By Claudia Pinto
Daily Progress staff writer Tuesday, May 11, 2004
J Pharm Sci. 2006 Apr 24; [Epub ahead of print]
of a vaporizing device (Volcano(R)) for the pulmonary
Hazekamp A, Ruhaak R, Zuurman L, van Gerven J,
Division of Pharmacognosy, Institute of Biology,
Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.
What is currently
needed for optimal use of medicinal cannabinoids is a feasible,
nonsmoked, rapid-onset delivery system. Cannabis "vaporization" is a
technique aimed at suppressing irritating respiratory toxins by
heating cannabis to a temperature where active cannabinoid vapors form,
but below the point of combustion where smoke and associated toxins are
produced. The goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of the
Volcano vaporizer in terms of reproducible delivery of the bioactive
cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by using pure cannabinoid
preparations, so that it could be used in a clinical trial. By changing
parameters such as temperature setting, type of evaporation sample
and balloon volume, the vaporization of THC was systematically improved
to its maximum, while preventing the formation of breakdown products of
THC, such as cannabinol or delta-8-THC. Inter- and intra-device
variability was tested as well as relationship between loaded- and
delivered dose. It was found that an average of about 54% of loaded THC
was delivered into the balloon of the vaporizer, in a reproducible
manner. When the vaporizer was used for clinical administration of
inhaled THC, it was found that on average 35% of inhaled THC was directly
exhaled again. Our results show that with the Volcano a safe and
effective cannabinoid delivery system seems to be available to patients.
The final pulmonal uptake of THC is comparable to the smoking of
cannabis, while avoiding the respiratory disadvantages of smoking.
2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the
American Pharmacists Association
Sci 95:1308-1317, 2006.