3 Methods of Consuming Medical Cannabis

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

If you're new to medical marijuana, you may still be trying to figure out which vehicle of administration works best for you. Most patients are familiar with smoking marijuana, but they may not know that there are a wide range of healthier alternatives that could be just as effective for treating specific symptoms. Today we will discuss three methods: vaporization, ingesting edibles, and using tinctures. 

Some symptoms are best relieved through inhalation, but smoking marijuana can produce harmful toxins and carcinogens through combustion. One alternative that provides similar relief is vaporization, in which the plant is heated at a lower temperature so that it does not reach the point of combustion, so steam as opposed to smoke is inhaled. Edibles are another vehicle for administering cannabis. Edibles usually involve using cannabis infused oils and butters, and because the medication is ingested rather than inhaled, and therefore takes time to absorb through the gastrointestinal tract, the effects on the body are vastly different. Relief from edibles take longer to take effect, last longer, and they are more potent, so using caution and starting at a low dose is recommended. Lastly, one method of quick consumption is the tincture, involves allowing ethanol to absorb cannabinoids. This method is administered under the tongue by a dropper, and takes little time to take effect.

These different methods affect how your body absorbs the medication, so the vehicle you choose could have a drastically different effect on your symptoms. By journaling everyday on our app, you will be able to see how changes in your dosing regimen ultimately affect your symptom relief, and therefore you can discover which method works best for you. This information has been provided in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Things You Should Know About Transdermal Cannabis Patches

Photo Credit: Cheminded (showing Mary's Medicinal Patches)

Photo Credit: Cheminded (showing Mary's Medicinal Patches)

In today's world, the medical marijuana patient has access to a various tools or vehicles for taking his or her medication. Some of the methods of intake are classic, like smoking or consuming edibles, but other methods are new and only recently gaining in popularity. One such method is the application of cannabis topicals. This can be applied as a lotion or gel, or it can also adhere to your skin with the use of transdermal patches. 

Transdermal patches slowly deliver cannabinoids to the skin, allowing therapeutic relief to last up to 12 hours. Patients know their exact dose because the patches are pre-measured to contain a specific amount of mg and precise amounts of cannabinoid variations. Patches provide relief for a many conditions, like epilepsy, cancer, or ALS, and some are even designed with specific safety profiles for children or the elderly. As opposed to extracting only the cannabinoids out of marijuana as some oils and extracts do, patches keep both cannabinoids and terpenes because both compounds have unique therapeutic benefits. Patches allow cannabinoids to directly enter the bloodstream so that patients receive a dose similar to that of pharmaceutical medications. 

Read more about transdermal patches on Health MJ. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Study: Vaporizers Deliver Safe, Reliable Doses Of Cannabinoids

Photo Credit: NORML

Photo Credit: NORML

According to new data published in the journal PLOS ONE, vaporizers are not only effective in delivering cannabinoids to medical marijuana patients, but they also do so in a safe and reliable manner. Swiss investigators analyzed the ability of different types of vaporizes to release THC and CBD through vapor, and reported the technologies allowed for relatively safe and uniform dosing. They also reported gas-powered devices were unreliable and not recommended for therapeutic purposes.

Because vaporizers are temperature controlled, they are able to heat cannabis to a point where vapors form but do not reach the point of combustion. Therefore, the authors conclude, "[T]he four electrically-driven and temperature-controlled vaporizers investigated in this study efficiently decarboxylate acidic cannabinoids and release reliably the corresponding neutral cannabinoids into the vapor. Therefore, they can be considered a promising application mode for the safe and efficient administration of medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids."

This information has been provided by NORML and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also find the full text of the study here

What is Dabbing?

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

If you've been around medical cannabis for a while, chances are you know what dabbing is. While attending various medical cannabis conferences and speaking with different mmj patients, we have come to realize just how popular this relatively new method is. This method is especially helpful for patients who need to experience rapid onset of relief for symptoms like pain or nausea. For those of you who are new to medical cannabis or the dabbing method, it is worth learning about before attempting it at home due to the use of potent concentrates and special equipment.

The process of dabbing involves vaporizing small amounts of cannabis concentrates packed full of symptom-relieving cannabinoids. Because concentrates are so potent, dabbing should be approached with caution, especially for those who are new to cannabis or easily affected by the medication. Dabbing requires special equipment called a dab rig, which features a bowl that is heated to extremely high temperatures usually with the use of a blow torch. While use of a blow torch is necessary in order to reach the desired temperatures quick vaporization, it is important not to overheat the concentrate so as not to destroy the cannabinoids and terpenes that offer symptom relief. As this vehicle adapts to new technologies, some dab rigs are discovering ways to heat the bowl rapidly without the use of a blow torch. This is not only safer for the consumer and reduces harm to the medicinal value of cannabis, but it is also helpful for those who suffer from joint or inflammatory illnesses like arthritis that would make using this equipment difficult.

