Advancements in technology have often brought improvements and refinements to existing processes and procedures. Just as computing advanced our ability to perform complex calculations and the wheel allowed us to travel more effectively, vaporizers have improved the ability of medicinal marijuana users to receive the cannabinoids more efficiently than smoking.

While vaping has been around in rudimentary forms since the classical era, modern vaporizers started appearing in simple designs in the ‘70s with a device called the Tilt, says Canada’s Medicinal Marijuana Association. This was later banned, but followed up by Eagle Bill Amato’s “Shake and Vake,” a device that directed users to apply flame to the bottom of a glass bowl to vaporize the substances contained within. Hundreds have devices have some out in the more than two decades since, and vaporizing has now become a highly efficient and popular method of ingesting cannabis.

Vaping is not only popular, though, it’s also more effective. In 2003, NORML and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies conducted a study that showed that when using consistent products and similar exposure conditions, vaporizing was almost twice as effective at producing THC content in the inhalable product. The study reported approximately 46 percent of the plant product’s THC was converted into vapor during the study versus as little as 25 percent in the combustion sample, with much of the THC produced lost to uninhaled smoke created from the burning material.

While this study is still the subject of some debate, researchers across the board do agree that vaporizing does offer another significant advantage – a cleaner inhaled product. Numerous studies have shown that vaporized cannabis contains significantly lower levels of harmful toxins than burned plant material. Carbon monoxide, in particular, was reported at a higher level with combustion. Tar and other carcinogens are also produced during combustion – albeit at a significantly lower level than smoking cigarettes, for example – but vaporized products lack these entirely.

As more research continues to further outline the concrete benefits of vaporizing, additional data is expected to provide a clearer picture for users. While many users already appreciate the cleaner experience that vaporizer pens and dry herb vaporizers provide, further findings should hopefully clear the air around this increasingly popular option for medicinal and recreational users alike.