Vaporized marijuana a hit with health-conscious upper-class

Smoking weed is so 2013. 

In a world of #cleaneats and aerial yoga, even the tobacco and marijuana industries are hooked on health… or, at least, their version of it. 

The e-cigarette craze hit the masses first, hooking a whole new audience, many of them teens, as a “harmless” alternative to smoking. Vaporized weed, unsurprisingly, wasn’t far behind.

The VapeXhale, an electronic vaporizer “used to extract active ingredients from plant materials,” heats cannabis leaves to between 356 and 392 degrees, where they reach a gaseous state without ever setting fire, according to the product’s website. The company claims the result is a safe, flavorful experience.

At $449.99 to $750 a pop, the VapeXhale has mostly penetrated upper-class stoner circles, but Mashable reports that 33 percent of reviewers on Leafly, the “Yelp of the cannabis industry,” are trading in their smoking habits in favor of vaporizing.

And in the world of vaporizers, VapeXhale is king. It has won three High Times Cannabis/Medical Cups (yes that’s a thing) for Best Product, and the company was able to raise more than $140,000 via crowd funding to launch their latest model, the VapeXhale Cloud EVO.

But is vaporization actually better for you? Like e-cigarettes, the absence (or at least vast reduction of) potentially cancer-causing toxins does make it superior by health standards, though other risks associated with heavy marijuana use are the same.

“A smokeless cannabis-vaporizing device delivers the same level of active therapeutic chemical and produces the same biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins,” according to a University of California San Francisco study published by Science Daily back in 2007.

And while the patients involved in the study rated their highs from smoking and vaporizing the same, a “significant majority” preferred the newer method.

But vaporizing marijuana does not protect from the psychological problems attributed to heavy use, making it just another issue for debate in the ongoing battle over the drug’s pros and cons, and legal status– medical marijuana has now been OK’d in 20 states and Washington, D.C. (New York isn’t one of them).

VaporXhale CEO Seibo Shen recently told Fox Business his product, more than 1,000 of which have been sold since November, is intended for medicinal use, but he doesn’t ignore the fact that some customers are likely using it for recreation.

“At the end of the day you will have people who abuse prescription drugs or anything else,” Shen says, “but our thought process is if you are a medicinal user or a recreational user or someone that’s abusing it, at least there’s a healthier way to use it.”