Science

Cannabis: Vaporizing vs Smoking

Smoking cannabis brings toxins and unhealthy combustion byproducts into the body. With temps in the ~2000’F range for flame, burning flower incinerates a large portion of the product being consumed. As the distance from the point of flame grows, temperatures are lower, and cannabinoids are vaporizing, in addition to being burned by the flame. Over time, as heating technology has improved, there is no longer a need for blasting temperatures way beyond what the material can safely sustain before turning to tar and ash.

Beyond developed habits of consumption, social familiarity, and simplicity of use, one of the reasons many enjoy combustion is the other effects of heat. As with any human contact with extreme heat, blood rushes to the source of heat, and this may present a platform, through which cannabinoids may enter the bloodstream more quickly. The extravagant heat is also aerosolizing many more cannabis compounds than vaporization temperatures typically support, so the effect of flame is often felt to be more intense.

Vaporizing cannabis, however, is less likely to introduce mutations in the polyphenol compounds found in abundance within cannabis, and some of the mutations create terrible molecules known to be caustic and destructive.

If the medical rationale for vaporizing (over combustion) is not convincing, please consider the financial argument: Though purchasing a vaporizer may be costly, it’s a smart investment that could save money in the long run. Learn more by watching this video:

Benjamin Caplan, MDCannabis: Vaporizing vs Smoking
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Benjamin Caplan, MDCED YouTube Channel
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Video: The Endocannabinoid System

A simplified overview of the human side of the human-cannabis interaction system!

Built from the growing mountain of literature inside the CED Foundation Medical Cannabis Archive

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Benjamin Caplan, MDVideo: The Endocannabinoid System
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Student-Athletes are at an Increased Risk for Binge Drinking and Substance Use

Title: Psychological correlates and binge drinking behaviours among Canadian youth- a cross-sectional analysis of the mental health pilot data from the COMPASS study

A recent study has examined data from the COMPASS program and found that student-athletes in Canada were more likely to engage in binge-drinking and illicit substance use. Researchers focussed on the measure of flourishing, defined as an overall healthy mental state and emotional connectedness, and how flourishing related to concerning drinking and substance use behavior. Student-athletes were found to be the most at risk for binge-drinking, defined as consuming 5 or more drinks in a single session, and those more likely to binge-drink were also more likely to co-use illicit substances. This research provides evidence for the formation of targeted prevention programs.

Cannabis use is banned among athletes by most sports organizations. Cannabis appeals to athletes considering the many different consumption methods, allowing discreet consumption and personalization with variable potential opportunities for relief. Cannabinoids are generally naturally occurring substances unless clearly manufactured, and have been shown to be beneficial for post-workout recovery, muscle soreness, anxiety, sleep, and relaxation. All of those symptoms, including the emotionally driven ones, are common among student-athletes who often feel an immense amount of pressure to perform in competition. As in most other areas of modern culture, Cannabidiol (CBD) finds itself in a grey area for most sports organizations’ substance regulations given that it is not intoxicating and readily available with a notable safety profile. Even if cannabis is not federally legal, CBD is so widely available that many athletes are embracing it, in lieu of more dangerous, or potentially addictive, medications.

Tweet: A recent study has examined data from the #COMPASS program and found that #studentathletes in Canada were more likely to engage in #binge-drinking and illicit substance use. Read this and other linked studies:

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This paper is also stored here:    http://bit.ly/2XSoIUQ     inside the CED Foundation Archive

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Benjamin Caplan, MDStudent-Athletes are at an Increased Risk for Binge Drinking and Substance Use
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Genes in the Endocannabinoid and Opioid Systems may Provide Biomarkers of Obesity

Title: Preclinical and Clinical Evidence for a Distinct Regulation of Mu Opioid and Type 1 Cannabinoid Receptor Genes Expression in Obesity

Researchers have recently found that alterations of the type 1 cannabinoid receptor gene (CNR1) and mu opioid receptor gene (OPRM1)  contribute to the development of obesity. This phenomenon was shown in rat models who were given a high-fat diet and humans currently dealing with obesity. Due to the possibility of the up-regulation of CNR1 and OPRM1 providing a mechanism for developing the obesity phenotype, those two genes could serve as biomarkers for obesity. Fortunately, the up-regulation of CNR1 and OPRM1 is reversible and may also provide a target for combatting obesity and encouraging weight loss in obese individuals. 

Highlighted here are the interactions of the endocannabinoid and opioid systems. Contradictory evidence concerning the interaction of the two systems has come out in recent years making it difficult to come to any conclusions. The endocannabinoid system has been thought to provide a safe and effective method for combatting the opioid crisis. Opioids are highly addictive and dangerous, but they are an efficient way to minimize pain which has kept them in mainstream medicine. Opioids have led to countless overdoses in recent decades causing researchers to search for a more ethical option for pain relief. Cannabis has a much better safety profile, poses no risk of overdose, and offers a welcome change of pace to traditional choices. Conclusive research is still needed to confirm, and reconfirm the details.

View this review (yellow link) or download:

This paper is also stored here:    http://bit.ly/2xOhoPE     inside the CED Foundation Archive

Benjamin Caplan, MDGenes in the Endocannabinoid and Opioid Systems may Provide Biomarkers of Obesity
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Gauging Mice with CBD, part 2

A Forbes article shedding light on #CBD and its effects on the livers of mice. Dr Peter Grinspoon and Devitt-Lee wisely talk some sense around the lousy methods and insensible dosage used on mice to command sensational headlines. http://bit.ly/2XMP36W

The CED Foundation review of the topic: http://bit.ly/2jYOlFX

Benjamin Caplan, MDGauging Mice with CBD, part 2
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Consuming CBD with THC Decreases Systemic Availability of THC

Title: Model-based analysis on systemic availability of coadministered cannabinoids after controlled vaporized administration 

A new study revealed findings that vaporizing cannabidiol (CBD) with ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) lowers the systemic availability of THC.

