Vaping is gaining worldwide popularity
Cannabis can be consumed in many different ways. The most popular and age old method is smoking -- the plant is rolled up in a marijuana cigarette, commonly referred to as a “joint”, and smoked. Other methods include eating, drinking, and even rubbing it on the skin.
A newer method has been gaining traction lately -- vaping. This new age consumption method is highly popular among teens, thanks to social media. Its attractiveness also lies in the belief that it is a healthy alternative to a “joint”, given the lack of smoke inhalation.
The popularity of vaping has become a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, the Oxford dictionary has included the word “vape” in its definitions, and it actually won the Word of the Year in 2014.
The global vaping market
So what exactly is vaping? Why the hype? We explore this method of vaping in Australia.
What is weed vaping and how long has it been around?
Vaping involves inhaling vapors produced by a vaporizer. It can be used with substances other than cannabis, and there are actually electronic cigarettes for consuming nicotine products.
Vaporizers have been around for decades, since the 1960s, in various forms that weren’t portable like today’s vapes. The modern vape was the invention of Han Lik, a chinese pharmacist who invented e-cigarettes -- which is essentially what a vape pen is.
The vaping device, referred to as vape pens and cartridges in Australia, vaporizes cannabis oil and distillate. It is a pen-shaped device, while the cartridges refer to vape devices that are already loaded with cannabis oil. Some vapes also use flowered cannabis and are referred to as dry vapes.
Weed vape pen
Is vaping legal in Australia?
Yes, vaping is legal in Australia. Vape pens and other vaporizers can be used and possessed in Australia, and can be sold in states where they are not classified as smoking devices. In those states where they are classified as smoking devices, their retail sales are limited.
Cannabis, though, is still illegal in Australia for recreational use. However, CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is legal for medical purposes, and hemp oil can be imported into Australia. Also, vaping nicotine products with e-cigarettes is a tricky topic in Australia as far as its legality. These all complicate the legal topic of Australian weed vape, and thus the topic of whether Australian weed vape is legal is still a bit tricky, especially considering medical cannabis has only been legal in the country since 2016.
Is vaping as popular in Australia as the rest of the world?
In Australia, there has been disagreement as to the safety of vape pens, particularly e-cigarettes which are related to vape pens. That has led to a tricky landscape in deciphering when and where a vape pen can be used legally in Australia. In Queensland, for example, using a vape pen for nicotine-related vaporizing is illegal.
Couple this with the fact that cannabis is illegal for recreational use, and the fact that medical cannabis just recently became legal in Australia, and you have a country that is a little far behind in the vape culture compared to other countries. However, legal complications aside, vaping is gaining popularity in Australia.
What does the medical fraternity say about vaping?
The medical community’s opinion on weed vaping is either favorable or unfavorable -- depending on who you ask. There hasn’t been much research into weed vaping in particular, given how new the concept is.
However, some in the medical community fear that the vape cartridges contain a chemical that turns to formaldehyde when heated. Although this chemical is safe for consumption, there is a fear as to its safety when heated.
Jordan Tishler, MD (Medical Doctor), of InhaleMD, also shows concern regarding the cannabis oil used in vape pens. According to Dr. Tishler, these oils contain several chemicals such as polyethyline glycol, propyline glycol, and cannabis terpenes. These chemicals turn into carcinogens when heated, which in turn can harm the lungs.
There’s also evidence that vaping is better than smoking. John Malouff from the University of New England in Australia cites the lack of smoke while vaping as beneficial to cannabis users. Smoke produces carcinogens that are harmful to the lungs. The lack of smoke while vaping reduces any lung-related risks like bronchitis and cancer.
A 2004 study in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics found that cannabis, when vaped, contains nothing more than cannabinoids, thereby reducing any harmful exposure to other chemicals. Further, Mitch Earleywine of the Univeresity of Albana stated in a 2010 study that respiratory illness patients reported great improvements in their conditions after vaping medical cannabis for only one month.
Again, there are medical opponents and proponents when it comes to the topic of vaping. But the fact that it eliminates the production of harmful smoke while using cannabis should be enough to amplify its benefits.
What do you need in order to be able to vape weed?
All that’s needed to vape is a vape pen and a vape cartridge with cannabis distillates and oil. Vape pens also come with a battery. Vaporizing can also be done with cannabis flowers using a dry vape, and in that case cannabis oil will not be used.
Although there are many different ways to consume cannabis, vaping is becoming increasingly popular in Australia and around the world. Its popularity can be attributed to social media, among teens, but its primary benefit is its lack of smoke. Smoking cannabis, or anything at all, produces carcinogens which can harm the lungs once inhaled. This fact makes vape pens and other vaporizers more attractive.
Although there are some concerns about the lack of studies into the somewhat new method of cannabis consumption, the smokeless benefit still remains. Some doctors cite the existence of chemicals in vape pen cartridges and cannabis oil that may become harmful when heated. However, some vapes use flowered cannabis, and virtually eliminate the risk of possible harmful chemicals. Also, vaping’s smokeless attribute makes it a good consumption method for cannabis patients with lung ailments. Because of its benefits, expect Australian weed vape to continue growing in popularity.