When it comes to consuming cannabis, most people probably have images of hippies puffing away on and sharing a joint, pipe, or bong. But the fact is there are many, many different ways to consume medical cannabis. And the list of different ways to consume medical marijuana keeps getting longer.
And because everyone is different, there is no right or wrong way to consume medical marijuana. You get to decide what works best for you!
Before you decide which option is best for you, it’s a good idea to make yourself familiar with the most popular methods and to see what the benefits and challenges are.
Smoking Medical Cannabis
Smoking is the most popular way of consuming medical marijuana. It’s a fast, easy way to get the benefits of medical marijuana. You simply pack a small amount of dried cannabis flower into a pipe, water pipe, or rolling paper. Light it and enjoy!
- Benefits: Smoking medical marijuana delivers relief within minutes. It’s also fairly easy to regulate the dosage when you’re using rolling paper, pipe, or bong.
- Challenges: Not everyone likes to smoke, enjoys the smell of marijuana, or likes to smell like marijuana. On top of that, smoke can be harmful to the lungs. And those with cardiopulmonary conditions will be precluded from smoking. Also, in many provinces, you cannot smoke in public places, which can make smoking medical marijuana a less than convenient way to consume cannabis.
Vaping Medical Cannabis
Vaporizing, or “vaping”, is a close second when it comes to the most popular ways to consume medical marijuana. Vaping involves heating a vaporizer to a recommended temperature and inserting a small amount of cannabis flower or extract into the vaporizer. Once the medical cannabis is heated up, you push a button and inhale the vapor—similar to the way you might smoke a joint.
Vaporizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from home table-top units to small, pocket sized pens.
- Benefits: Like smoking, vaping delivers relief within minutes. But because you aren’t inhaling smoke, it’s not harsh on your lungs. Another benefit is that you don’t end up smelling as much as you would if you smoked it.
- Challenges: Vaping units can be expensive. They also use batteries which need to be replaced and they need time to warm up. Vape pens are convenient, pop them in your pocket or purse and off you go, But larger units mean you can only vape at home, or wherever you set it up.
Medical marijuana edibles have been around for a long time and have come a long way. In addition to buying medical marijuana cookies and gummies, you can also buy a variety of other medical marijuana edibles.
Thanks to the growth of the edibles industry, you can’t even tell that what you’re eating contains cannabis.
- Benefits: One of the biggest benefits of medical marijuana edibles is that they’re an excellent alternative for people who don’t like to inhale or smoke. Another joy of edibles is that there is an almost endless variety of choices. And they all can provide long-lasting relief.
- Challenges: While the dosages of medical marijuana edibles is precise, it can take a while to feel the effects. If you smoke or vape, it might only take 10 minutes, with edibles it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or longer to kick in. Due to the delayed onset, edibles are notorious for causing patients to take more than needed and become anxious. To prevent this, Health Canada has limited the THC content of any edible to 10 mg per package. This can make using edibles challenging if you require a higher dose, but it will also ensure you don’t have a bad trip.
A medical marijuana tincture is a concentrated extract that is made by soaking the flowers and leaves in an alcohol, glycerine, or coconut oil. Using a dropper or spray, you can put it under your tongue, add it to food, or drinks, or even apply it to your skin.
- Benefits: Tinctures are easy to use and apply and don’t hurt the lungs like inhaling medical cannabis. The taste is also mild which makes it a great option for people who dislike the taste of cannabis.
- Challenges: Depending on the prescription, tinctures can be expensive. Tinctures are quicker than edibles when it comes to providing long-lasting relief, but not as quick as inhaling.
Medical Cannabis Topicals
Medical marijuana topicals like balms, gels, salves, and lotions are applied directly to the skin and are used to treat pain and muscle aches. They are also popular for arthritis, chapped skin, minor burns, joint pain, eczema, psoriasis, and tendonitis.
- Benefits: This could go under benefits or challenges; using cannabis topicals will not get you “high.” It’s easy to apply and address localized pain or skin issues, however.
- Challenges: Again, using medical marijuana topicals will not get you high. Using ointments can also be greasy.
Other Ways to Consumer Medical Cannabis
There are lots of other ways to consume medical cannabis. Here’s a quick run down on other popular methods.
- Pills, Capsules, and Tablets: Medical marijuana pills, capsules, and tablets allow for precise dosing. Taking them is also a lot easier than making your own edibles, and you don’t need to worry about calories. Some people prefer pills, capsules, and tablets because they associate them with the traditional way of receiving medication.
- Beverages: Medical marijuana beverages are becoming more popular. This can include cannabis-infused teas, juices, smoothies, and sodas.
- Suppositories: Suppositories may be less dignified than an edible, beverage, or joint, but they kick in fast, last a long time, and are the most efficient way to ingest medical cannabis. Currently, suppositories are not available in Canada yet.
MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple
If you’re thinking of getting a medical marijuana license and want to know more about cannabis and the different ways in which you can consume it, contact a nurse practitioner or Patient Advisor at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC).
A trusted name in medical cannabis consulting, MMC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on medical cannabis. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), refer you to a licensed producer, and help you apply for the ACMPR license.
With MMC’s personalized white glove treatment, you also get access to personalized one-on-one educational sessions, treatment plans, and ongoing support.