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Exploring the Benefits of Cannabis Inhalers

By Danyal Swan April 28, 2023

Inhalers are a vital component of medical treatment for many people. You’ve likely seen inhalers in use, or you may have even used one yourself. Either way, they are an excellent way to administer essential medications like bronchodilators and steroids directly to the place people need them the most.

In fact, the lungs are a premium route to the bloodstream, offering quick transference of important medical compounds across the thin membranes there so they can begin circulation. So much so, that the most traditional methods of cannabis administration involve breathing smoke or vapor directly into the lungs. So, what happened when cannabis creators were faced with patients with respiratory sensitivities or difficulty breathing that limited their ability to consume their medicinal cannabis comfortably? Enter cannabis inhalers.

Though most people may associate inhalers with asthma treatment, they are not limited to that application. In fact, the technology that makes inhalers so incredibly efficient at depositing respiratory medications to the lungs for asthma sufferers makes them an excellent way to deliver a precise cannabis dose for any patient.

Learn more about cannabis inhalers to discover if they are an administration method you’d like to try!

What Is a Cannabis Inhaler?

Cannabis inhalers administer a predetermined, measured dose of cannabis compounds like CBD, THC, and terpenes in the form of a vapor. Like inhaling cannabis smoke or vape products, the vapor is delivered directly to the respiratory system. It’s important to note that cannabis inhalers are not designed for asthma treatment, but are instead intended to be a safe route of cannabis delivery for those in need of a discreet, smoke-free cannabis dose.

Cannabis inhalers look very much like traditional inhalers used to treat conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In fact, they are virtually indistinguishable from other medicinal inhalers, allowing for arguably the most discreet cannabis use. They are also odorless, simple to drop into your bag or pocket, and do not cause irritation of the respiratory tract like smoked flower can.

How Does a Cannabis Inhaler Work?

Not only do cannabis inhalers look like asthma inhalers, but they also work like them, too.When you use a cannabis inhaler, you are treating the vapor in the cannabis canister like oxygen in the air. The inhaler body is designed to release a measured dose of cannabis vapor from the canister, a dose you breathe directly into your bronchial tubes for quick passage to your lungs.

Researchers agree: inhalation of cannabinoids like THC and CBD are effective in treating chronic pain and other conditions. What’s more, a cannabis inhaler’s low, consistent dose may be preferable to other administration methods. This can be partially attributed to inhaled cannabis’ higher rate of bioavailability as compared to other cannabis methods.

In pharmaceutical terms, the bioavailability of a drug or other substance is the degree to which it becomes available to the target tissue after being administered. Bioavailability is the percentage of the given substance in the dose absorbed by the body compared to an injected dose.

How Does a Cannabis Inhaler Work?

Cannabis inhalers have a high rate of bioavailability because the route of administration takes advantage of an effective body process that is readily available once cannabis makes it to the lungs. In addition, the essential compounds do not need to be metabolized before interacting with endocannabinoid receptors.  In other words, research has shown that cannabis inhalers are a more efficient method of delivering CBD and THC into the bloodstream than oral products or edibles.

Types of Cannabis Inhalers

Types of Cannabis Inhalers

There are three types of cannabis inhalers: THC, CBD, and 1:1.

  1. THC: A THC inhaler will contain a higher percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and will not contain as much CBD.
  2. CBD: A CBD inhaler will contain a high percentage of cannabidiol with little or no THC. 
  3. 1:1 THC/CBD: A 1:1 THC and CBD inhaler contains both cannabinoids in equivalent amounts. Combining the two cannabinoids enables CBD to mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC, reducing unwanted side effects and making the experience therapeutically impactful. 

THC vs. CBD

Cannabinoids are a large group of compounds that are able to interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to exert changes in crucial functions like sleep, pain, hunger, relaxation, gut health, and more. Their similarities to the native cannabinoids in your body are what produce cannabis effects as they interact with CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors as well as with one another. You’ve probably heard of a few of them - THC and CBD.

Interestingly enough, THC and CBD have the same molecular structure, with the only difference occurring in how the atoms are configured in the molecule. Even though they are structurally similar and affect the same system, they do not have the same effects on that system.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid responsible for cannabis’ psychoactive effects. When the activated form of THC is consumed, it readily binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, producing the sense of euphoria cannabis is so well-known for. Many people report that these pleasant, uplifting, or sedating effects are helpful in controlling anxiety and pain. There is some evidence that THC can also help treat other conditions, including the following:

  • Nausea
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety
  • Low Appetite
  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Chronic neuropathic pain
  • Fibromyalgia

CBD, or cannabidiol, is naturally found in both medical and recreational-grade cannabis as well as industrial hemp. It does not interact directly with endocannabinoid receptors but is instead thought to have allosteric reactions with them, meaning CBD binds to other molecules like THC and alters its effects.

