Methods of Administering Medical Marijuana
July 28, 2015
The number of methods of administration for cannabis can be daunting to patients who are new to the medication, but the availability of various methods of administration helps set medical marijuana apart from traditional pharmaceuticals. Each administration method can be used for different condition or desired effect.
Smoking is the traditional method of marijuana administration. Different strains can be chosen based on the desired outcome, but all products, when smoked, provide an almost immediate effect. Due to the quick onset, it is easy to control the dosing when marijuana is smoked because the patients are able to feel the effect quickly and adjust dosing accordingly. There are some concerns that have been sparked about smoking, due to the potential negative effects on the respiratory system when any product is smoked. This concern can be decreased when patients use high potency products so less smoking is necessary to get the desired benefits of the medication.
Vaporization has quickly gained traction as a healthy alternative to smoking marijuana. Vaporizing is less harmful than smoking because there are less byproducts due to the lower temperature used in the vaporizer. Vaporization provides the same quick relief as smoking because the product can enter the blood stream quickly. Vaporization is similar to the administration of an inhaler. Both smoking and vaporization are good options for patients who need instant relief from issues such as pain from PMS, chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, and many other conditions.
Cannabis oils and tinctures are concentrates of marijuana that can either be added to products, such as food or drink, or be consumed on their own. Some oils are added to pill capsules and are swallowed like traditional medication. Quality is very important in concentrates, particularly in oils. Until recently, methods for oil extraction often contaminated the oils with harmful products. Now the cleanest method of oil extraction uses CO2, which results in a pure cannabis oil product. Oils tend to be the method used to give high CBD medications to people with conditions like epilepsy because they can be very accurately dosed if they are properly made. Tinctures, a concentration made with an alcohol base, tends to be slightly less potent than oils. Tinctures and oils can be helpful for quick relief, accurate dosing, and to get the medication more directly to the gastrointestinal tract without consuming an edible.
Edibles can be a tricky method of administration for medical cannabis. It can be as long as one to two hours after consumption for the effects of a edible to be felt. Due to the slow onset time, and inaccurate labeling of products, edibles can be very hard to dose. Most edibles do not contain the percentage of THC/CDB that is listed on the package, so edibles should be dosed in small amounts and patients should be cautious about consuming more of the edible if they do not feel effects as rapidly as they expect. Edibles, however, do tend to have longer lasting effects than other administration methods. Edibles are often used for people with loss of appetite in Cancer, Anorexia, or AIDS to promote appetite.
Topicals are one of the lesser known forms of medical marijuana on the market, but they are very helpful for people with inflammation and pain. Topicals are absolutely free from any physco-active properties, making them a great choice for first time users. Topical products allow people to experience the pain relief from cannabis without the potential side effects of ingesting too much of a cannabis product. Topicals are particular helpful for people who have Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, or similar pain issues.