Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Many states with legal medical marijuana let patients with glaucoma get recommendations. Cannabis medicine relieves eye pressure and protects the optic nerve, reducing glaucoma’s impact. So, it can help people with glaucoma preserve their vision and quality of life.
Smoking and vaporizing — also known as vaping — are two of the most popular ways to medicate with marijuana. Even patients who are new to cannabis typically know about smoking and vaporizing. But, even though they have many similarities, they also have a few key differences. Understanding these differences can help you treat your glaucoma effectively with marijuana.
Inhaling cannabinoids lets you feel their benefits quickly and consistently. Patients who breathe in their medication will experience relief within moments, which makes inhalation a good fit for people with all sorts of conditions.
Smoking marijuana is the most popular way to medicate. The patient can use rolling papers, a pipe or a variety of other tools to smoke cannabis flower. Folks who use marijuana cigarettes can roll their own or purchase pre-rolled products from their dispensary. Those who prefer a pipe can find one at a dispensary, as well.
Not only has vaping tobacco increased in popularity recently, but so has vaping cannabis. A vaporizer uses water and heat to create a vapor out of the oil or dried bud that you can inhale like smoke. Many dispensaries also sell vaping gear.
Despite their similar effects, smoking and vaping each suit patients with different lifestyles and health needs. Smoking medical cannabis has the following perks:
Vaping offers some unique benefits, too, such as:
Each method also has some drawbacks you should think about when deciding. The biggest drawback to smoking marijuana is that it’s harmful to the lungs. Since legal cannabis doesn’t have chemical additives like tobacco does, smoking cannabis is less risky than smoking tobacco. But, just like burning anything, burning marijuana still produces some harmful substances. Patients with asthma and other lung problems shouldn’t smoke cannabis.
However, vaping also has some negative aspects to think about. First, it’s more expensive. Even if you use a cheaper vaporizer, you still have to pay more than you would for rolling papers — at least in the short-term. It can also still cause harm to inexperienced users’ lungs. If you use a low-quality vaporizer or vape incorrectly, you can char your medicine, which creates the same respiratory issues as smoking.
Overall, vaping is healthier than smoking if you can afford the extra cost. But, since smoking cannabis is still safer than smoking tobacco, some patients don’t mind the minor lung irritation that comes with it. Talk with a marijuana-certified doctor for their opinion on each method. The staff at your local dispensary can also help you decide what’s best for you.