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October 19, 2010 3:45 PM   Subscribe

What are the pros and cons of medicating chronic pain with a vaporizer as opposed to a pipe?

I medicate with a vaporizer for the nausea and pain of migraines on a weekly or biweekly basis. Usually, a single, deep inhalation of vapor is enough to relieve both symptoms for three or four hours, after which (assuming my migraine begins in the evening) I'm able to fall asleep migraine-free.

I realize that oral consumption is also an option, but since the amount that I need is so small, I'd prefer to stay away from this route.

Has anybody compared the effectiveness of a vaporizer versus combustion for medicating chronic pain or nausea? I'm interested in all anecdotal (or non-anecdotal) reports, both from migraineurs and from people who medicate for all types of aches, pains, and stomach upsets.
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posted by brainmouse at 3:56 PM on October 19, 2010


My mom's MD told her it was easier to regulate the dose and easier on the lungs. (Apparently burning them over and over is bad for them regardless of the smoke's tar content.) I can't tell you her experience because she's refused to use pot at all.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:06 PM on October 19, 2010


You know, I think you have this TOTALLY wrong about needing such a small amount that oral consumption is off the table!

I was never a smoker, so when I decided to try medicating for my back pain, I bought all sorts of stuff (including a Hot Box vaporizer) to see what worked best.

Wish I had saved my money! After I bought some cannabutter and experimented with brownies... I never looked back.

Every once in a while, I have a small sliver of brownie (I keep a batch in the freezer) and VOILA! Pain gone. Also, my consumption of medicine went way way down from when I first started. I also no longer take other meds, even Tylenol.

YMMV.

I find brownies take longer to work than vaporizing, but the effects are mellower, and such that I don't need to do it all that often.

Datapoint: I have had crippling pain for about 4 years, tried everything except surgery. I only expected the vaporizing or brownies to be as effective as other pain relievers, prescription and otherwise. I never expected improvement. I have no explanation, but I hope my experience helps lead you to your best solution.
posted by jbenben at 4:47 PM on October 19, 2010


vaporizers are more cost effective and close to harmless compared to smoke. it is also much more discrete. they are unfortunately in the $300 range, and the cheap ones are junk.

there is a wide range of personal opinions, good and bad, about the effects of oral intake. it is harder, but not impossible, to regulate an oral dose.
posted by paradroid at 5:15 PM on October 19, 2010


not all cheap ones are junk, my friend says this one works awesome and has been for years now.
posted by Mach5 at 8:58 PM on October 19, 2010


There are also vaporizing pipes such as the VaporGenie available if you prefer a portable option.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 9:02 PM on October 19, 2010


I have not tried eating brownies or 'weed food' if you will because I have heard that the effects are substantially different than just plain smoking and because I have not been provided with ample time to recover should I have a wack attack.

Having said that, a vaporizer will also provide a different high than a bong or a pipe, but it has the benefit of not burning the herbs so that you get the THC and none of the junk.

The key here is not so much "what is better" but 'what is better for you'. Additionally, dosage is also very important, and while you can read countless descriptions on the internet, the best thing to do would be to just go out there and try all the different ways out.

Best of luck with your pain. My mother lives in constant pain every day and she has found a puff of marijuana to be one of the only things that helps outside of medications that would ultimately do more bad than good.
posted by darkgroove at 9:02 PM on October 19, 2010


Just wanted to put my 2 cents. I use cannabis for my back pain and it is really great in comparison to other meds when I am not engaged with work. First, if vaping is working well with migraines keep doing that. Unlike eating which can take about an hour or so to kick in, vaping and smoking is instant. Eating also is great for my aches and pain, but dosage can vary and eating laced foods can be a bit intense. With that said, I am a smoker most of the time except weekends. When comparing smoking to vaping, I prefer smoking. Vaping is great, and I LOVE the volcano but the high is a bit more cerebral, and there is more wonderful CBD's and other tetracannabinals that are in this great plant. I hope your saving the stuff left over from vaping to use for baking or making tinctures as there is still good things left over from the 'duff' of the vaporizer.
Anyways, feel free to drop me a mefi mail if you have any questions or want to chat.
posted by handbanana at 8:25 AM on October 20, 2010


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