Cannabis Delivery Methods for Medical Marijuana Patients
In today's world, there are lots and lots of different ways to consume cannabis. While many people think of cannabis flower and edibles as the two main ways to enjoy its many health benefits, there are many other ways to use cannabis medicinally. Some methods don't cause any intoxicating effect whatsoever, while others provide an intense effect. If you're new to medical marijuana or you're just looking to break away from traditional flower and explore new products, learn all about the pros and cons of all the different cannabis delivery methods below.
But first, what is a delivery method? There are currently 5 main delivery methods and several versions of each one available at medical dispensaries in Colorado Springs. A delivery method is a way in which you introduce medicinal cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBN into your body. Once you know what they are and how each of them works, you'll have a much easier time picking the best products for managing your symptoms. Here's everything you need to know.
When you use the inhalation delivery method, you introduce the cannabinoids into your system by breathing them in through your lungs. The inhalation delivery method is the fastest acting, so it provides the quickest relief. By inhaling cannabis smoke, you’re introducing cannabinoids like THC and CBD into your lungs. From there, your heart spreads the THC-laden oxygen through your blood and to your brain in a matter of seconds. For some, this sensation can be too intense, and it causes anxiety. For others, it provides a pleasant mental effect as well as physical pain relief. The one major downside to inhalation is that the highs usually peak after 15 minutes and you’ll need to take another hit after 45 minutes or so. Inhalable products include cannabis flower, pre-rolls, concentrates, and vape cartridges.
With oral delivery, you take a cannabis-infused tincture or a hash oil capsule and hold it under your tongue until it’s absorbed into your bloodstream. Humans have unique salvatory glands under the tongue that are capable of absorbing cannabinoids directly into the blood in a span of about 5 minutes. You can expect to start feeling the onset of effects in 15 minutes, so it’s crucial that you dose yourself correctly. Always start with a low dose and work your way up until you know what kind of milligram dosage you need to feel the effects against your symptoms. While some people only need 5-10mg of THC in a tincture, others may need up to 100mg, so it's important to start with a lower dose so you can stay in control of your high and avoid having anxiety. Oral products are often longer-lasting, too. Some tinctures can leave effects on the body for up to 24 hours. Oral products include tinctures, hash-oil capsules, and oils.
The ingestion delivery method involves eating and digesting cannabinoids like THC. In this method, you have to digest the THC and begin metabolizing it in your stomach and liver before you can start to feel the effects. Once you digest the cannabinoids, they make their way into your bloodstream and eventually to your brain, causing you to feel high. Ingestible products, such as edible cookies, candies, gummies, brownies, or etc, often get a bad reputation even though they’re by far the easiest way to consume cannabis safely. The reason being is that ingestible products take a lot of time to take effect. It can take as little as 30 minutes to kick in for some people and up to two hours for others. Since it varies so much from person to person, some people get impatient waiting for the high to kick in so they’ll take another dose. When the dose finally kicks in, it’s twice as intense because of the 2nd dose. In some cases, this can feel too intense, like a bad mushroom trip, effectively turning people off of edibles. If you start with a low dose and be patient, you’ll be pleased to find a pleasant, euphoric high that is always consistently dosed, which helps to avoid anxiety from cannabis. Always start with a low dose (around 5-10mg) and work your way up until you know how an ingestible product (such as an edible) will affect you.
Unlike the previous delivery methods, topical products hardly ever cause a psychoactive effect even if they contain THC. Many patients who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain love topicals since they provide relief without causing an intoxicating effect, allowing them to go about their business pain-free and mentally clear. The topical deliver method uses a lotion, balm, or cream infused with cannabinoids to provide relief. When applied to the skin, these products penetrate the skin and muscle tissue, but never the blood barrier. They offer localized pain relief but since they never enter the bloodstream, they never cause an intoxicating effect or "high" like other methods. Topical delivery is mostly for people who suffer from pain. Topicals won’t get you high, but they will provide all of the benefits of CBD and THC for the body. Spreading some THC-infused lotions, balms, or salve on arthritic hands can help clear up the pain in a few minutes, though they will need to be reapplied frequently. The same can be said for other products, like cannabinoid-infused bath bombs and body sprays.
On the other hand, some topical products can get you high. Transdermal patches for example are able to apply relief to localized areas on the skin or muscle tissue, though they are able to permeate the blood barrier, causing a mildly intoxicating effect as well as some extra-potent localized pain relief. Transdermal topical products can consistently release the correct dose to the affected area through the day, though they will cause a mild psychoactive effect.
Suppositories are the newest delivery method and are best for patients struggling with chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues like IBS IBD or Crohn's disease, a lack of appetite, menstrual pain or cramps, or people who find sex to be painful. Much like topicals, the cannabinoids in suppositories are absorbed in a way that doesn't normally cause an intoxicating sensation, just localized relief to the lower body. They normally take about 10-15 minutes to begin affecting you and they last for about 4-6 hours at a time. Suppository products include THC/CBD-infused tampons, which provide relief to the vagina, uterus, and ovaries, or anal suppositories which provide relief to the anus, lower intestine, and stomach. They soothe and relax these areas, allowing you to feel reduced pain during your day to day flow and during sex. They also tend to promote a relaxing effect in these areas, too, allowing for comfortable, pain-free sex.
Which Delivery Method is Right for Me?
The perfect delivery method for you depends on your symptoms and personal preferences. If you're the type of person who wants relief but doesn't like the psychoactive effects of THC, look for products that only contain CBD or at topical, suppository, or transdermal products that contain THC but won't cause you to feel high because of the way you absorb them.
If you do like THC and need higher, consistent doses, you can always smoke flower, concentrates, or vape cartridges. If your condition makes it difficult for you to smoke, you can always enjoy ingestible products like edibles, tinctures, and oral products.
If you're still unsure about which product type might be best for you, be sure to ask your budtender the next time you stop by. Our budtenders are kept up-to-date on the latest cannabis sciences so that they can provide you with expert product recommendations that can help you find your feel good. Our commitment to educating our patients on cannabis and products makes The Epic Remedy the best dispensary in Colorado Springs.