Medical marijuana is becoming more widespread in the United States and around the world, and research into its benefits is expanding rapidly. This has left many people wondering which form of medical cannabis they should take, whether formulation changes the way cannabinoids affect your body.
The latest research shows that the method of ingestion can relate to the condition being treated, the strength you want, and your personal preference.
Smoking Medical Cannabis
According to the advocacy organization United Patients Group, smoking cannabis can be one of the most efficient ways to get the medicine into your system. This delivery method can give you instant relief. It is minimally processed and relatively easy to regulate. Studies cited by the American Cancer Society have found that smoking medical marijuana can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It can also help treat neurotic pain and even increase food intake in HIV patients.
On the downside, smoking marijuana can have similar side effects to smoking tobacco, and can harm your lungs, mouth, and throat.
If you’re looking for something that’s easier on the lungs, vaporizing or vaping may be an option. According to California NORML, a nonprofit organization focused on marijuana law reform, vaporizing emits a vapor that is 95 percent smoke and free of carcinogens (cancer-causing elements). While vaporizing equipment can be expensive, the extra costs may be worth the benefit to some users.
Medical Edibles and Capsules
Oral ingestion options differ from smoking or vaporizing in a few ways. Edibles are a reasonable option for people who are averse to inhaling their medicine, and it is well-tolerated by children and elderly patients. A study by the Substance Use Research Center of the New York State Psychiatric Institute has shown that edibles can be slower-acting but the effects are longer-lasting than traditional smoking methods. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an oral cannabidiol drug called Epidiolex to reduce seizures in people with Dravet syndrome and some forms of epilepsy.
Topicals, or dermal-delivery methods, can come in many forms but are usually applied to the skin for highly targeted pain relief. For patients who do not want to experience the psychoactive effect of medical marijuana, this is an excellent option because it is localized instead of systemic. However, many of the products on the market are reported to simply not work. Make sure to consult with a medical professional familiar with topical cannabidiol.
As always, remember to speak to your medical professional before starting to use any form of medical marijuana or a derivative. Contact our Medical Marijuana in Laytonsville office today if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.