In a post-prohibition world, consumers have no shortage of ways to ingest cannabis.
Flower will always hold power, and edibles can be both tasty and potent. But in terms of discretion and portability, nothing tops vapes. As you may have heard, though, vaping is probably not the best idea right now, and it's unclear when it might ever feel totally safe to vape again. What's an on-the-go stoner to do?
Enter the cannabis inhaler.
It's precisely what you're imagining—a device shaped like an asthma inhaler, except it contains pre-loaded weed extracts, propellant and the food additive propylene glycol, all of which are harmless when inhaled. With one press of the canister, you get a dose without having to fiddle with heat settings, buttons or batteries. And in terms of discretion, the dosage is aerosolized, so there's nothing to exhale and blow your cover.
A handful of companies in legal states are beginning to market cannabis inhalers, including Oregon's Eos Labs. Its Inspire line comes in three varieties: THC-dominant, CBD-dominant and a 1-to-1 THC-CBD hybrid, referred to respectively as "Mind," "Body" and "Soul." It works in two ways: the initial lung spray and absorption, then the oral effect which takes longer to peak. The manufacturer's recommendation is to take one puff and give it some time before going back for seconds.
Could these pocket-sized canisters represent a way to transition away from vaporizers, even temporarily? On a recent Saturday morning, I decided to find out.
With chores on the horizon, I chose the "Mind" inhaler, which contains mostly THC, with a slight amount of CBD, and is labeled with a strain: Orange Cookies Hybrid. Following the directions on the label, I shook the canister, put my lips to the mouthpiece and pressed once while inhaling.
The sensation is unique—having never used an inhaler for medical reasons, I found the experience markedly different from drawing on a joint or vape pen. The extract tastes slightly metallic and medicinal, and not particularly like the terpenes listed on the ingredient label, but it's not unpleasant on the whole. Without having to exhale, the entire action feels slightly anticlimactic.
Despite the instructions, I took three puffs—at 5 mg per, the dosage is similar to that of most recreational edibles, so I knew I could handle it, though your tolerance may vary.
How I Spent My High
The three puffs didn't hit me immediately, so I set a timer for 45 minutes, the literature's recommended time to wait between doses. In the meantime, I made the bed, vacuumed, did some writing and cleaned the bathroom.
By the time I heard the "ding" signifying the waiting period was up, I'd already started to feel the familiar buzz, and stopped to take a personal inventory. Mood: lifted. Body: functional but loose. Brain: pleasantly cloudy without the full-on fog of a flower buzz. My 15 mg serving was less intense than polishing off an entire joint on my own, but superior to the effects I've obtained from a similar dosage of edibles. Science may or may not agree with my hypothesis, but it seems to me the two-pronged delivery method results in a more robust experience than edibles, which become active only after digestion.
I will be a die-hard flowerhead as long as I live. I enjoy the ritual of smoking on the porch with friends, and handing your buddy an inhaler doesn't have quite the same vibe. But I can imagine availing myself when flower is unavailable or inconvenient—like, say, a windy beach trip.
For those with high tolerance, one or three puffs may not result in a noticeable high. But for occasional imbibers, it's a winner. The Body and Soul varieties would be a gentle introduction to medicating with cannabis for the elderly or otherwise infirm, or someone who may otherwise be leery of classic ingestion methods.
The Bottom Line
For vapers, Inspire is a potential lifesaver—maybe literally. Though it's not identical to taking a drag off a joint or pen, the effects and convenience make it an attractive alternative, especially when you're away from home.