Public Health and Safety

Vaping or Smoking: An Early Look at Impairment

Currently, there is scant policy or guidance when it comes to either smoking or vaping cannabis. Similarly there is no uniform policy as to the potency levels of products available in today’s public market; nor a complete understanding how the two administration methods (smoking v. vaping) can affect the user.

The 2018 study, “Acute Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis in Healthy Adults Who Infrequently Use Cannabis” published in JAMA, (JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(7):e184841. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.4841 ) by (T. Spindle et.al.) provides a foundation of knowledge to this topic. This early, small group study, of low THC potency marijuana, (as compared to today’s potency levels), examines that issue. Overall, researchers found that vaporized cannabis, even at this low potency level, had a greater adverse impact with respect to the subjective effects of the drug, the impact to cognitive and psychomotor abilities, as well as to general health issues.

The topics of THC potency levels, different administration methods and issues surrounding impairment all need to be further researched to gain an understanding of the risks that today’s more potent forms of cannabis products represent.

Read Time: 10-15 minutes

Image: Pexels / W. Pacześ