Because of the associated health and odor concerns with smoking cannabis, vaporizing cannabis is Health Canada’s preferred mode of inhalation for medical cannabis users. Canada’s Licensed Producers, the only entities who are currently legally selling cannabis there, are only able to sell dry flower products and some tinctures, so smoking is one of the only ways a patient can consume their medicine “straight from the box”.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s been a rush on dry herb vaporizers in Canada because more education must take place. What most patients are told by their doctor is that vaporizing, like smoking, is the fastest delivery method for the active cannabinoids. Pain relief can be delivered to the patient in a matter of minutes.  This immediate effect can help patients micro-dose (aka “go low and slow”) until they decide on the dosage that suits them. This quick and safe delivery method works faster than oils, which are also prescribed for some medical marijuana patients in Canada but take up to two hours to start working. Patients who suffer sudden anxiety or nausea, for instance, can treat their symptoms faster and with longer-lasting results than with cannabis oil.

Canadian patients are being introduced now to a variety of dry herb vaporizers, made to suit their needs. The two top of the line desktop units on the market are Volcano and Herbalizer. The Volcano Medic is an approved medical device by Health Canada; Herbalizer is waiting for theirs. This approval is important to patients because they can submit the cost of their vaporizer unit to their insurance company for reimbursement. Both these units come with a vapor bag, whip, and fan assist that add to lower external odors and can make inhalation easier. The fan assist is an excellent feature for patients who have weak lungs with poor capacity—no more resistance during deep tokes, just normal breathing.

Hand-held devices like the PAX 3 are beloved for their economy, efficiency and discretion; it’s no wonder they are the preferred method for Canadian patients seeking a consistent mode of taking their medicine. It’s a small investment but it seems to be worth it. The price of a unit is a stretch compared to a single pack of papers and a lighter but, let’s face it, it’s never just one book of paper and one lighter.