Posted May 31, 2016 by Ljubica Kostovic

Four Ways to Use Your Medical Cannabis

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There are many different ways to use your medical cannabis, each with its own pros and cons and nuanced potential to impact your health and wellbeing. Choosing the best method of administration for your condition and symptoms is not always easy. It’s important to consider the kinds of effects you are looking for and the ways in which the various modes of administration may be useful for achieving your health goals.

1. Smoking

Smoking may be the most well-known form of consuming cannabis, but it is one whose popularity has dwindled among the medical marijuana patient community.

Smoking is actually not one of the ways we recommend you use your medical marijuana. 

Combusting any plant product can cause damage to the lungs and can put you at greater risk for cancer. Smoking is bad for your health, regardless of the substance being smoked. Smoking is also one of the more inefficient ways to use your medical cannabis, both in terms of therapeutic effects and the impact on your wallet.

2. Vaporizing

Vaporizing is a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis. Vaporizing involves a process called decarboxylation which heats the plant matter, without burning it. The risk of damage to your lungs is minimized with this method.

One of the great things about vaporizing your medical marijuana is the fast onset of therapeutic effects. Vaporizing allows the therapeutic cannabinoids to enter into your bloodstream via your lungs and thus provide you with relief within 30-60 seconds.

Many patients who struggle with breakthrough pain, anxiety or muscle spasms prefer to vaporize at the onset of their symptoms. The downside to this fast acting method is that the effects only last a short period of time, anywhere between 1-4 hours. For many patients managing a chronic illness, combining vaporizing with other methods often gives them the best results.

3. Ingesting and Sublingual Administration

If you are looking for long-acting symptom relief, using edibles, oils and tinctures may be the best option for you. Once you have found your therapeutic dose, you can cook and bake with your cannabutter and cannabis oil. The effects of delicious edibles are felt in approximately 1-2 hours and can last between 6-8 hours. This mode of administration may be especially useful for improving the quality and duration of sleep.

For faster acting effects, you can use your cannabis oil by dropping your dose underneath your tongue. You will feel the effects within a few minutes, but since not all of the oil will be absorbed in this way, you will have to swallow it to get the complete therapeutic relief. Ingesting oils will yield similar effects and will last around the same time as your edibles.

Similarly, you can drop your tincture dose underneath your tongue and feel the effects in a matter of minutes. However, tinctures are very potent, alcohol based products and should be ingested with caution!

4. Topical Applications

Applying cannabis topically can be a powerful tool for managing a variety of symptoms. Cannabis oils, creams and salves provide relief in localized areas and minimize the occurrence of any psychoactive side effects of THC. If you are having muscle spasms in your foot, stomach cramps, or your pain is very pronounced in one area of your body, you can use a topical marijuana product to directly target your symptoms.

Topicals provide excellent pain and inflammation relief and also promote muscle relaxation.  Cannabis topicals can be combined with aromatherapy to promote even greater relaxation and are one of the more discreet ways you can use your cannabis.

Whether you use edibles and oils, vaporize, or apply topical preparations to localized areas, each method is unique in its effects. Sometimes, employing a combination of methods can be especially effective for managing chronic conditions and targeting a variety of symptoms at the same time.

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