Medical marijuana involves use of marijuana as drug for the cure of various diseases and symptoms like cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, migraine headaches, pain and weight loss etc. Medical marijuana is not covered under insurance since it is not sold over the counter in pharmacies. Medical cannabis is available through dispensaries or can be cultivated at home by patients but only on prescription by doctor or on holding medical cannabis ID card.
Marijuana has many side effects and smoking it (even for medical purposes) can have serious side effects. Burning marijuana leaves or buds can produced 50% to 70% more carcinogens than tobacco cigarettes. So you can well imagine the side effects it can have on the immune system. So for patients who have never smoked or who don’t wish to smoke cannabis for medical use, there are alternative ways they can consume medical cannabis.
Non-smoking options for medical cannabis
Before anything else, it is important to know and understand that medical marijuana is only and strictly doctor prescribed treatment and should be consumed in accordance to doctor’s instructions. Anyone prescribed with medical cannabis, but does not want to consume it by smoking can go in for the following options.
Marijuana vapors are one of the very sought after alternative for smoking marijuana. Inhaling marijuana is not as harmful as smoking it, and can be taken by patients easily. Vaporizers are available as battery powered models or as handheld device with plug in points. The vaporizer heats up marijuana leaves to vaporize the THC (without burning the plant), the patient can easily breath in the beneficial vapors without the toxic smoke. Marijuana in vapor form is healthier for the lungs than smoking and is also more cost effective. Anyone prescribed with medical marijuana can take home a vaporizer (available in various price ranges) and inhale the maximum amount of THC with least side effects.
- Cannabis in edible form
Medical cannabis can also be heated and made into butter or oil. Cannabis flowered leaves and tops can be submerged into butter or vegetable oil for a few hours. Heating cannabis in butter for several hours transfers the THC and other cannabis contents into the butter (oil). The butter/oil can then be filtered and solid plant materials can be removed. The butter available is dark greenish solution. This can be used in baking cookies, brownies and cakes etc., or can be added to sauce etc, which can then be consumed by the patient. This cannabinoid solution can also be mixed with drinks.
Consuming THC in food or drink can be a slow affecting process. THC taken with food or drink does not absorb in the blood stream very quickly (like when smoked). So, patients often don’t have control on how much drug they consume. It is important to keep a check on how much cannabis has been consumed when administering the drug in edible form.
Cannabis leaves and flowered tops are soaked in alcohol. The plant materials transfer THC and other cannabinoid to the alcohol. Patients can then consume this tincture directly (in small quantity) or can add it to food or beverage. The tincture can also be applied to the skin.