Vaping with Snowflakes
March 21, 2014 11:01 AM   Subscribe

73 year old mom-in-law has terrible neuropathy in her hands and feet and is finally finding that pot relieves it after trying a billion other things. Husband uses for pain for his medical condition and has a prescription, so we're quite up to date on types of strains, etc. Here's the deal. We're super-old school and have never used a vaporizer. This is basically a vape lesson for a complete newbie.

She is living with us and currently they are shotgunning because she has no idea how to smoke and frankly she doesn't really want to smoke as she has already survived cancer once. Edibles don't work fast enough and are hard to dose.

She's moving into assisted living in a month and needs to be able to do it herself with the neuropathy in her hands. Here are our snowflakes:

- nothing small and hard to fill (really painful neuropathy)
- nothing that she will accidentally inhale liquid or wax.
- something easy to learn how to use, she tends to avoid things that are too much bother
- Something that is at least portable enough to stick in a drawer and hide from housekeeping
- something less than $100.

I am looking for specifics here. If you have a brand name or know of a specific type that would work for my elderly mom, I would really appreciate all the info you can give.

(I've read the previouslies, but most are from 3-5 years ago and I have to believe that technology has improved since those questions. Also, not worried about anonymity. Frankly, if they're going to arrest my 73 year old mother-in-law who is caring for my Alzheimer's addled father-in-law 24 hours a day, she'd probably appreciate the respite.)
posted by Sophie1 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Just throwing this out there -- edibles don't have to be the classic brownie or whatever food; you can make pills and tinctures. Tinctures are supposed to work quickly; capsules less so, but they are quite...straightforward. And both are very discreet.
posted by kmennie at 11:10 AM on March 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

So, I think the filling part is going to be the big challenge. Because any vaporizer that isn't liquid or oil based is going to require packing that might be hard with neuropathy. The best way to do this I would think would be to get a nice grinder. She can just put the stuff in there, twist it around, and it'll will get broken up and then she can just dump into the vaporizer. Someone could grind a bunch of it for her and leave it in a bag, and if she can grip a spoon she can probably spoon it from the bag into the vaporizer.

I would guess she probably wants a handheld electronic vaporizer. I would suggest the DaVinci, but it's probably a little over $100 in most places. The Vapir NO2 is a little cheaper. Both are really easy to use, portable, small and easy to stick in a drawer. They both have electronic temp displays.

One tricky part is that they both need somewhat frequent cleaning and/or filter replacement. Not a big deal really but might be tough for someone with neuropathy. Someone will probably have to help her clean it every now and again.

This is all based on some guy I know, obviously.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:20 AM on March 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've tried numerous vapes over the years and I've come to the conclusion that easy and cheap don't exist in the same sentence. Just too much difference and too high of a learning curve between how dry the medication is, the temp of the cermanic heating element, and the temp of the THC that you want to smoke.

That being said, I can't recommend it enough - the Ploom Pax ($249.99) according to their website. It is by far the best vap I have ever used and worth every cent in addition to the 10 year warranty on it. Heads up on the warranty, buy directly from Ploom otherwise it's void. The cleaning she will most likely need help with but a pipe cleaner through the holes with some 90/10 isophroyl alcohol works miracles.

I seriously can't recommend it enough if you could afford it. Just set the light to yellow, green, or red - wait until it turns the appropriate color, and medicate.
posted by lpcxa0 at 11:24 AM on March 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also of interest (very big interest, medicinally, I feel; note the "usually means that the ratio of CBD to THC is higher" part)
posted by kmennie at 11:38 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tinctures, as kmennie says, are good. The effects typically set in within 30 minutes to an hour and they're dead simple to make. Grind weed. Bake wrapped in foil in the oven at some low-ish temperature to 'activate' the good stuff. Pour bacardi 151 or (better) everclear over it. Let it stew for a day. Strain.

It's a lot easier to deal with an eyedropper than with the grinding and vaping, the dose is more repeatable, the effects last longer and it's probably more economical (you can make a strong tincture from vape'd pot but can't vape dried tincture leftovers).

I'm sure pills would be even better, though more of a pain to make.

Just be cautious and build up to the correct dose. The downside to eating it is the potential for overdoing it. The one-hour waiting period means people sometimes dose themselves a second time thinking the first time didn't work. Then they're totally zonked until the effects wear off (which as I said, can be a long time for oral consumption).

Or so I'm told.
posted by pjaust at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have and very happily use a Pax Ploom, but I would be slightly hesitant to recommend it in your situation for two reasons.

I imagine it would be a bit tricky to load without fine motor skills.

It needs cleaning fairly regularly in order to function well, and some parts of that require a decent amount of dexterity.

Depending on whether she can clean it out normally when she isnt in pain (I do not know the details of her condition) which one can do the basics of easily with a q-tip, a pipe cleaner, and some rubbing alcohol. If you can make it out there once a month or so to give it a really nice going over and lubricate the fiddly bits (this actually requires a water soluble glycine lubricant) she will have a terrific easy to vaporizer.

Otherwise if you have the cash I suggest getting a volcano, those are expensive (so are the plooms), but they are totally awesome and easy to use.

There is a nice video of care/cleaning instructions for the ploom online if you do a bit of googling.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:12 PM on March 21, 2014

If you can source a hash oil cartridge, then e-cigs might be worth looking into. Just screw in the cartridge and you are fine until the cartridge runs out.

Complicating factors:

1. You have to get the appropriate e-cig to go with the cartridge.
2. Anecdotally speaking (i.e. I haven't seen any studies) the effects are a little weaker than smoking, so it may take more hits to achieve the same effect.
3. the e-cig I have seen used in this capacity has a tiny button, and has to be pushed 5 times in quick succession to turn it on and off - that might be too fiddly for someone with neuropathy. Also, it didn't come with instructions so it was kind of difficult to figure out how exactly to turn it on and off.
4. e-cigs need to be charged occasionally - usually a USB charger - this can also be fiddly.
posted by baniak at 2:32 PM on March 21, 2014

The Arizer Solo has been getting rave reviews from some weed-oriented podcasters. Despite the name it can be passed around. Chargeable (not USB, alas) and very portable around the house, can be taken further, one full charge is about 5-7 dosings. Definitely small enough to hide in a small drawer. Priced at $135 on ebay. One drawback may be that use involves filling the end of a smallish glass tube, but she may be able to finess that by pressing the glass tube end into loose plant material. There are instructional videos on YouTube showing fine points of use.
posted by telstar at 12:54 AM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yo, send me a memail and I'd be glad to come over and teach mom to vape. I'm pretty much pro-am at this point.
posted by klangklangston at 12:53 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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