There are several ways to consume medical marijuana, each has its pros and cons.

Smoking, is the tried and true delivery system.

• Has the advantage of having a rapid effect, which is felt moments after inhalation, so that one can reach a therapeutic level quickly, and stop smoking. The disadvantage is that smoke, is a lung irritant, and potential carcinogen.

To reduce risk from smoking

• One can use more potent marijuana, smoking less to attain an effective dosage.

• Use a pipe or vaporizer, which allows for more precise dosage, without inhaling burning cigarette paper.

• Inhale deeply, then exhale. Holding smoke in lungs, just coats them with more tar, and doesn’t increase THC absorption.

•Vaporizing is a method of inhaling active components with out combustion which gets rid of particulates and tar, and reduces noxious gasses like carbon monoxide.

•Before buying a vaporizer, do some research, there is a lot of difference between brands.

Edible cannabis products, also effective

•From brownies to soup, mixed with everything from milk to wine, edible marijuana is the delivery system of choice in many cultures.

•Eating the plant raw does not give full therapeutic benefit, active components must be extracted into fat, oil, or alcohol. Edibles are made with infused oils, fats, or alcohol.

• When eaten, some THC is broken down by the liver, forming a different, potent metabolite, which feels much different from smoked cannabis.

•The active components of cannabis are delivered more slowly when eaten, and the dosage can be harder to determine. Its easier to consume too much, when eating cannabis products. Always eat a smaller quantity,then wait for effects to develop before consuming more.

•It can take up to 2 hours to take effect when eaten, effects last much longer, than when smoked.

•Edible marijuana products are ideal for persons who do not smoke, or who want a longer lasting medicinal effect.

Cannabis tinctures are an extract of marijuana in alcohol.

•Tinctures can be dropped into tea, dropped under the tongue, or absorbed through the skin (through skin is less effective).

•Dosage can range from 3 drops to 2 dropper fulls. Tinctures are strong, always begin with small doses. Many patients reported pain relief without the stoned effect.

Many find maximum relief from symptoms using long-lasting edible cannabis products along with fast-acting smoked cannabis. You should consult with your doctor and suppliers to get the most benefit from medical marijuana.

Photo credit: jeffreyw / Foter / CC BY

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