Although cannabis may have potential therapeutic value, inhalation of a combustion product is an undesirable delivery system. The aim of the study was to investigate vaporization using the Volcano® device as an alternative means of delivery of inhaled Cannabis sativa. Eighteen healthy inpatient subjects enrolled to compare the delivery of cannabinoids by vaporization to marijuana smoked in a standard cigarette. One strength (1.7, 3.4, or 6.8% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) and delivery system was randomly assigned for each of the 6 study days. Plasma concentrations of Δ-9-THC, expired carbon monoxide (CO), physiologic and neuropsychologic effects were the main outcome measures. Peak plasma concentrations and 6-h area under the plasma concentration–time curve of THC were similar. CO levels were reduced with vaporization. No adverse events occurred. Vaporization of cannabis is a safe and effective mode of delivery of THC. Further trials of clinical effectiveness of cannabis could utilize vaporization as a smokeless delivery system.
Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2007) 82, 572–578; doi:10.1038/sj.clpt.6100200; published online 11 April 2007