Researchers analyzed the blood plasma level of CBD and THC in a randomized, double-blind study, and found that those who inhaled a high dose of CBD were found to have lower levels of THC. Frequent cannabis users were found to have only minorly decreased levels of THC in their plasma when high doses of CBD was coadministered. Future studies should be conducted to examine the validity of these results for other consumption methods. 

This work highlights how those who have consumed too much THC can combat some of the symptoms associated with THC by consuming CBD. Occasionally, cannabis users may overindulge in THC and feel anxiety, panic, or dizziness. One of the best ways to combat such overindulgence (and lower the effects of THC) is to consume a high dose of CBD. Other, non-cannabis related, methods are also commonly recommended, such as relaxation or food with high levels of the terpenes caryophyllene and limonene. When using cannabis it’s important to start low and go slow in order to minimize the possibility of overindulgence. 

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This paper is also stored here:   http://bit.ly/2xNCHkw      inside the CED Foundation Archive

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Benjamin Caplan, MDConsuming CBD with THC Decreases Systemic Availability of THC
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The Current Research on Cannabis-Alcohol Interactions and Risk Factors for Using Them Together

Title: Cannabis and Alcohol- From Basic Science to Public Policy

This new analysis summarizes the most recent preclinical trials and epidemiological studies concerning the interactions between cannabis and alcohol, as well as possible risk factors for co-use. Specific risk factors, such as frequency of use or belonging to particular groups, were found to be significant within studies (but not across separate studies.) The compiled data reveals that previous research is inconsistent and emphasizes the need for further research to elucidate at-risk populations.  


This article highlights a few secondary findings which all focus on the gaps in our knowledge concerning cannabis, of which there are many. There may be potential concerns with the integration of cannabis into modern culture, which has essentially normalized alcohol consumption. Future research will undoubtedly evaluate these concerns, and highlight potential advantages that cannabis consumption may offer as an alternative option.

View this review (yellow link) or download:

This paper is also stored here:   http://bit.ly/2Jt1Nfa      inside the CED Foundation Archive

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Benjamin Caplan, MDThe Current Research on Cannabis-Alcohol Interactions and Risk Factors for Using Them Together
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Incidents of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Reveals A Need for Stricter Regulations

Title: A review of drug abuse in recently reported cases of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Asia, USA, and Europe

A recent literature review has found that the current driving regulations in Asia, Europe, and the US have not prevented cases of driving under the influence of drugs. The authors observed steady trends of incidences of driving under the influence in all three regions, despite legislature specifically enacted against such actions. In the literature, there is a consistent recommendation that drivers should be regularly tested, especially in the case of an accident, in order to gather more data on the role of drugs in traffic accidents. 


This review highlights the different illicit drugs that contribute to traffic accidents, depending on the region of the world. Cannabis is legal in certain areas of Europe, whereas it is still considered an illicit substance here in the US, and many other locations, worldwide. Looking at the differences in severity or circumstance of the accidents between the type of illicit drug used may provide data to create more beneficial regulations for each country. As the legal status of cannabis continues to evolve, and it becomes more common to find drivers on the road who have consumed a minimal amount of cannabis, new screening techniques will likely be developed to help the culture establish what it considers an “acceptable amount” of blood-borne cannabinoids to be.

View this review (yellow link) or download:

This paper is also stored here:    http://bit.ly/2JucMot     inside the CED Foundation Archive

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Benjamin Caplan, MDIncidents of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Reveals A Need for Stricter Regulations
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Maintain a Balanced Diet when Consuming Oral Cannabidiol

Title: Food effect on pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol oral capsules in adult patients with refractory epilepsy

Researchers have recently revealed the importance of maintaining a balanced diet, when consuming cannabidiol (CBD). Consuming oral capsules containing CBD may be a more consistent method of consumption than blending CBD into liquids or solid foods, but unfortunately, capsules do not prevent a high degree of potential fluctuation of dosing. The fat content of a meal may vary widely, and so may change the active concentrations of CBD which become active in the bloodstream. In other words, the effects felt by a consumer may be either stronger or weaker, and differ in duration, related to the method of consumption, and the product make-up taken. Patients considering CBD as a therapeutic intervention, who also want a consistency of effect, would be wise to be mindful to maintain a diet with a balanced amount of fat (oils, butter, etc.) when consuming CBD capsules. 


This article highlights the variation of effects felt when altering consumption methods. For example, edibles and inhaled cannabinoids of the same dosage have extremely different effects, because of how they are processed in the body processes. When inhaled, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) diffuses across structures in the lungs known as alveoli, and are then transmitted to circulate throughout the bloodstream. Edibles introduce THC into the system by first metabolizing with liver enzymes, resulting in an altered metabolite of THC circulating throughout the body. This subtly-altered metabolite of THC can be more potent than the starting material, although the onset is delayed due to the process of consumption, digestion, and metabolism. All consumers would do well to research their consumption method of choice and proceed carefully when switching between methods. 

Tweet: Researchers have recently revealed the importance of maintaining a balanced #diet when consuming #cannabidiol (#CBD). Learn more at

View this review (yellow link) or download:

This paper is also stored here:    http://bit.ly/2Ju8KfY     inside the CED Foundation Archive

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Benjamin Caplan, MDMaintain a Balanced Diet when Consuming Oral Cannabidiol
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