As the global medicinal cannabis industry continues to grow, dry herb and cartridge based vaporisers are becoming more and more popular as a method of administering medication. Here in New Zealand, the regulations set by the Ministry of Health state that so long as a dry-herb or cartridge vaporiser is approved by an overseas regulator as a medical device, it can be legally imported, sold, and owned here in New Zealand. More information on the current legislation in NZ can be found on the Ministry of Health website, following the link below:
Soon, Medicinal cannabis flower will soon be available via prescription from your doctor. One of the only methods of administering the medication will be via inhalation, specifically excluding smoking. The inhalation method involves heating the medication using a dry-herb vaporiser, to a temperature that produces a vapor containing the desired cannabinoids. This vapor is then inhaled by the patient and onset of effects will soon follow. Vaporising cannabis using a dry-herb vaporiser is inherently safer, healthier, and more efficient than smoking. Evidence of this can be found in the studies below:
- No smoke, no fire: What the initial literature suggests regarding vapourized cannabis and respiratory risk
- Vaping cannabis produces stronger effects than smoking cannabis for infrequent users
- A Qualitative Analysis of Cannabis Vaporization among Medical Users
So, what dry herb vaporisers can be purchased in New Zealand, and what are the difference between the dry herb vaporisers and cartridge vaporisers?
A dry-herb vaporiser is designed to be used with ground, dried cannabis flower. While the heating mechanisms used to vaporise the dry herb can vary across different devices and manufacturers, the basic concept remains the same. The dried herb is heated in a chamber to a temperature above 160 degrees Celsius at which point the cannabinoids can be inhaled in vapor form.
The dry herb vaporisers that are classed as medical devices in New Zealand are:
A cartridge vaporiser utilises pods that come pre-filled with medication. Normally these cartridges are filled with a cannabis extract in liquid form and are not cross compatible with other devices. While some cartridge vaporisers can be imported and sold in New Zealand under the medical device regime, the pre-filled cartridges that are used with them do not yet meet the minimum quality standards set by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency and therefore cannot be prescribed or sold.
Some studies commissioned by third parties to explore the efficacy and safety of the Storz & Bickel Medical Device range can be found below: