When it comes to cannabis, the versatile ways to administer your medication makes it one reason that people find the plant so beneficial. A wave of innovations developed in recent years may enhance the experience of using medical marijuana, address portability or discreteness, or help patients produce or avoid specific effects.
Below is some background on new tech products you might encounter on your cannabis journey (as well as some new product categories you may be unfamiliar with)
Cannabis can be smoked in a wide variety of ways, but may come with similar combustion inhalation risks as cigarettes. It’s also important to note that smoking your cannabis in a bowl, bong, or rolling a joint is illegal in many states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Vaporizing doesn’t combust cannabis to heat it. Vaporizers use a variety of methods to heat the flower or concentrated cannabis flower without burning it. The process of vaporization atomizes the cannabinoids into a vapor that can be inhaled without the carcinogens, tar, and other byproducts of combusted ash.
In studies, medical users have reported several therapeutic advantages of vaporizing (“vaping”) relative to smoking or ingesting cannabis. Benefits reported included fewer side effects (40.1%), facilitation of correct dosing (39.6%), superior symptom relief (34.4%), faster onset of effects (27.1%), and longer lasting effects.
STORZ & BICKEL’s Volcano is a vaporization device evaluated to be a safe and effective cannabinoid delivery system. The study noted that by changing parameters such as temperature setting, type of evaporation sample and balloon volume, the vaporization of THC was systematically improved to its maximum. Also by Storz & Bickel, The Mighty is a larger, yet more portable device that’s a lot less complex to use than The Volcano.
Another patient-favorite vaporizer, the PuffCo Peak debuted at CES 2018 as the world’s first cannabis concentrate vaporizer (“dab rig”). The metallic, ceramic and glass device allows a highly customized experience, including temperature control and it even has Bluetooth capabilities.
(These and additional vaporization devices were suggested by patients in this article.)
The basic chemical process that makes your favorite salad dressing stay together is also how we get products like cannabis-infused beverages, powders, oral sprays, and more. Nanotechnology produces nanoscopic droplets from cannabis oil, resulting in stabilized additives for beverages. Nanoemulsion doesn’t require a harsh solvent like alcohol, and can be dropped into products like everyday beverages such as coffee, tea, and water.
Patients often note the benefit of these products is they are unlikely to cause a hangover the way alcohol might. Products like oral sprays offer an easy-to-dose option for delivery of medical cannabis, giving patients a reliable and discreet microdosing option.
Cannabis isolates can be created from both natural and synthetic sources. All CBD synthetics are isolates, but not all isolates are synthetic. CBD isolate is a pure extract that contains cannabidiol without any additional cannabinoids or terpenes. It may not offer the same benefits as full- or broad-spectrum CBD or a product that is found in a dispensary, which contains more than 0.03 percent THC along with CBD.
Evidence suggests that cannabis products might be more effective with THC, a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect”. Isolates were designed for patients who want to benefit from only CBD (or another minor cannabinoid) without experiencing the psychoactive effects of THC.
Hemp Cannabinoid Extractions
Cannabis consumers in 2022 have a myriad of new product choices that have been extracted from hemp products, and it can be confusing for someone new to cannabis.
Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, and THC-O cannabis products are legally available in retail stores and head shops, and buyers should be forewarned that they do produce a psychoactive effect. (And can cause a drug test to detect THC as well.)
These products make an enticing alternative in some states where Delta-9 THC products aren’t legally available, but they shouldn’t be seen as a medically comparable substitute for Delta-9 THC (which you can only legally purchase at a dispensary). THC-O has been marketed as up to three times stronger than Delta-9 THC, but to date, there isn’t any evidence to support that claim.
Synthetic cannabis compounds are created in a lab from cannabinoids not found naturally in hemp (or only found in trace amounts). While they may produce similar effects to Delta-9 THC, there isn’t scientific research that supports the safety or medicinal efficacy of these products, and they should be used with extreme caution.
Other Cannabis Technology
In some states, patients can legally make their own edibles at home. tCheck helps consumers understand the potency of their cannabis edibles. The handheld device uses UV spectrometry to determine THC and CBD cannabinoid levels in butter, concentrates and oil infusions.
WaveWasher is a 420 dishwasher that cleans glass and removes residue quickly. The WaveWasher uses warm water blasted with ultrasonic sound waves to sanitize equipment with 50-100% less isopropyl alcohol and no salt for proper and safe cleaning of water pipes and accessories.
Making Your Own Decisions as a Medical Marijuana Patient
With minimal or emerging scientific research to support one’s decisions, it’s really up to a patient and their personal preferences to decide how to administer their medical cannabis. Like many other areas of our lives, new cannabis technology can sometimes help or potentially sometimes hurt when it comes to medicating effectively. Learning what new products are on the market and what their effects might be can go a long way toward making the most of cannabis as medicine.
Author: Gabrielle Dion Visca
Gabrielle has been writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries for more than 20 years. She’s held positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop. She currently writes articles about medical marijuana for Duber Medical, and is the founder of the Ohio cannabis journalism non-profit, MedicateOH.