Up In Smoke

Vaping Is Now the Middle Ground.

There are six words that we want to approach as we review vaping. Good, bad, ugly, and the last three would be the past, the present, and the future in vaping. We shall explore these words such that we can determine where the high ground is. We shall look at what method of delivery we need to consider for our health and wellness when we consume our Cannabis for medical or recreational reasons. Both cannabinoids (THC, CBD) must have a safe delivery system so our lungs do not go Up in Smoke! This article is not about Cannabis! It is about smoking or vaping.

Believe it or not, vaping has been around longer than you think. The Greek historian Herodotus recorded as early as the fifth century BC that people heated herbs and oils on hot stones as one of the first mentions of vaping. By 1927, American inventor Joseph Robinson came up with the idea of an e-cigarette, although it was never brought to market; the only evidence for this is the U.S. Patent 1,775,947. Herbert Gilbert built on this idea in the 1960s and invented the “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” in 1963.

Past medical indicators:
Vapo-Cresolene Vaporizer, ca. 1910s – 1930s. That device was considered good for vaping when the product box advertised the vaporizer as a treatment for whooping cough. The Cresolene liquid was poured into the device’s top dish, and slowly vaporized by the kerosene flame below. The packaging claims that the resulting fumes had antiseptic properties beneficial to inflamed lungs. This may not have been true but strongly believed as were leaches and bleeding the patient as a treatment for infection back as the turn of the century.

At Present 2022
When you talk about vaping today, most people now will think Cannabis! Why? Because more people in the U.S. are now vaping or smoking Cannabis than cigarettes, 17% in a recent Gallup poll. Tobacco cigarette use has been trending downward during the past decades, with only 11% of Americans saying they smoke cigarettes in a poll conducted this year July 5 to 26, 2022, compared to 45% in the mid-1950s.

Presently, we want to talk about some of the reasons why vaping has become such a rage for Cannabis delivery (THC and CBD). Both THC and CBD are two of those reasons for the rage because 37 States now have medical programs and/or recreational expansion in 19 States which has made the availability easy to obtain. Here, in Maine, we have both choices. Maine has had a medical Cannabis caregiver program for 23 years since 1999. Vaping is easy because you do not need a bong, there is no smell, and you do not need matches, and you can put this device in your pocket or purse.

There is still no Federal mandate for legalization of Cannabis. That has not stopped the majority of the United States of America. State sovereignty on this issue has made a major transcontinental march across the country coming after 50 years of prohibition as a federal crime. When Cannabis was made illegal in 1970 with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), prolonged prison sentences were the order of the day. The long-awaited decriminalization of Cannabis is now coming from the President of the United States, from a Federal level and has asked States to do the same.

The bad long-term use of tobacco in America, “I would walk a mile for a Camel” went through adding filters and menthol to stop people’s audition with vaping. However, this e-cigarette found a new electronic cigarette introduction in the early 1990s as a renaissance. It was the ease of use delivery which was a driving force with its population of young smokers. Recent studies show another bad outcome with vaping which is age related. Among 342 people with vaping illness, 69 percent of those over age 50 were cigarette vaping patients compared to patients under 35 year old. This new and recent CDC report shows adults older than 50 were admitted to hospital intensive-care units twice as often compared with younger adults and teens.

It was the Teen Thing which has vaping companies paying out
$440 million dollars with recent court cases favoring the public over the vaping companies. The ugly part, according to Psychology Today, smoking is a very efficient way to deliver drugs to the brain. In the case of cigarettes, smoking can deliver the nicotine hit to the brain nearly instantly, resulting in a quick neural transmission response. The same is true for any drug used through smoking – delivery to the brain is quick, resulting in a rapid onset of effects. However, according to the American Lung Association, no matter the source of smoke, it is harmful to the lungs. Whether from wood, tobacco, or Cannabis, smoke contains multiple toxins and carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances that can result in long-term breathing issues and lead to the development of serious lung disease.

In the past, the 1970 Cannabis smoker had to find delivery systems from water bongs to glass pipes. So, vaping is not a new concept, but it exploded through a new delivery device, the e-cigarette. The e-cigarette is portable where it fits in your pocket or purse. Those 1970 Cannabis users are now your today’s Boomers who are your largest current Cannabis user population. Yes Boomers, 50 years has rushed by! However, the utilization of edibles, salves, bombs, lotions, and tinctures have given all the different generations a safer way to get the many benefits from this age-old botanical plant without the smoke.

Vaping was introduced as a method of reducing reliance on traditional nicotine products. The first vape products appeared in the United States around 2007. However, vaping giant Juul accelerated the popularity of vaping in 2017 with different flavors which have been looked upon as a trap-of-attraction for the younger population and a most recent lawsuit and suits have resulted in $440 million in medical reparations from Juul. Smoking has been a long-term nemesis. America has spent a long time and a lot of money on smoking cessation which makes vaping an ideal public health target. Here is where I will play doctor because I am, for a couple of paragraphs.
Maine Opts Out of $440M Multistate Settlement With Juul

Vaping was delivered with a large device that puts out a steam mist to treat a number of diseases. With modernization, devices started getting smaller and delivery systems got down to an atomizer as a medical delivery system. Asthma and all pulmonary diseases use this delivery system because it gets the medicine to the target organ, the lung, directly without harm. If we are going to use vaping, we need to do it with a method without smoke and without heat and with a non-oil mist. What we need is a water-soluble compound that can be put into a mist. I am working on it at the time of this writing, right now. Stay tuned!
However, the target organ for CBD and THC is not the lung, it is just a quick way to get to these receptor sites in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Cb1, Cb2 and maybe a third Cb3 receptor are the target sites. So, we must utilize another and discover the different delivery systems as outlined above and not Go Up in Smoke!

Eric I. Mitchell, MD MA FACPE CPE

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