Whatever method or substance you prefer, be sure to make note of it in the journaling section of our app. This information has been provided by Whaxy and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Smoking Cannabis Works

Photo Credit: The Drug Policy Alliance

Photo Credit: The Drug Policy Alliance

When one thinks of using marijuana, the first thought that pops into someone's mind is smoking. The most popular and most traditional method of cannabis consumption usually involves the inhalation of marijuana. When heat is applied to cannabis, a process called decarboxylation occurs, turning the acidic precursor THC-A into the well known cannabinoid THC. THC is known for its psychoactive properties, but the cannabinoid can also be effective in treating certain symptoms for medical marijuana patients. One reason medical marijuana patients prefer smoking their medication is because they're sure to experience a rapid onset of relief. When cannabinoids are inhaled, the lungs absorb them almost immediately. The cannabinoids are then transferred to the heart where they are pumped to the brain and other organs of the body so they can bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

While smoking is most commonly associated with marijuana intake, there are other vehicles available to cannabis consumers. A similar but healthier way to consume marijuana is through vaporization. For a medical marijuana patient who suffers from an illness in the first place and needs to monitor his or her health, we recommend vaporization technology. Vaporization also involves applying heat to the plant and inhaling its cannabinoids, so the onset of therapeutic relief is just as rapid and effective as smoking the medication. Because cannabinoids are inhaled in the form of vapor and not in the form of smoke, patients can experience rapid relief without inhaling toxins that have a harmful effect on the lungs. In a peer-reviewed research study published in 2004 in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Dr. Dale Gieringer of NORML found vapor was completely void of three toxins that were present in smoking: the carcinogen benzene, toluene, and napthalene. 

Whatever is your preferred method of medical marijuana intake, we'd like to know! Don't forget to document which vehicle works for your specific symptoms in the journaling section of our app. This information has been brought to you by Whaxy, and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Marijuana 101: Methods of Consumption

Beginning the use of medical marijuana therapy can be confusing and all around overwhelming. Where traditional pharmaceuticals often come in the form of a pre-measured pill with a select composition of ingredients and a specific regimen, medical marijuana patients have to choose their strain and material, determine the amount per dose, create a dosing regimen, and select a method of consumption. All of these factors can be daunting, but thankfully Marijuana Investor News has taken the time to at least break down the methods of consumption to help make your vehicle selection easier. 

The traditional method most widely associated with marijuana is smoking. This method involves using a pipe, water bong, or a joint/blunt to smoke the dried flower or leaves of the marijuana plant. The effects of smoking are often felt instantly, and can last between an hour and a half and four hours depending on strain potency. Smoking marijuana is considered safe, but smoke inhalation of any kind can have negative effects on the lungs, which makes smoking one of the less healthy options for marijuana consumption.

Another popular method involves eating cannabis infused food products. Generally, cannabinoid extracts are infused in butters and oils that then used to create edible products. The most popular and widely available edibles are baked products. This method of consumption is not instant, however, and the effects can take half an hour to two hours before they kick in at all. Because the effect is gradual, patients should use caution when consuming edibles and remember to avoid overconsumption. 

A method of consumption similar to smoking and gaining in popularity is vaporization. While both smoking and vaporizing involve inhalation, vaporization involves inhaling water vapor, which is less harmful on the lungs and nearly eliminates carcinogens from the equation. Vaporizers heat dried marijuana or marijuana oils at low temperatures, allowing active cannabinoids like THC and CBD to convert into vapor. The effects of vaporization are similar to the effects of smoking.

One method that is not widely known is the application of infused topical solutions (like sprays, creams, lotions, oils, or balms). Topicals are non-psychoactive, so patients seeking therapeutic effect without the high often apply marijuana-infused topicals to treat joint inflammation, muscle pain and headaches, and more.

The last method Marijuana Investor News discusses is the tincture, which is a mixture plant extract in an alcohol solution. Tinctures are generally dosed as a few droplets and placed under the tongue or in a beverage. Tinctures are generally very potent and may take a while to take effect. 

Want to know more? Visit Marijuana Investor News for the lowdown on each vehicle for marijuana consumption. 

Are Time-Released Cannabis Pills the Future of Medical Marijuana?

Photo: Leafly

Photo: Leafly

For patients who want to use medical marijuana as a treatment option, there are only so many vehicles available to them. Some patients want the therapy, but don't want to use the most popular methods of smoking, vaporizing, or consuming edibles. For them, there are only a few other options available, like taking tinctures, using topicals or patches, or swallowing pills. Now, cannabis pills are being further explored, and some think it could be the future of medical marijuana. 

