• Switzerland's news in English
Swiss boffins create cannabis e-cigarette
File photo: Marcel van Hoorn/AFP

Swiss boffins create cannabis e-cigarette

AFP/The Local · 27 May 2016, 08:25

Published: 27 May 2016 08:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Therapeutic cannavaping", they argued, should be examined as an alternative to existing medical treatments which can come in the form of a syrup, pill, mouth spray, skin patch, suppository, or a plain-old spliff.
The team copied an improvised method popular among marijuana afficionados using butane gas to extract and concentrate cannabinoids -- the active, high-causing compounds of cannabis.
"We were inspired by what is done illegally, underground, on the web fora," study co-author Vincent Varlet, a biochemist and toxicologist from the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne, told AFP.
"Normally, they use this form of cannabinoids to get high. Based on what is done illegally, we found that it could be interesting" for the medical field.

The method yields super-concentrated "dabs" of butane hash oil (BHO) comprising about 70-80 percent THCa, the precursor of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive ingredient. THCa is transformed into THC at high heat.
Usually the dabs are burnt and the fumes inhaled. But for the study, the team mixed their activated BHO paste into commercially-available e-cigarette liquid at different concentrations -- three, five or ten percent.
They then put "vaping machines" to work: sucking at the e-cigarettes and blowing out vapour, which was measured for its THC content, according to results published in the nature journal Scientific Reports.
"Cannavaping appears to be a gentle, efficient, user-friendly and safe alternative method for cannabis smoking for medical cannabis delivery," the team concluded with a nod to "the creativity of cannabis users".
It was also more reliable than consuming cannabinoid pills or foods which are poorly and erratically absorbed, said Varlet.

Safer pain relief?
Battery-powered e-cigarettes heat up liquids containing artificial flavourings, with or without nicotine, to release a vapour which is inhaled and exhaled much like smoke.
They are touted as safer than the real thing, and an aide for giving up cancer-causing tobacco -- which is also an ingredient of the traditional cannabis joint.

Cannabis-infused e-liquids are advertised online, along with a rash of recipes for making your own.
Medical marijuana can be legally prescribed in some countries for pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea reduction or the relief of muscle spasms.
A challenge, said Varlet, was to keep cannabis intended for therapeutic use out of the hands of recreational high-seekers.
One way to do that was to have legal drugs with microdoses of cannabinoids.
"We have calculated that to have the same dose of what is present in a real cigarette joint... with tobacco, we have to vape between 80-90 puffs" of the 10-percent BHO liquid, said Varlet.
"Eighty puffs constitutes a rebuttal to getting high," he added, when a few drags from a joint will do.
"The take-home message of our article is that vaping is less harmful than smoking, so you can be sure that cannavaping is less harmful than cannabis smoking for medical purposes," said Varlet, adding there was no plan to patent or sell the product.
"Today, we have set the cat among the pigeons. This is just the first step, and we need to see how the scientific community is going to welcome this kind of possibility."

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available