As a patient, you don’t have to smoke your medical cannabis. This article provides information on smoke-less methods of consuming cannabis that are much healthier and safer for you.
Medical cannabis is widely available as “dried flower” – which is cannabis plant matter that has been cured, dried and is ready to be consumed. Typically, what happens next is that dried flower is broken up into smaller bits and smoked via rolling papers or other methods.
However, medical patients don’t need to smoke their cannabis to consume it. The act of smoking cannabis, whether through pipes, rolling papers, or other accessories, can be painful and unhealthy. The situation is even direr for new medical cannabis patients since they’re mostly unfamiliar and inexperienced with smoke inhalation.
This article aims to inform and provide alternative smoke-free consumption options for medical cannabis patients.
In an effort to cater to different patient preferences, the cannabis industry has innovated several forms of cannabis that include: vegan gel capsules, cannabis oils, oral sprays, topicals, edibles, and extracts. Here are safer and healthier ways to consume cannabis.
1. Medical Cannabis Oils
Medical cannabis patients looking for a smooth, unobtrusive delivery method to consume cannabis need not look any further than cannabis oils, extracts, and tinctures. Cannabis oil is an extracted liquid form of cannabis that is synthesized from raw cannabis plant material through a chemical extraction process. This process retains and preserves all of the essential compounds such as THC, CBD, terpenes and other active cannabinoids. It is one of the most popular forms of cannabis consumption among medical patients.
How to Consume Medical Cannabis Oil
Consuming cannabis oil is a very straight-forward process. It involves using a droplet to apply desired doses sublingually, or under the tongue. Since it is being absorbed by the mucous membrane under the tongue and therefore has a more direct path to the bloodstream, the effects of cannabis oil kick in relatively quickly (taking 5 to 30 minutes and lasting up to 12 hours).
It is worth noting that medical cannabis patients do not have to apply doses sublingually. Cannabis oil will still absorb through the lining of the mouth or on top of the tongue. An application under the tongue is simply the quickest path to absorption. Medical cannabis patients should begin with small doses to find the amount that works best for them.
Advantages of Medical Cannabis Oil
Depending on medical patient needs, cannabis oils, cannabis extracts, and tinctures come in a variety of THC and CBD concentrations. Health Canada regulations and quality control monitoring ensure that doses are accurate, consistent, and precise.
The nature of cannabis oil extract lends itself to longevity. It’s possible to preserve cannabis extracts for many years as long as patients keep them stored in a cool, dark location. For its convenience and ability to allow accurate dosing, cannabis oils and tinctures are a perfect entry point for first-time cannabis patients that are interested in smoke-free alternatives.
2. Medical Cannabis Oral Spray
If operating a tincture droplet is too complicated or cumbersome, medical cannabis patients can skip the hassle and instead opt to use oral cannabis sprays. Dosing is a very straight-forward process. Pressing down on the top nozzle will administer a single spray/dose. The inside of the mouth and tongue absorb the resulting cannabis solution. This consumption delivery method is rapid and is a popular option for users who prefer discretion as well as simplicity.
Similar to the onset time of ingesting cannabis oil, the onset effects of oral sprays are expected to kick in from 30 minutes to an hour and last up to 12 hours. Always remember to check the appropriate dosing specifications for each spray use.
3. Cooking with Cannabis
Another added advantage to cannabis oils and tinctures is versatility. If medical cannabis patients don’t wish to apply it orally, they can add cannabis oil in their food. Cannabis oil can be used to infuse food, drinks, and smoothies.
When ingesting cannabis-infused meals and drinks, medical cannabis users should keep in mind that ingesting cannabis in this way will delay the onset of effects. The digestive system will take some time processing it. As such, results could take between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to register and can last up to 12 hours.
4. Medical Cannabis Gel Capsules
Cannabis capsules are simplicity personified. For medical cannabis patients who don’t like using cannabis oils due to taste or inconvenience, cannabis capsules are a perfect and hassle-free solution. The convenient pill form allows users to measure their dosage accurately as well as being a quick and discrete form of ingestion. Capsule bottles can be kept at room temperature, and the lids are child-proof. Also, cannabis gel caps are widely available in vegan options that do not contain animal products. With cannabis pills, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 1 hour for the onset effects to be felt and can last up to 12 hours.
5. Vaporizing Medical Cannabis
First, it’s crucial to clarify that vaporizing is not the same as smoking. Smoking uses the combustion method of direct heat that releases harmful carcinogens and toxins, whereas vaporizers utilize a much cleaner chemical process of convection.
So how exactly does a cannabis vaporizer work? A vaporizer uses indirect heat to extract active cannabinoids from dry flower cannabis. A convection oven uses the same principle to heat up food. The resulting cannabinoid-rich vapour is what users inhale. Since this delivery system does not involve directly burning cannabis, vaporizers offer significant health benefits over their combustion-based cousins.
Vaporizing vs. Smoking
The technology of vaporizers has come a long way since bulky, desktop-stranded devices. Now, they are sleek, portable, and compact accessories that are easy to clean, maintain, and operate. The number one health benefit is that medical cannabis patients will not be inhaling harmful byproducts released during smoking. Also, the traditional combustive method of smoking cannabis destroys much of the flavour of cannabis and also produces second-hand smoke as well as a very noticeable resulting odour.
With vaporizing, users can notice and appreciate a fuller taste profile. Also, since the result is vapour, it dissipates very quickly, and there won’t be the overpowering, lingering smell.
The portable nature of vaporizers also makes it a discreet and user-friendly way of cannabis ingestion. Also, the onset effects of using a vaporizer are very quick, only taking seconds to a few minutes to register and can last up to 6 hours.
The Final Word
Change is a natural form of progression. The days of smoking cannabis exclusively with water pipes and rolling papers are the ways of the past. We are now at a point in time where science, education, and thoughtful human ingenuity have joined together to give medical patients access to cannabis in unprecedented ways. The nascent medical cannabis industry in Canada is still considered uncharted territory by some. New and safe cannabis consumption methods are steps in the right direction.