There are so many ways to take medical cannabis, from sprays and capsules to topical products and gels. Then there is vaporisation of cannabis flower — a medically approved method of inhaling the therapeutic properties.
If vaporising is your preferred method, then you have two medically approved vaporiser options: the Volcano Medic 2 and the Mighty Medic in Australia. Both products are made by Storz & Bickel.
As a patient, what do you need to know about each of these vaporisers? Let’s cover that as well as helpful info about the vaporising process itself.
While some may conflate vaporising cannabis with smoking cannabis, these are not one and the same. For one, smoking is not a medically approved way of ingesting cannabis in Australia, while vaporising is.
When you smoke cannabis, you use fire to increase the temperature of the flower, which then combusts. That creates hot smoke that you suck into your lungs – which can contain toxins. Additionally, many of the active ingredients in cannabis are sensitive to high temperatures, which means much of them are incinerated as soon as you put them to flame.
But, if you vaporise cannabis, the temperature at which the flower turns into vapour is cooler – 160 to 180 degrees Celsius – as opposed to what’s produced while smoking. This reduces exposure to any byproducts that are created from combustion.
The result is the inhalation of vapour – not smoke – that’s full of the desirable active ingredients found in cannabis flower. This is both better for your lungs and a more efficient way of ingesting cannabis. Plus, it’s just as fast-acting as smoking.
And don’t worry, terpene fans: The vaporising process preserves the terpenes found in medical cannabis, meaning the flavour and body will be intact.
What Vaporiser Should You Use for Medical Cannabis?
They are both manufactured by the same company, Storz & Bickel, under the Vapormed brand.
You can get the Mighty Medic through alternaleaf - your doctor can simply include the vaporiser in your prescription. This vaporiser is battery-operated (it takes two lithium-ion batteries, though it can also be plugged in). It’s a small, portable device.
The only kind of cannabis suitable for the Mighty Medic is ground medical cannabis flower. It also comes with an easy-to-use LED display, which indicates when the temperature is right for inhalation.
The second vaporiser is the Volcano Medic 2. This device is larger than the Mighty Medic, so it’s only suitable for desktop or home use. It’s a bit different from the smaller Mighty Medic because the Volcano fills a balloon (or a tube), which helps cool the vapour down before inhaling.
The Volcano can also work with dried cannabis flower or medical cannabis that’s been dissolved in an alcohol solution.
What the Science Says About Vaporising Medical Cannabis
Vaporising is often a method used in scientific studies because it's controllable, precise, and repeatable. This is evidenced by the countless peer-reviewed medical cannabis studies, which all have relied on the Volcano Medic to deliver controlled doses to the study participants.
A few of the studies that have used the Volcano specifically, have explored cannabis for neuropathic pain, chronic pain from fibromyalgia, and the effects of CBD, among others.
In a nutshell, vaporising with medical cannabis provides patients with fast-acting and sufficient relief from a variety of symptoms. Additionally, vaporising devices allow patients to measure the proper dose of medical cannabis and administer it as needed with ease.
Vaporising cannabis with the Volcano Medic or the Mighty Medic protects the therapeutic properties by keeping the temperatures low. With no smoke, there is also much less risk to the respiratory tract.
All of which is to say, there is a reason why the TGA has approved the Mighty Medic and Volcano Medic in Australia. Vaporising is predictable and consistent, with fewer risks than smoking.
Is Vaporising Medical Cannabis Right for You?
Capsules, topicals, lozenges, oils — Australian patients have tons of different options when it comes to medical cannabis. Still, dried cannabis flower remains the second most prescribed type.
Considering smoking isn’t medically approved because of the potential health risks, many patients rely on vaporising to achieve the therapeutic effects. With two approved devices, the Mighty Medic and Volcano Medic 2, in Australia patients have options that are both safe and scientifically proven.