Article by John Hamilton, Cannabis Life Network
Medical cannabis has come a long way from the simple days of the “marijuana cigarette”. With the industry expanding and diversifying in order to meet the needs of consumers, it’s not just the strains that are becoming increasingly diverse. Consumers and industry professionals are constantly seeking newer, cleaner and more specialized ways to consume medical cannabis. The heaps of options may seem overwhelming at first, but we’re here to help guide you through some of the best.
1. EAT (OR DRINK) YOUR DOSE:
Not everyone is into the whole smoking thing. Smoking is relatively wasteful, indiscreet, and some patients have respiratory issues and find that smoking is just not a viable option for taking their medicine. Edibles are among the simplest alternatives—indeed, cannabis-infused food and drink have been prepared and consumed in India and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Cannabinoids (the medically-relevant chemical compounds in cannabis) are soluble in heated oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil. Once cannabinoids have been extracted through heating, plant material is often strained out, and this cannabis-infused oil can be included in virtually any food or drink recipe. When consumed, cannabinoids are absorbed through the liver. Compared to smoking, the effects of edibles take somewhat longer to become apparent, but are generally stronger and longer-lasting.
Baked goods are the most popular form of edible, due largely to the ease with which cannabis oil can be integrated into their recipes, but also due to history and culture (“pot brownie” is almost always the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of edibles). As the industry develops, however, we are seeing increasingly diverse offerings, ranging from chocolates and taffies to soda pop.
2. VAPORIZE FLOWER:
For those looking for a faster-acting method, vaporizing might be the answer. Vaporizing is similar to smoking in that cannabinoids are stimulated with heat, but instead of burning, vaporizing simply involves heating plant material to temperatures where medicinal effects can be achieved without combustion. This results in a much smoother and softer inhalation, without the harshness and pain sometimes attributed to inhaling burned organic material. Vaporizing may feel gentler on the lungs, but there is actually little scientific evidence confirming that smoking marijuana flower is inherently unhealthy per se. The “healthy” reputation of vaporizing has been established by consumers who, having experienced this milder method, reasonably assume that it is a healthier alternative. In all likelihood, they’re probably right.
Vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes. Older models (such as the pyramid) are bulky, costly, and generally not very portable. Recent years have seen considerable shrinking of the technology, resulting in smaller devices, such as vape pens. These new vaporizers allow consumers to vaporize their cannabis on-the-go, with a contraption that doesn’t require much more pocket space than a joint and Bic lighter.
3. RUB-ON MEDICAL CANNABIS?:
A very interesting application of cannabis is through topical creams. Unlike the overwhelming majority of consumption methods, topical creams are applied externally, to the outside of the body. This provides a uniquely focused effect, with the consumer being able to target as small or large an area as desired, without the full-body effects that result from most other methods.