For those who still consider cannabis as “dangerous,” their oft-cited rhetoric is that smoking plant material, of any kind, is harmful. Is it any surprise that when given the availability to freely use, consumers choose the healthiest way to consume marijuana? A new study has detailed the natural selection by consumers in legal states, and it confirms what proponents of legalization have said all along.
The latest study results
Recently published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, the study performed by researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine and the C. Everett Koop Institute in Lebanon, New Hampshire shows a significant trend. The study collected data through surveys conducted on Facebook and Qaultrics, an online survey platform. It sought to quantify people’s preferred method of ingestion for cannabis and balanced this against their location, and the proliferation of dispensaries in their area.
Areas with legal cannabis had much higher correlations of users who have tried vaping and edibles. The longer the laws in that area had been in place, and the more dispensaries in relative proximity, the more people chose these as their preferred ingestion method. Anyone who considers themselves a cannabis enthusiast knows that combustion still causes the production of irritating smoke, that can contain carbon monoxide, and other polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, also found in exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, and campfire smoke.
The tendency to vape was predominantly correlated with younger males. Although vaporizers are available worldwide through retailers or mail order, the higher use in medical states is likely due to increased community awareness and conversation, whereas, in prohibited areas, frank discussion can have social stigmas and even potential legal ramifications.
Cannabis festivals, dispensary information, and the increase in more honest media attention (without the proliferation of fear-tactics) have all led to a wider availability of resources to educate consumers about the benefits of vaping over combustion, both in the health aspects and the more provincial concerns with getting the most “high” out of one’s herb.
The greatest psychoactive effects of cannabis are felt with the use of edibles, and their ingestion method leaves one free of the odor associated with the plant. It also gives one a longer-lasting effect, which is ideal for medical users. The reasons behind the increased use of edibles in legal areas are simple.
Making edibles requires larger amounts of cannabis to be on hand, and a certain degree of practical knowledge in the process to prevent an expensive waste of herb. In areas with available dispensaries, it is a much simpler process to just purchase ready-made edible products in the form of infused foods, beverages, and sweets.
We can conclude from this information that people naturally choose the safer methods of cannabis use when given the options, information, and access. New school drug policy reform and harm reduction advocacy groups agree that minimizing the harms of cannabis use cannot be effectively achieved through prohibition and criminal sanctions. The eradication of cannabis has been a 40+ year war, and the plant has won. Give people the freedom to choose, and they will do what is best for themselves.
Do you live in a legal state? What is your preferred way of using cannabis? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.