Are you looking for how to consume medical marijuana, but you are unsure? There are several ways you can consume medical marijuana with each having different positives and negatives. In this blog we will walk you through the various ways you can consume medical marijuana in Maryland or Delaware so you are more informed how cannabis may help you.
If you are curious about medical marijuana and would like to take the first step to getting the help you are looking for, there is an online appointment option available to set up a certification consultation with one of our providers to walk you through the process.
Inhalation Methods To Consume Medical Marijuana
Marijuana can be inhaled by vaporizing or through smokable flower. Because it does not have to make its way through the digestive system or liver, the THC enters your circulatory system faster during smoking or vaporizing marijuana. Let us look at the two inhalation methods to compare their differences.
Onset: The onset of consuming marijuana in a smokable form is within seconds as it is nearly immediately released into your body through your lungs.
Duration: When you consume medical marijuana in a smokable form its effects generally will last between 1-3 hours, with its peak effects occurring within about 30 minutes of smoking the product.
Smoking medical marijuana is generally the most well-known method of consuming medical marijuana. Understandably, many patients wonder about the health effects of inhaling smoke. The health concerns of smoking tobacco have added to the negative stigma of marijuana, but research has shown there is not much to worry about. Regular marijuana smoking causes microscopic injury to the airways and can increase the risk of chronic bronchitis symptoms, but this subsides if smoking is stopped.
A study done by UCLA reported that, “the accumulated weight of evidence implies far lower risks for pulmonary complications of even regular heavy use of marijuana compared with the grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco.”
Now this does not mean that there are zero risks associated with smoking marijuana, but it does mean that if you consume medical marijuana in Maryland or Delaware the adverse effects appear to be lower than smoking tobacco.
Onset: The onset of consuming marijuana in a vaporized form is within seconds.
Duration: Like when you smoke marijuana, the effects generally last between 1-3 hours and will typically have a peak effect about 30 minutes after vaporizing the cannabis.
Vaporizing can potentially be a healthier alternative to smoking medical cannabis. This is the case because it allows you to inhale the product without combustion. A vaporizer heats marijuana just enough to release its active compounds. During vaporization, THC enters your lungs and diffuses directly into your bloodstream. The temperatures are too low for the potentially harmful toxins that are released during combustion, minimizing the health risks associated with smoking.
Oral Methods To Consume Medical Marijuana
Another common way to consume medical marijuana is to ingest it orally. When you ingest marijuana, it passes through the digestive system and is metabolized by the liver, eventually sending its active compounds to your bloodstream. This form of administration is exactly how vitamins and other daily supplements are most typically taken. Common indigestible THC products include capsules, edibles, gummies, and oils.
Onset: Tinctures generally take about 30 minutes for the product to have its effect.
Duration: When you consume medical marijuana in a tincture form it is processed by your body differently than in an inhaled method. This method will generally last within your body for about 4-6 hours.
Tinctures are a concentrated form of marijuana, typically in an oil form, that offers both versatility and discretion. They can be placed under the tongue to be absorbed in the glands right in your mouth. Users feel the effects quickly and can control the amount they take easily.
Onset: Capsules will take about 1 hour for the cannabis to have an effect.
Duration: Consuming medical marijuana in a capsule form requires it to go through your digestive system. This means that it is processed through your stomach and liver before it enters your circulatory system. When marijuana is metabolized in the liver, it turns into 11-hydroxy-THC. This has a longer half-life and creates more of a sedative effect than THC in a smokable product. Everyone’s liver metabolism is unique, which is why capsules and edibles can produce different effects to different users.
Capsules are a great alternative for patients who are not interested in inhaling marijuana. They are pre-dosed, making it easy for patients to take daily.
Onset: Edibles can take between 30 minutes to an hour for them to begin to have an effect. This depends on several factors including what type of edible the marijuana is in and if the person is taking it on an empty stomach or not.
Duration: Edibles process in a way that is like capsules, but it is not exactly the same. They can have effects in your body for around 4-6 hours but can last as long as 24 hours depending on the user. It is important to note that Maryland has not yet legalized edibles for purchase at medical cannabis dispensaries.
For patients who have inhalation issues, or that just do not prefer to spoke edibles can be another way to consume medical marijuana.
The marijuana effects in an edible are delayed because they rely on the digestion process before they can be absorbed into the blood system. The digestion process transforms the cannabinoids making the marijuana effects extremely strong once they are delivered into the blood system.
After eating an edible containing marijuana, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive tract and undergoes a first metabolic pass in the liver before entering general circulation. Since this absorption process takes place more slowly than it does through the lungs the effects felt after consuming edibles will often be more gradual in onset but may last much longer, making them a great option for chronic pain sufferers.
Final Thoughts On How To Consume Medical Marijuana
The bottom line is that there are many ways to consume medical marijuana in Maryland and Delaware. Each patient may have different needs or preferences based upon their qualifying condition or their personal preferences. A good, qualified certifying provider can help walk you through this process and answer questions you may have to determine which regimen may be best for you.