Vaping is not just a fad anymore; it is a common habit. Yet despite the vaping congressman’s best efforts, it hasn’t really become a part of the routine of everyday life. Vaping isn’t a big part of non-Bluetooth headsets carrying Americans’ lives, but it could be in the not-so-distant future. Medical science can make vaporizers as ubiquitous as obsolete thermometers unused in our medicine cabinets.
Currently, many pharmaceutical companies are exploring the use of vaporizers for medical purposes. Vaping could be an effective way to deliver drugs to patent bodies faster, more efficiently, and with less danger than current methods. The reasoning is this: vaporizers deliver drugs faster than pills, which must be digested. Vaping is also less painful than periodic injections.
Most of this work over the past decade has focused on the use of vaporizers to administer medical marijuana. It makes sense when you think about it. As a medicinal substance, cannabis is often prescribed for pain relief and for anxiolytic purposes. And we want to treat these two ailments as quickly as possible. A recent study found a 45 percent reduction in pain intensity just 20 minutes after the first inhalation, with a total duration of about 90 minutes.
But cannabis for pain relief is just one potential vaping application. Another use under investigation is turning a new epilepsy drug into a vaporized form that patients can breathe to prevent the onset of seizures. Alexza Pharmaceuticals just completed a phase IIa study. The results have shown promise in reducing seizures caused by photosensitivity.
But that’s not all good news. A drugmaker has tried to bet that diabetics would prefer insulin through vaping rather than needles. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it did not sell well and the manufacturer of inhalable insulin has lost its contract with pharmaceutical giant Sanofi in January.
It is not out of the question that vaping will become a legitimate medical product in the future. The only sure thing? It will be a long time. The United States Food and Drug Administration tends to take an average of 12 years. For Sanofi to have progressed this far with its inhalable insulin product, it should have started the process ex-pres. George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003. If vaping can really help people fight disease, the FDA will have no choice but to speed up the approval process. In an ideal scenario, we could see doctors prescribing vape-ready drugs by the middle of our next decade.