Vaporization as a Smokeless Cannabis Delivery System: A Pilot Study

Authors

  • D I Abrams,

    Corresponding author
    1. Community Consortium, Positive Health Program, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    2. Division of Hematology-Oncology, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    3. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
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  • H P Vizoso,

    1. Community Consortium, Positive Health Program, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    2. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
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  • S B Shade,

    1. Community Consortium, Positive Health Program, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    2. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
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  • C Jay,

    1. Division of Neurology, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    2. Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
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  • M E Kelly,

    1. Community Consortium, Positive Health Program, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    2. Division of Hematology-Oncology, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    3. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
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  • N L Benowitz

    1. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
    2. Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
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Abstract

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

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