Wana Brands, one manufacturer or edibles and cannabis pills, says the time-released formula in the capsules allows patients to get proper dosing throughout a 12 hour period. One problem people have with the medical marijuana industry is that they don't view it as a real medicine, partly because no other medicines exist that can be smoked or inhaled. Cannabis pills that mirror the image of pharmaceutical medications may solve this problem by changing the "stoner imagery" currently associated the medical marijuana movement. 

For more on Wana Brands and how cannabis pills work, read this Leafly article: http://bit.ly/1DuNBFQ

Study Supports Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis in Reducing Neuropathic Pain Caused by Diabetes

In July of 2015, the Journal of Pain published the results of a study that suggests inhaling aerosolized cannabis can reduce the neuropathic pain caused by diabetes. In 16 patients, higher doses of THC appeared to significantly reduce pain. That being said, the high doses of THC were not without their side effects: patients did not perform as well on psychological tests. 

This study was small, and THC decreased the patients' cognitive performance slightly, but the findings are significant because they show that cannabis can be effective in decreasing the debilitating neuropathic pain that can severely impact a person's life. The researchers of the study say, "This adds preliminary evidence to support further research on the efficacy of the cannabinoids in neuropathic pain." For more information on cannabis and neuropathic pain, follow this link to Medical Jane: http://bit.ly/1gCcgDq

Study: Use Of Vaporizers Mitigates Pulmonary Risks Associated With Cannabis Smoking

We always recommend vaporizing over smoking cannabis, but why? Vaporization as a vehicle is better for your health than smoking because it heats the cannabis to a point where cannabinoid vapors are formed, but not to the point of combustion. Without combustion, there is no smoke, and without smoke, there is no increased carbon monoxide exhaled by the lungs. In this way, a patient can reap the medical benefits of inhaling medical marijuana rapidly without the risk of damage to the lungs. 

For a short overview of the study, visit the Daily Chronic: http://bit.ly/1LG3LTC

To see the full text of the study, visit the National Library of Medicine: http://1.usa.gov/1UddPHj

Study: Edibles Potency Claims in CA, WA Often Inaccurate

The marijuana industry is growing. Now, the next step for maturing medical marijuana programs should be the development of better regulations and a form of standardization, especially when it comes to testing medical marijuana products. A recent study of edible products on the West Coast found that testing marijuana still has a very long way to go. JAMA recently published the study, saying 17% of west coast edibles accurately identified their levels of THC. That means that of the 75 products tested, 83% mislabeled the amounts of THC they contained. The study said 60% had less THC than what was claimed on the packaging, and 23% had more.

When it comes to medical marijuana, accurate testing is a must! Patients need to know exactly what they are ingesting. Many patients have weaker immune systems due to the illnesses they are treating, so it is important to know the composition of their medical marijuana product. In addition, knowing the amounts of CBD and THC are extremely important when trying to figure out the proper dosing of a medication. Hopefully, studies like this will lead to the development of standard and accurate medical marijuana testing methods. We hope products will be labeled correctly in the future for the sake of the patients who ingest them. http://bit.ly/1NsZvG8

Potent Potables: Drinking Your Marijuana

As the cannabis industry expands, people are constantly developing new methods for medicating with cannabis. We've talked about many of these methods, like vaporization, edibles, pill forms, and even juicing. Now, drinkable cannabis is even easier to find than before, as companies are beginning to manufacture ready-to-drink marijuana infused products. Just like when consuming edibles, patients need to be cautious when consuming marijuana infused beverages. These products could easily be mistaken for other beverages on the market, so be sure to keep them out of the hands of minors or those who wish to stay away from cannabis. Learn more about these pre-made beverages and the companies that make them here: http://bit.ly/1IdR7tW

Cannabis Juicing: The Reality of Whole Plant Therapy

Patients are getting creative with their methods for medicating using medical marijuana. Juicing fruits and vegetables is not a new or uncommon thing, so why don't people juice cannabis? Well, now they do! Use this Whaxy analysis to learn about the whole plant therapy. The link also provides a "how-to" on properly juicing the leaves and flowers of your raw and undried cannabis. http://bit.ly/1Nkx65a

Wax Is Weed’s Next Big Thing And No One Knows If It’s Safe

Discovering the appropriate vehicle for medicating can be a very difficult trial-and-error process. One vehicle rising in popularity "wax," or butane hash oil (BHO). California dispensaries say this form of marijuana now accounts for 40% of sales, but some wonder whether the method is safe, with potential health risks and accounting for some lab and home explosions. Because this method is relatively new, patients are turning to self-appointed experts as sources for information on this new form of medicating. Buzzfeed explores: http://bzfd.it/1RwYdKI