Cannabis legalization has ushered in a new wave of innovation in the space. Smoking and eating cannabis, two long-held consumption traditions, are now joined by a seemingly endless array of options. One of the more intriguing and lower-key to date has been the cannabis inhaler.
In this article, we'll get you up-to-date on THC inhalers, CBD inhalers and the buzz around this novel cannabinoid delivery system.
What is a THC Inhaler?
Marijuana inhalers are a newer entry to the market, allowing consumers to enjoy cannabis orally or nasally. Inhalers offer consumers a smoke-less, metered consumption option, typically in a microdose or low-dose format. Aimed at discreet applications, they may appeal to all types of consumers. However, in most cases, cannabis inhalers are targeted at medical consumers, mimicking an asthma treatment device.
Far from one size fits all, products and formulations vary depending on the producer or brand. The most common variations from brand to brand include:
- Product formulations (mg per dose or per inhaler).
- The inhaler's shape.
- The propellant used to deliver the medicine to the consumer.
The effects of a THC inhaler should resemble a smoking or vaping experience. Inhalers reach the bronchial tubes and alveoli, or tiny lung sacs, then the bloodstream. This process should allow consumers to feel the effects of their inhaler in moments to a few minutes.
Several brands have stepped into the inhaler game so far. Companies are now offering THC inhalers as well as 1:1, Delta 8 and CBD inhalers. Depending on the cannabinoid, dosage, company and other factors, products can range from $15 to $90.
THC Inhaler Effects
Cannabis inhalers are a discreet and potent way to consume cannabis. Their standout feature has to be its bioavailability or the rate at which THC is absorbed into the body.
Take a look at the chart below for a better understanding of which cannabis consumption methods offer the greatest rates of absorption.
|Method||THC bioavailability||Price range|
|THC inhaler||Up to 80%||$30-$90|
|Traditional joint||About 30%||$5-$30|
|Edibles||Less than 20%||$5-$100|
|Vape pens||About 30%||$30-$90|
Not only does an inhaler's bioavailability trounce other consumption methods, but its price point is also often hard to beat for the amount of THC you get.
Most consumers seeking a measured microdose option can find value in an inhaler. Price and bioavailability are integral components to the decision-making process. But nothing matters if an inhaler fails to deliver that sought-after consumption experience created by other cannabis products. Thankfully, these devices typically live up to the task. With a high bioavailability, inhalers deliver more cannabinoids to the bloodstream. These effects will be felt in larger doses and may appear more subdued with microdose inhaler options.
Pros and Cons of THC Inhalers
Using a THC or CBD inhaler has a range of reported benefits. They include:
- Metered Dose: Most consumption types still include a degree of guesswork when it comes to dosing. With an inhaler, consumers know exactly how much cannabis is delivered in each dose, assuring medical and adult use consumers.
- Discretion: Inhalers are part of a new wave of consumption tech, allowing consumers to enjoy cannabis wherever they want without detection. With a similar look to asthma inhalers, cannabis consumers can enjoy their dose of cannabis without judgment.
- Convenience: Thanks to the size and look of a cannabis inhaler, consumers can enjoy their dose anywhere they'd like, rather than carry a large rig, flower, tools or otherwise. Just take your inhaler with you and enjoy when ready.
- Legal: Some states ban all inhaled forms of cannabis. A few states only ban smokable and vapable forms of cannabis, but still allow cannabis inhalers so patients have access to a fast-acting ingestion option. Check our Laws & Regulations to learn more about consumption methods available in your state.
- Easy to Use: Consuming cannabis is typically easy, but an inhaler makes the process even simpler. Just uncap your inhaler and follow the instructions on how to inhale.
- Possible Symptom Relief: Depending on the person, inhalers may help address medical conditions like chronic pain more quickly than edible ingestion.
- Smokeless Option: Additional studies are required, but many experts tend to believe that smoke of any kind can damage the throat and lungs. With an inhaler, consumers can enjoy a smokeless consumption experience like they can with vaping and edibles.
There aren't many reported drawbacks to using a cannabis inhaler. However, you may want to consider a few points:
- Lack of Dosing Control: Inhalers remove the dosing guesswork. Still, some consumers may want a higher dose per session. With most inhalers targeting medical and low-dose consumers, high-dose consumers may not find much of what they're looking for here.
- Uncertain Clinical Studies: As with much of cannabis, additional lab studies are needed to verify product efficacy and safety. While it is largely assumed that inhalers are an acceptable and effective consumption method, some may prefer to hold off until additional research is conducted.
- Less Flavorful/Varied Experience: Inhalers tend to lack the variety that comes with smoking traditional cannabis flower. While this can offer MMJ patients a more consistent experience, it also reduces the variety of flavors and effects users can expect.
What are CBD Inhalers?
If a consumer wishes to avoid psychoactive effects or otherwise prefers not to consume THC, they may want to try a CBD inhaler. As the name suggests, a CBD inhaler delivers a measured dose of cannabinoids to the consumer. Unlike THC inhalers, though, the CBD variety will provide a high amount of cannabidiol rather than the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol.
More specifically, a CBD inhaler should provide similar effects as a THC device but without the intoxicating effects or "high" associated with marijuana consumption. Instead, a CBD inhaler should deliver more subtle results felt throughout the body rather than the mind.
How to Use a THC / CBD Inhaler
Each cannabis inhaler varies depending on the product design and its components. For example, one may have a push button while another just requires you to inhale. Overall, however, the consumption process is similar across the board.
- Remove the inhaler from its packaging and then remove the cap from the mouthpiece
- Shake your device while holding it upright
- Hold the inhaler mouthpiece firmly between your lips
- Either push the button and start inhaling or begin inhaling if no button is present
- Inhale until the device says you've reached your dose, or stop when you've had enough
- Exhale. Then, wait 30-60 minutes and decide if another dose is needed.
How to Maintain & Store a THC / CBD Inhaler
Keep your marijuana inhalers in optimal working condition with a few quicks tips:
- Clean your device after each use: Cleaning the mouthpiece will ensure no clogging occurs.
- Store Your Device in a cool, dark place: Like any cannabis product, a cool, dark place is the best way to ensure that your cannabis stays fresh for as long as possible.
- Stand your device upright: Like a vape pen, keeping your inhaler in an upright position should help avoid any clogs or jams in the device.
Now that you know cannabis inhalers appeal to much of the market, are you ready to try your own? Contact the NuggMD team today if you have any more questions about inhalers and how they may benefit you.
The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.