointment with The Medical Cannabis Clinics

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, our mission is to raise awareness of the benefits of medical cannabis for a range of conditions. We are the largest clinic that specialises in medical cannabis treatment in the UK and Jersey. Furthermore, our doctors are among some of the most experienced in treating patients with medical cannabis. In order to qualify, you must have tried at least two other treatments that have failed to work. Our professional team works with you to create a customised prescription plan for your individual condition and needs. We provide full support throughout the process to help you on your journey. One of our treatment options is the use of a medical cannabis vaporiser. If you would like to find out if you legally qualify for medical cannabis, book an appointment today so we can assess your health condition and determine if you are eligible for a treatment plan.

FAQs

Is Mighty Medic a medical device?

Mighty Medic, Mighty+ Medic, and the Volcano have all been medically approved as medical cannabis vaporisers.

Is it better to vape or smoke?

It is essential to understand that smoking cannabis remains illegal in the UK and is not encouraged. It is better to use a medical cannabis vaporiser because they do not burn the cannabis and therefore do not release harmful substances found in cannabis smoke. Medical cannabis vaporisers heat and decarboxylate the cannabinoids without creating toxic byproducts.

What happens if you decarboxylate too long?

If you decarboxylate for too long or at too hot a temperature, you risk burning off cannabinoids and terpenes, wasting the medical cannabis.

References 

https://themedicalcannabisclinics.com/patient-type/
https://themedicalcannabisclinics.com/patient-advisor/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11366582/
https://ascpt.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1038/sj.clpt.6100200
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718604/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6737940/