3 Easy Ways to Consume Cannabis for Medical Purposes
The United States is now home to more than four million medical cannabis patients. This represents a little over 1.8% of the population where medical marijuana is legal.
At the moment, 35 states have already legalized medical cannabis. Of these, 15 allow for recreational use of the plant. So, it’s no wonder that the legal cannabis market had an estimated value of $13.6 billion in 2019.
Now that you’ve become a patient yourself, you may be wondering what the best ways to consume cannabis are. Do you really have to smoke it to achieve its full effects? Or is there a “cleaner” method to enjoy its potential health benefits?
Lucky you, as there are several other ways to consume or ingest cannabis. We’ll tell you all about it below, so be sure to read on.
1. Use a Vaporizer
Smoking medical cannabis is still the primary method of consumption. After all, it causes the plant’s effects to kick in within only a few minutes, peaking after about 20 to 30 minutes. However, scientists say that the same is true when inhaling vaporized cannabis.
Compared to smoking, vaporization may be the healthiest way to consume cannabis. That’s because vaporizers don’t involve combustion or burning. Instead, they only heat the plant to the point of aerosolizing the plant’s contents.
Keep in mind that burning material (including cannabis) produces tar. In tobacco cigarette smoke, tar contains the most number of cancer-causing chemicals. While most cigarette chemicals aren’t in cannabis, burning it still creates smoke.
The smoke itself from lit cannabis may cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. As such, you may want to vaporize your medical cannabis instead of lighting it up.
One thing to note is that a small study found vaporization to spike the effects of cannabis. This method seems to deliver more THC to users than smoked cannabis. As a result, first-time users may have a higher risk of reactions like short-term anxiety.
If this is your first time vaping medical cannabis, be sure to start with a smaller dose. Don’t drag and inhale too much of the vapors, as the effects may hit you harder. Also, be sure to take your dose only if you’re not going to drive or ride.
You may also want to check this out to learn more about vaporizing cannabis.
2. Cook or Bake With Decarboxylated Cannabis
Another great and versatile way to consume medical cannabis is by adding it to food. You can make tasty and nutritious edibles with cannabis butter. You can then use the butter for baking, cooking, or direct consumption.
To make your own “cannabutter,” though, you first need to learn how to decarboxylate.
What Is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation, or “decarbing,” is the process of removing “carboxyl” from a molecule. Carboxyl, in turn, denotes the “carboxyl group” of acids. Raw cannabis contains the carboxyl group -COOH.
The decarbing process removes the acids from cannabinoid acids, such as CBDa and THCa. When you decarb marijuana, it turns CBDa into CBD and THCa into THC. The removal of the acid makes the cannabinoids more bioavailable.
The more bioavailable a substance is, the faster it enters and circulates in the system. However, researchers say that cannabinoid acids tend to have low bioavailability. Decarbing marijuana helps to activate these acids and raise their bioavailability.
How to Decarboxylate
You only need an oven, a baking sheet, and some wax paper for the decarb process. Pre-heat the oven to about 245 °F, and make sure it stays at this temp range throughout. Temperatures higher than 315 °F can cause THC to evaporate.
Make sure you stick to high-quality cannabis buds, too. Roughly grind the flowers and take out the medical cannabis seeds for later use. Then, spread the pieces evenly on the wax paper-lined baking sheet.
Pop the pan in the preheated oven and let it “bake” for about 10 minutes. Stirring the buds every 10 minutes helps with even decarboxylation. This also keeps the flowers from sticking to the sheet and wasting cannabinoids.
After about 25 to 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool. You now have decarbed cannabis that you can use to make cannabutter.
Making the Canna Butter
Grind the decarbed buds into smaller but still coarse pieces. Mix this with water and your chosen butter in a saucepan or stockpot. Steep the mixture over low heat (not exceeding 190 °F) for around 45 to 60 minutes.
As you wait, prepare a bowl or jar (that you can cover securely) and top it with a fine-meshed sieve. You’ll strain the steeped liquid later into the container. You can discard the herbs after or toss them to your compost for added soil fertilizer.
Cover the container and let the oil or butter solidify in your fridge. Once it does, remove the separated water. Whatever’s left in the bowl or jar is the cannabutter that you can eat as-is or cook and bake with.
Do note that if you eat edibles, it can take you up to 90 minutes to feel the initial effects. The effects then peak within two to four hours after ingestion.
3. Directly Consume Cannabis Tinctures
Cannabis tinctures are high-concentration extracts in alcohol or oil-based solutions. Because of their potency, a drop or two is enough to experience their effects. In most cases, you need to consume these products via the sublingual method.
The sublingual method involves placing the tincture under the tongue. This allows the mouth’s linings to absorb the cannabis into the system directly. As a result, the effects kick in within a few minutes, but they also last for a few hours.
Give These Methods of Cannabis Consumption a Try
As you can see, gone are the days wherein you have to “roll” or use a pipe to consume cannabis. Today, you can use vaporizers, cook or bake with them, and even swallow tinctures straight. Just remember that each method has different peak times, so be sure you’re ready once the effects kick in.
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