cannabis inhaler

Are Inhalers Safe and Effective for Chronic Pain Patients?

Medical cannabis can be consumed via a number of delivery methods. The most common ones are through smoke inhalation, vapor inhalation, the application of topicals, and edibles.

Each delivery method provides its own unique benefits along with standard wellness benefits that come with every form of cannabis consumption.

The needs of medical cannabis patients vary, so not every consumption method is desirable to every patient.

Fortunately, a new spin on an old consumption method is gaining traction and becoming more widely available, and according to a recent study, it can be effective at treating chronic pain.

Clinical Study In Israel Involving Inhalers

Inhaling cannabis is a very old consumption method, even in vapor form. Inhaler devices have been around for a number of years.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that cannabis inhalers became available to medical cannabis patients.

A team of researchers in Israel recently conducted a clinical trial involving cannabis inhalers and chronic pain patients to assess the effectiveness of cannabis inhalers as a treatment for chronic pain.

The clinical trial involved 27 chronic pain patients, with some of them being supplied placebos and some being provided inhalers that contained cannabis. 

Among the participants that received cannabis inhalers, some received one dose and others received a higher dose.

“Both doses, but not the placebo, demonstrated a significant reduction in pain intensity compared with baseline and remained stable for 150-minutes. The 1mg dose showed a significant pain decrease compared to the placebo. Adverse events were mostly mild and resolved spontaneously. There was no evidence of consistent impairments in cognitive performance.” stated the researchers.

The study’s authors went on to say, “This feasibility trial demonstrated that a metered-dose cannabis inhaler delivered precise and low THC doses [that] produced a dose-dependent and safe analgesic effect in patients with neuropathic pain/complex-regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Thus, it enables individualization of medical cannabis regimens that can be evaluated pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically by accepted pharmaceutical models.”

An Evolving Technology

Currently, there are a number of medical cannabis inhalers on the market. Presumably, some of them are better than others.

Inhaler devices themselves may have been around for a long time, however, cannabis-specific ones are a relatively new thing.

The cannabis plant is unique in a lot of ways, and a lot of factors are at play when it comes to adapting inhalers to deliver specific, effective doses of cannabis.

Safety is obviously a concern. So is proper dosage. Producing a quality product at an affordable price is a factor too.

As time goes by, cannabis inhalers will improve and become more common among the medical cannabis patient community, especially among patients that are used to using other types of non-cannabis inhalers. It’s absolutely an evolving technology to keep an eye on.


  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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