CBD does not cause any of cannabis’ psychoactive effects, but its allosteric interaction is believed to reduce the intensity of some of the psychoactive effects caused by THC. The FDA has approved Epidiolex, a medication containing CBD, to treat difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy. It may also be useful for treating other conditions, including the following:

  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease

Benefits of Cannabis Inhalers

As noted, people rely on cannabis for a variety of reasons. Truly getting the most out of your cannabis use requires deliberate choices about the types of cannabis you use and the administration methods you use to consume it. As a product with many upsides and very few downsides, cannabis inhalers take the positive effects of cannabis and make them more accessible to people with all types of health conditions.

Here are some of the most important benefits:

Increased Bioavailability

As mentioned above, the bioavailability of cannabinoids in a cannabis inhaler is significantly higher than in other common administration methods. In fact, it is possible that your cannabis inhaler could provide up to ten times the bioavailability as other methods, especially edibles. This increased availability of cannabinoids allows you to get the most out of your cannabis purchase. Most people will experience effects with a dose of only 5 mg of THC.

Easily Controlled Doses

Cannabis inhalers are designed to administer one standardized dose per spray. In addition, the packaging will denote the cannabinoid content for each dose, as well as the number of doses within the canister. By contrast, it is much more difficult to control your dose with smoking and vaping.

Ease of Use

Though different brands of cannabis inhalers will have slight variations, most will have the same basic use principles. This simple method of administration means there is a very small learning curve with cannabis inhalers. Even if you are new to cannabis products, operating a cannabis inhaler and achieving a full, measured dose is easy to do.

Discretion

Unlike smoked cannabis, a cannabis inhaler will not produce the telltale odor cannabis is so well-known for producing. There is also no cloud of marijuana vapor to linger in your area. Inhalers can be used quickly without anyone noticing, and even if others do notice, the appearance is that of a typical inhaler. Most brands offer discreet packaging to further protect your privacy, and all can be slipped easily into a pocket or purse without fanfare.

Smooth Cannabis Experience

Many people are dissuaded from using cannabis because they dislike the lung irritation smoking and vaping can cause. In particular, patients with breathing issues may especially benefit from choosing an administration method besides smoking or vaping. More palatable cannabis administration methods, including edibles, capsules, and ingestible concentrates, are not as bioavailable as inhalers.

Cannabis Inhaler FAQs

Are Cannabis Inhalers Your Preferred Way to Enjoy Cannabis?

Only a generation ago, cannabis patients were severely restricted in the ways they could access their medicinal cannabis. Now, new laws and modern technology have facilitated leaps and bounds in cannabis innovation, allowing more people than ever before to experience cannabis. Many people can benefit from the positive effects of this incredible plant, and cannabis inhalers provide a safe, smooth, measured dose every time.

We at MÜV offer both THC inhalers and 1:1 THC/CBD inhalers at our Florida medical dispensaries. These products are easy-to-use and administer a metered microdose of 2.4mg per actuation, ensuring an ideal solution for fast-acting, controlled medical cannabis delivery.

You can explore these products in person at your local MÜV Dispensary today. Our Cannabis Advisors can help you start your journey to well-being with a new cannabis inhaler.


References:

  1. Aston, E. R., Scott, B., & Farris, S. G. (2019). A qualitative analysis of cannabis vaporization among medical users. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 27(4), 301–308. https://doi.org/10.1037/pha0000279
  2. McGilveray I. J. (2005). Pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids. Pain research & management, 10 Suppl A, 15A–22A. https://doi.org/10.1155/2005/242516
  3. Almog, S., Aharon-Peretz, J., Vulfsons, S., Ogintz, M., Abalia, H., Lupo, T., Hayon, Y., & Eisenberg, E. (2020). The pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of a novel selective-dose cannabis inhaler in patients with chronic pain: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. European journal of pain (London, England), 24(8), 1505–1516. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1605
  4. Devinsky, O., Kraft, K., Rusch, L., Fein, M., & Leone-Bay, A. (2021). Improved Bioavailability with Dry Powder Cannabidiol Inhalation: A Phase 1 Clinical Study. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 110(12), 3946-3952. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xphs.2021.08.012 

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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