Washington, DC: The US Food and Drug Administration has granted
permission for investigators funded by California’s Center for Medicinal
Cannabis Research (CMCR) to conduct the first ever human trial comparing
inhaled marijuana to vaporized cannabis. The clinical trial, which will be
conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California at San
Francisco, will commence in early 2004, according to a news release issued
by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
The pending study will compare subjective effects, cannabinoid blood
levels, and carbon monoxide levels in inhaled breath in volunteers following
both smoking and vaporizing marijuana.
MAPS President Rick Doblin said that the use of vaporizer technology in clinical research “will demonstrate that we can address all reasonable concerns about the safety of marijuana as medicine.”
According to a previous laboratory analysis study completed earlier this
year by California NORML and MAPS, toxins in marijuana smoke produced by
combustion are eliminated by the use of a vaporization device. In that
study, marijuana vapors produced by the Volcano vaporizer were found to
consist overwhelmingly of THC, and contained only minute amounts (less than
5 percent) of a suspected carcinogen, according to a gas chromatography mass
spectrometer (GCMS) analysis of the vapor. By contrast, combusted smoke
contained over 100 other chemicals, including several polynuclear aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs), carcinogenic toxins that are common in tobacco smoke.
In general, the respiratory hazards of marijuana smoke are due to toxic
byproducts of combustion, not the active ingredients of the plant, known as
cannabinoids. Vaporizers heat marijuana at a temperature sufficient to
vaporize cannabinoids (about 200Á C), but short of the point of combustion,
which is approximately 250Á C.
This is important, because the Drug Czar keeps using the “medicine isn’t smoked” argument to negate all medical benefits of marijuana (it’s all they have left). Eventually, the sheer magnitude of scientific evidence for medical marijuana has got to topple the administration’s war on the sick.