Smoking marijuana, either recreationally or for medicinal purposes, poses health risks to the respiratory system that can be similar to smoking tobacco. Some people believe that alternatively using a marijuana vaporizer for inhalation reduces these risks and makes inhaling the drug safer. The truth is that vaping marijuana also poses serious risks to your health.
The Marijuana Vaporizer
A marijuana vaporizer heats up the drug in either herbal or concentrated form to a degree that active ingredients are transmitted into the body without any actual burning involved. There is no combustion involved while vaping, therefore no smoke is created when using a marijuana vaporizer. Instead of burning the cannabis, the marijuana vaporizer heats the substance to a temperature that is just below the combustion temperature. The vapor that is released and then inhaled delivers the substance to your body.
Is Vaping Marijuana Safe?
Although vaping sounds more innocuous than traditional smoking cannabis, inhaling marijuana through a vaporizer doesn’t protect you from negative health effects. There are residual irritants, solvents and pesticides being taken into the body through vapors that can have serious health consequences. Additionally, there are other physical and psychological health concerns to consider.
The Health Risks of Vaping Marijuana
Chemicals: Vaporizers can release dangerous chemicals. For example, toxic amounts of ammonia residue in marijuana vaporizers may negatively affect your health. The ammonia can cause irritated lungs, central nervous system effects, and asthma attacks.
- Breathing Issues: Vaping marijuana can aggravate asthma conditions. It can also cause spasms of bronchial tubes.
- Cancer Risk: Though not as much as when nicotine is inhaled, cancer-causing substances like tars may be released when vaping marijuana. The vaporizers do not completely protect you from the unhealthy effects of tar and smoke being taken into your system.
- Intoxication: The marijuana oils that are sometimes used for vaping can be highly concentrated with up to 90% of the drug’s active ingredient, THC. This super-concentration of THC can lead to intoxication without realizing it.
- Pre-existing Conditions: If you suffer from heart or circulatory disorders, low blood pressure, diabetes or schizophrenia, marijuana ingested in any form can pose a health risk to you. Evidence shows that vaping or smoking marijuana has the potential to increase your heart rate to twice its normal rate. This increase in heart rate increases your risk for heart attack.
- Dependence: Although marijuana isn’t as addictive as tobacco, its use is known to cause a dependency upon the substance.
- Brain Issues: The THC in marijuana is absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to your brain where it interacts with cell receptors that control neurological development and other functions. Heavy use of this drug negatively impacts your memory and thinking capabilities.
Although marijuana vaporizing is thought to be a risk-free alternative to smoking, the facts are not so clear-cut. The respiratory system is still at risk when vaping marijuana along with the other risks that accompany marijuana use.