State law prohibits smoking medical cannabis here in Utah. It is okay to dry heat cannabis in a specialized vaporizer because no combustion is involved. Likewise, vaping is also allowed. There are some very good reasons our medical cannabis program doesn’t allow smoking, not the least of which is the harmful effects of breathing in cannabis smoke.
All of that said, we thought it might be helpful to let our readers in on a few things about cannabis smoke they might not know. A little bit of knowledge might help explain why state lawmakers felt it best to not include smoking on the list of legal delivery methods for medical marijuana in Utah.
Smoke Contains Particulate Matter
We have known for decades that tobacco smoke contains significant particulate matter. What is particulate matter? The simplest way to understand it is to describe it as chemical particles floating in the air. Many of those chemicals are toxic. Others, while not necessarily toxic, still aren’t good for human health.
It turns out that cannabis smoke has its own particulate matter to worry about. According to a 2022 study out of the University of California, Berkeley, secondhand cannabis smoke contains “several hundred toxic chemicals, carcinogens, and fine particular matter.” Even more alarming is the fact that the concentrations of some of them are higher than those found in tobacco smoke.
If secondhand cannabis smoke contains so much dangerous particulate matter, what does that say about firsthand smoke? We’ll leave that for you to decide.
Secondhand Smoke Can Intoxicate
There is always a concern with secondhand tobacco smoke that it will negatively impact other people in the same general vicinity as active smokers. What about secondhand cannabis smoke? We have already discussed the particulate matter, so let’s move on to intoxication. Simply put, people exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke can become intoxicated.
A John Hopkins study conducted back in 2014 looked at 12 individuals placed in a sealed room for a number of 1-hour sessions. Half the group smoked marijuana and the other half did not. The first two sessions offered no ventilation. The smoking group was given two different doses of THC in their marijuana between the two sessions.
The third session involved ventilating the space with a system that mimicked a typical residential air conditioning system. The THC dosage in that third session was identical to the dosage in the second sealed session. When all was said and done, the researchers discovered that the non-smoking group experienced intoxication from secondhand cannabis smoke during the first two sessions. They didn’t experience intoxication as a result of the third session.
Smoke Is Pretty Much Smoke
Additional studies have produced results similar to the two studies mentioned in this post. They all point to the simple fact that smoke is pretty much smoke no matter its source. Inhaling it is just not good for the human body no matter how you cut it. Could that be why lawmakers decided to exclude smoking from the available delivery methods in Utah? It sounds like a pretty safe bet.
Fortunately, medical cannabis patients in Utah have plenty of other choices. You can find all of them at our Utah cannabis pharmacies. We offer cannabis flower, vape cartridges, gummies, tinctures, and more.
We encourage you to work with your medical provider and our pharmacist to determine the best delivery method and dosage for you. You’re sure to find something that provides the kind of relief you expect from medical cannabis. We are confident you can find relief even if you can’t smoke.