How We Stopped Worrying and Started Inhaling - OZY | A Modern Media Company

How We Stopped Worrying and Started Inhaling

How We Stopped Worrying and Started Inhaling

By Eugene S. Robinson

Inhaling marijuana vapor in Tacoma, Washington


Because turning solid matter into breathable mist seems kinda…magical.

By Eugene S. Robinson

Watching the pendulum swing from “smoking but not inhaling” to ”not smoking but inhaling” has been a dizzying trip. Welcome to the dawning age of the vaporizer. 

There were serious academic studies of how to vaporize THC as early as 1991, since delivering pain relief as quickly and effortlessly as possible tends to motivate innovation. However, the widespread fervor for this delivery medium didn’t hit the general public until 2006, and it didn’t develop a full head of steam until, um, now, when almost anything that can be vaporized is being vaporized. 

People are now routinely inhaling insulin, booze, coffee, weed and chocolate, fer chrissakes. 

There are vaporizers for the aforementioned THC and the weed it’s drawn from, vaporizers for insulin to treat diabetics, vaporizers for booze (the vaportini, anyone?), even vaporizers for chocolate and coffee. And there’s a host of vaporizing gadgets, like the increasingly popular, stealthy vapor pen — if you need a buying guide, look no further than High Times.

But the health effects of vaporizing are a decidedly mixed bag, since it turns out the liver is pretty useful for metabolizing things slowly; the lungs, not so much. In the case of booze or coffee, we get an immediate dose of the ethanol that gets us drunk, or the caffeine that keeps us up. Consider how soon and how much you might get drunk if you could consume a fifth of vaporized vodka in as long as it takes you to breath in that much air. To wit: super drunk.

That hasn’t stopped vaporizers, the resurgence of vapor bars (after the ill-fated attempt at oxygen bars back in the late ’90s) or the blazing popularity of “vaping” instead of smoking your daily pack of cigs. A host of folks are completely OK with replacing the sensual sipping of coffee with a vaporized whiff of caffeine. But since the proof is in the tasting, or in the huffing as the case may be, OZY decided to try out some tasty and delicious coffee air.

The results? Distinctly edgy, without the calming illusion of sipping a cup of coffee. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready to go all misty: For now we’re sticking with old-school liquid, thank you very much.


Sign up for the weekly newsletter!

Related Stories