How Cannabis Inhalers Work and Why You Should Be Using Them

Woman Using Inhaler

When people think about the fastest way to deliver THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol) into the system, they usually say either smoking or vaping. Those methods indeed enable us to enjoy the therapeutic benefits in a matter of a few minutes. However, various studies show that smoking or vaping cannabis poses significant health risks. Not everyone wants to soak their clothes with the grassy, pungent odor of the cannabis plant, too.

Cannabis inhalers bridge those gaps for individuals seeking a fast-acting, clean, and high-bioavailability method of taking THC or CBD. These devices have been on the market for a few years now, but in case you have not yet heard of what it does and how it can help you, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about cannabis inhalers in this article.

Read on to discover the mechanics of using a cannabis inhaler. We will also share some tips and reminders for first-time buyers.

What is a Cannabis Inhaler?

More likely than not, you have already seen an asthma inhaler. A cannabis inhaler is modeled after those portable devices, so you can usually take them with you without attracting unwanted attention from others.

A cannabis inhaler consists of two primary parts: the mouthpiece and the cartridge.

The mouthpiece is commonly made of plastic and metal. It comes with a cap to keep things sanitary before and after using the cannabis inhaler. Inside is a mechanism that propels the THC or CBD into the lungs in the form of vapor or aerosol, but without requiring a heating element like in vaping.

The cartridge contains a certain amount of THC, CBD, or a combination of both. The contents are standardized to provide a consistent experience, and the best ones indicate the precise dose you can expect per usage.

The Science Behind Cannabis Inhalers

Consuming cannabis through an inhaler works quicker than most other delivery methods because cannabinoids follow almost the same route oxygen takes when we breathe.

When the substance reaches the lungs, millions of tiny air sacs known as alveoli absorb them. Their membrane is so thin that the cannabinoids enter our bloodstream without being metabolized first, like what happens we take them through capsules or edibles. Because of this process, we can feel the effects of THC or CBD at a stronger level.

A greater percentage of your cannabis intake reaches the ECS (endocannabinoid system) receptors because the cannabis inhaler does not involve heat too. Case in point, smoking CBD or THC flowers will only provide about 30% of their original cannabinoid content. Vaping has a higher percentage—averaging at 50%, depending on the quality of the vaping oil and device.

The Benefits of Cannabis Inhalers

In addition to the known therapeutic powers of cannabinoids, opting to use a cannabis inhaler provides additional benefits as a means of administering THC or CBD to your system.

Lower Risk of Irritating the Respiratory System

Since you won’t have to burn the plant matter, consuming cannabis through an inhaler will not expose you to irritants, toxins, and carcinogens like smoking. Frequent smokers also complain about a dry or sore throat, too.

Certain cannabis vaping oils also contain ingredients that can lead to various lung problems. That won’t be an issue with an inhaler because its cartridge does not require potentially harmful additives to turn into vapor—the mouthpiece propels it into your airways instead.

Can Be Used Discreetly

From its appearance to the lack of the telltale smoke or odor, a cannabis inhaler will not call attention to the fact that you are taking a dose of cannabis even while you are in public. Since it is not much bigger than a tube of lipstick, you may slip it into a small bag or your pocket when not in use.

Does Not Require Complicated Steps

As you will learn later in this article, a cannabis inhaler involves the same steps as conventional asthma inhalers. Therefore, you can rest assured that the process does not demand a lot of prep work or premeasuring.

Offers Higher Bioavailability

As explained earlier, a cannabis inhaler allows users to enjoy more cannabinoids per intake because of its route and the lack of heating required. We know by now how much you will usually absorb through smoking and vaping, but it gets far more impressive when we compare inhalers against the other popular means of consuming THC or CBD.

Capsules and edibles, including crowd-favorite gummies, tend to have bioavailability rates of about 4% to 20% only. The exact number is influenced by various factors, such as what you have eaten, the activities you will engage in, and your current stress level.

The so-called “first-pass” effect also significantly reduces how much cannabinoids would enter the bloodstream. The edible you have ingested does not get absorbed immediately when it reaches your stomach. Instead, it goes through the intestines, then to the liver, where it gets further metabolized before finally gaining entry into your bloodstream.

On the other hand, the bioavailability of cannabis-infused topical products ranges somewhere between 5% to 10% depending on how thin the layer of skin is on the area where they are applied. Manufacturers recommend rubbing the topicals gently on the skin until they have been absorbed. However, the skin acts as a natural barrier, so only a tiny fraction ultimately reaches the bloodstream. 

Should You Switch to Cannabis Inhalers?

A cannabis inhaler can be an excellent addition to your arsenal of wellness tools, especially if you are:

Sensitive or Aversive to Smoke

If you suffer from asthma or other similar respiratory problems, a cannabis inhaler will allow you to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids without triggering inflammations or coughing.

Other people who don’t have such health conditions simply do not like the smell of smoke, regardless of its source. In that case, the smokeless delivery system of inhalers will not put you off from trying to enhance your lifestyle with cannabis.

A Frequent Traveler

Since a cannabis inhaler is practically identical to a medical inhaler, you won’t feel troubled about your privacy while using it, even when you’re in a public space. It will also not cause problems to people nearby because inhalers do not emit smoke or odor.

In Need of Fast-Acting Doses

Immediate relief from pain, stress, or anxiety may be possible through a cannabis inhaler. As you have learned, it enables cannabinoids to enter our system quickly through the lungs. The process saves you several minutes of waiting for the effects to kick in, thus making it a great choice for emergencies.

Avoiding Guesswork or Inconsistency

A metered cannabis inhaler does not require premeasuring the dosage. The brand declares how much THC or CBD you will get with each puff. And since the process does not destroy the plant compounds, like in the case of smoking or vaping, you may expect precise dosing every time you use it.

How to Use a Cannabis Inhaler

If you are convinced to try cannabis inhalers, here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to use one. Note that slight variations on the procedure may be observed depending on which brand of inhaler you purchase. That’s why you should still read the manufacturer’s directions before taking the first puff.

  1. Remove the protective cap from the mouthpiece.
  2. Shake the inhaler briskly in an upright position for a few seconds.
  3. Place the mouthpiece between your lips before sealing them.
  4. Tilt your head back, and breathe in through your nose.
  5. Press the top of the cartridge once to release the vapor.
  6. Hold your breath as you move the inhaler away from your mouth.
  7. Place the protective cap back on the mouthpiece while exhaling.

Remember that cannabis inhalers offer higher bioavailability, so you won’t likely need multiple puffs to start feeling the effects. On our first try, we waited for around half an hour to observe how it would make us feel. Since we are regular users, however, our threshold for CBD and THC are higher than average, so we had to take a few more trials until we found the optimal dosing.

You should also regularly clean the mouthpiece of your cannabis inhaler. Forgetting to do so will not only expose you to germs and contaminants, but the dirt may also hinder the mechanism inside from releasing precise doses. Use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to wipe and sanitize the inhaler at least once a day.

What to Do Next

Now that you better understand how cannabis inhalers work, you might be wondering where you can find one. Not all leading hemp brands offer this product, but some companies specialize in designing cannabis inhalers that can dispense measured doses of THC, CBD, or their combination. The most popular options include:

Not all states approve the distribution and possession of inhalers, so be sure to verify if your state allows or prohibits it. In case it is available in your area, you may check your brand of choice to find out which dispensaries offer them. Note that you might still be required to present your medical marijuana card by the dispensary since some states classify inhalers as medical devices.

If you have other inquiries about cannabis inhalers, feel free to speak to our team here at The CBD Guru. We can help you go through your options and recommend which type of cannabis inhaler will best match your health and wellness needs.



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