You have a choice as to how you want to take medical marijuana. You can inhale marijuana either through smoking it or through a vaporizer. Of course the healthier option is the vaporizer as there is no irritating smoke. Cannabis experts now discourage smoking the plant as the only real downside to its use is the damage of the smoke to the lining of your lungs. Both methods of inhalation put the active compounds in cannabis directly into your bloodstream, which carries them to your brain where they attach to receptors and cause the well known effects.
You can also eat cannabis in the form of what is called edibles: cookies, brownies, and other food products. When you ingest cannabis, it goes into your intestines, then passes through your liver. Your liver processes THC into a by product called 11-hydroxy-THC, which then travels to the bloodstream and then to your brain. 11-hydroxy THC is thought to be four to five times more potent than regular THC. This is why edibles are known to be more potent when compared to inhaled cannabis. Edibles are also thought to be strong sedatives and many patients use them for treatment of insomnia.
Edibles take from 40 minutes to 1 hour to start working and the peak effect is at 2 hours. The effects last from 6 to 8 hours which is very convenient for those patients who want to sleep or have longer control of pain.
The key to edibles is knowing how much to eat so as to get the best medicinal effect without going overboard. The general rule of thumb is to cut the edible product into 4 pieces (or smaller if you are new to cannabis) and only eat one piece to start. Wait at least one hour. If you feel the effects of the medication, do not eat any more. If you do not feel the effects of the medication, you can eat another piece. There have been patients who unknowingly have ingested too much and have had the unfortunate side effects of feeling “too high”, nausea, vomiting, and very groggy. If you follow the instructions above you should not have any problems with these side effects.
Whichever method you choose, knowing all of the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of using cannabis helps you to make the best choice for your health. Many opponents of medical marijuana state that smoking it is unhealthful – they are right. However you have other options like vaporizers, edibles, and tinctures so that the problems assocoated with the smoke are not an issue.