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How would you like your cannabis?

BY PRECIANNE MILLER

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Cannabis is so much more than that puff of smoke in the air. Recently, there have been several new and emerging methods of consuming cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes that are more convenient and allow users more discretion.

With the medicinal use of cannabis becoming more widespread, innovation has allowed for alternatives to smoking, especially for medical purposes, in order that more people can reap the benefits of cannabis in a way that is suited to their individual needs.

Inhalation

Inhalation is the most common method of cannabis consumption and provides immediate effects, especially where getting a “high” is concerned. Through this method, cannabinoids are able to enter the body through the lungs and reach the bloodstream to the various cannabis receptor sites. While smoking first comes to mind, there are other methods of inhalation that are becoming more popular. These include:

Smoking

This often entails the burning of the dried bud or flowers from the cannabis plant facilitated by the use of rolling paper, tobacco paper or even an instrument such as a pipe or bong.

Vaporizers/Vape Pens

This is a form of inhalation that produces an odourless vapour that dissipates quickly. Vaporizers heat rather than burn the cannabis plant matter and are able to accommodate the different forms of cannabis, whether the dried plant, concentrates or oils.

Vaporization is becoming a popular and healthier alternative. When compared to smoking, it is more discreet and eliminates the pain that is often experienced in the lungs and throat due to heat exposure from burning cannabis matter. Vaporizers can be portable as well as stationery and there are also vape pens that can be used repeatedly.

Ingestion

Edibles

Cannabis can be infused in food and drinks which allows the compounds to enter the bloodstream to cannabis receptors after passing through the liver during digestion. Cannabis edibles include pastries such as brownies and cookies as well as snacks, chocolate and other candies.

The cannabis materials can also be infused in butter or fatty oils and used for baking and cooking a variety of foods. Locally, cannabis is often brewed into a tea but can also be used to make beer or wines as well as infused in coffee and wine. Juicing is another method where cannabis is blended or crushed, forming a raw liquid that contains a high concentration of cannabinoids.

Effects from edibles are more delayed to several minutes but are long-lasting and users can experience a strong psychoactive effect. These effects can depend on the amount of cannabis used and tolerance level, if it was consumed on an empty stomach.

Capsules

Cannabis can be ingested in the form of capsules or pills. However, these capsules and pills can be very potent. Like edibles, the effects are delayed but have a longer duration.

Tinctures or

A tincture is a liquid extracted from cannabis often using alcohol as a solvent. This produces a concentrated extract with a faster effect and a shorter duration. Tinctures are usually administered orally through the sublingual method, which involves placing drops of cannabis extract under the tongue or the inside of the cheeks where cannabinoids can immediately enter the bloodstream through the many blood vessels found in parts of the mouth. Sublingual methods can also include the use of dissolvable strips, oral sprays and other extracts or oils.

Topical

Creams and Lotions

Cannabis can be delivered in lotions, balms, ointments and creams that are applied directly to the skin. The cannabinoids can be absorbed directly through the skin and can act quite quickly. The effects of topical products can usually be felt within a few minutes while the duration of these effects can last approximately one to two hours. Topicals are often used to provide relief from pain, inflammation, soreness and are effective for arthritis and skin conditions.

Transdermal patches

Transdermal patches are similar to bandages that have been infused with cannabis compounds that are adhered to the skin, such as the arm or wrist. This releases small amounts of cannabinoids into the bloodstream through the skin once the body's heat activates the patch. This is a gradual release and effects can be felt within 30 minutes with a long-lasting duration of up to 12 hours.

These are just a few as there continues to be a variety of new delivery mechanisms for cannabis which keeps this area of innovation very active.

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