By Benjie Cooper
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Among all of the options that exist for cannabis consumption in the modern world, smoking remains the most common method. But while smoking may be the more popular way to get high, it may not be the most effective one.
According to research published online Friday on the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Network’s website, vaporized cannabis holds a distinct potency advantage over that which is combusted.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, RTI International, and SAMHSA sought to determine how an infrequent user’s psychomotor performance and cognitive and cardiovascular responses would be affected by smoking versus vaporizing.
The study group consisted of seventeen health adults who had not used cannabis within the past thirty days. In six outpatient sessions between June 2016 and January 2017, researchers measured blood THC levels and heart rates after participants smoked and vaporized marijuana at 10mg and 25mg strengths.
There was a one-week washout period between each session.
Researchers found that vaporizing produced stronger psychoactive effects at each milligram strength and participants experienced increased cognitive and psychomotor impairment.
“Vaporized and smoked cannabis produce dose-orderly drug effects, which were stronger when vaporized,” states the report. “These data can inform regulatory and clinical decisions surrounding the use of cannabis among adults with little or no prior cannabis exposure.”
The study also stated that blood THC concentrations are not a good indicator of one’s impairment level due to inconsistencies between cannabinoid levels in the bloodstream and impairment.
The researchers urge further researcher into vaporizers and other new cannabis administration methods as the legal cannabis market continues to expand, noting that the effects can vary significantly between products and users.