If you're a cannabis enthusiast, you may have heard of heat-not-burn (HNB) products as a potentially less harmful alternative to smoking traditional combustible products. HNB technology uses heat to vaporize the active compounds in cannabis, rather than burning it like a joint or a blunt.
However, you may be wondering whether these products are backed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and if they are a safe option for consumption. In this blog post, we'll explore what HNB technology is, the FDA's stance on it, and what you should consider before trying it out.
What is Heat-Not-Burn Technology?
Heat-not-burn (HNB) technology is a method of consuming tobacco or other plant material that uses controlled heat to release the active compounds, rather than burning it. With traditional smoking methods, the combustion of plant material releases a variety of harmful chemicals, including tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxins, which can be harmful to the user's health.
HNB products typically use a device that heats the tobacco or plant material to a temperature below the point of combustion, releasing a vapor that the user inhales. This process is thought to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are produced and inhaled, making it a potentially less harmful alternative to traditional smoking methods.
Are Heat-Not-Burn Products Approved By the FDA?
The FDA views heat not burn (HNB) products as a potentially less harmful alternative to traditional combustible tobacco products, such as cigarettes. The agency recognizes that HNB products heat tobacco at lower temperatures than cigarettes, which can reduce the formation and release of harmful chemicals that are produced by combustion.
However, the FDA also notes that the long-term health effects of HNB products are not yet fully understood, and that there are still risks associated with using these products. Additionally, the FDA has emphasized that HNB products are not safe for everyone, and that they should not be used by non-smokers or by individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
To ensure that HNB products are marketed and sold in a manner that is consistent with public health goals, the FDA has established regulatory requirements for these products. Tobacco HNB products must receive premarket authorization from the FDA before they can be sold in the United States, and manufacturers must provide scientific evidence to demonstrate that the products are appropriate for the protection of public health.
Heat-Not-Burn Without the Tobacco
Heat-not-burn technology has proved to be successful in the tobacco industry, and it is slowly starting to show it could be a star in the cannabis/hemp space as well. Seeing the benefits heat-not-burn technology brought to tobacco made manufacturers curious to see how the technology could work with a different type of flower as well.
Applying the technology to cannabis and hemp offers several benefits over traditional consumption methods. By heating the plant material to a temperature that vaporizes without burning it, users can inhale a cleaner, smoother vapor that is free of the harmful toxins and carcinogens found in smoking a joint or bong.
Furthermore, heat-not-burn technology uses the optimal temperature to release the full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids present in whole flower, providing a more complete and nuanced experience of the plant's effects. So not only are users receiving a more flavorful hit, but they are also experiencing the maximum benefits of the plant. It seems the benefits of pairing cannabis and hemp flower with heat-not-burn technology could be a better alternative to the tobacco and nicotine products that are ubiquitous on the current market.
Innovations in Flower Consumption
Bringing heat-not-burn technology to cannabis and hemp flower is not as simple as slapping a new label on a tobacco heat-not-burn device. Manufacturers, like E1011 Labs, needed to create their own, unique devices made specifically for these types of flowers.
After many years of research and development, E1011 Labs was able to bring the first commercialized heat-not-burn product to the market for hemp and infused flower. The device, known as the elon®, utilizes heat-not-burn technology to bring a new form of consumption to the cannabis industry. The company even breaks away from the traditional grinding and packing model by offering pre-filled and predosed flower pods known as stelo™ and Ari53™.
As heat-not-burn technology continues to advance, the consumer market could see more and more of these devices hitting the shelves and popping up on their favorite vape supply sites. While the future of flower is still looking hazy, this new technology may see traditional consumption methods going up in smoke.