Medical Marijuana Forms in PA
Currently, under Pennsylvania law, 6 forms of medical marijuana are available for patient consumption. Patients have access to pills, extracts, liquids, topicals, patches, and flower, a form that will be available soon in Pennsylvania dispensaries. If you're new to medical marijuana, you may not have had the opportunity to try the various forms to treat your condition. Each of the 6 forms of medical marijuana provides patients with different benefits that are more suitable for treating certain conditions.
Not sure where to start when it comes to medicating? Read on for a breakdown of the 6 forms of consumption and to find the one best for you!
Medical marijuana pills, also known as capsules, provide the benefits of concentrates and flower, but without the added health risk from inhaling vapor. Medical Marijuana pills feature two main compounds: THC and CBD. The main difference between the two is that THC contains psychoactive properties (including, potentially, enhanced creativity and alertness), whereas CBD contains little to none. Those who want to receive the health benefits without the sensation of a “high” typically opt for pills with a higher CBD content and lower THC content. Effects experienced by users can vary, but it is generally reported that capsules help alleviate inflammation, pain, and nausea. Capsules may also help combat insomnia, and other ailments associated with the 21 approved medical conditions in PA.
The dosage for pills is clearly stated on the bottle in milligrams, allowing patients to easily control consumption levels. Another benefit comes with the discrete nature of this method—no vaporizer needed.
Pills are generally reported to have little to no side-effects, although each patient may experience different effects depending on a variety of factors.
Extracts are formed by heating the plant’s oily extracts in order to inhale high concentrations of specific molecules from the plant. Extracts are significantly stronger and more potent than the plant material from which they come. They are consumed through inhalation or vaporization and usually come in the following forms:
Smooth, solid, and transparent extracts that are typically higher in THC.
Opaque, soft extracts that are typically lower in THC.
Sticky, liquid extracts that have varying THC levels.
Creamy, butter-like extracts that are typically higher in THC.
Dark, gooey extracts that are typically higher in THC. Compared to other forms of consumption, extracts provide similar medical benefits. Extracts focus on drawing out particular molecules from the plant, giving patients a variety of options to choose from—each molecule present in the particular medical marijuana extract offers different effects for different needs. For instance, CBN may be used to aid in sleep, and THC-A may provide pain relief.
Medical marijuana liquids are a form of tincture. Tinctures are liquid extracts created by soaking a substance in alcohol in order to release its active ingredient, which is the component that will have the strongest effect on the patient after consumption. In the case of medical marijuana, THC is the active ingredient brought out in the tincture.
Liquid medical marijuana is typically a shade of green, ranging from light to dark depending on the plant material from which it was extracted. This form is most commonly consumed orally by placing a syringe under the tongue.
Sprays are also available and the liquid can be used in an electric vape pen. To produce effects similar to those experienced with edibles, liquids can be sprayed on food for a delayed onset and longer lasting psychoactive effects.
Patients looking for a quick, vapor-free, and easy method of ingestion that presents a range of options (spray under the tongue, on food, vaporize) should give liquid products a try.
An increasingly popular method of consumption, topicals move away from the typical means of oral ingestion and instead focus on localized pain relief, anti-inflammation, and pain reduction. Topicals come in gels, creams, and ointments that are applied to the skin. This method works by binding to networks of receptors found throughout the body, although they only penetrate to this network and do not reach the bloodstream. Since they don’t reach the bloodstream, topicals are entirely non-psychoactive.
Various topicals provide different benefits, so experimenting with available options can lead to finding the right one.
Medical marijuana patches are applied to a veinous area of the body. Cannabinoids then enter the bloodstream for a long-lasting, effective form of consumption. Different patches isolate different cannabinoids, including CBD, CBN, THC, and THCA. These options provide varying benefits. CBN patches can aid in sleep; CBD may reduce inflammation. One of the main benefits of patches compared to other forms of consumption is the length of time over which they work. Patches can provide all day or night relief since the slow release of the cannabinoid provides long-lasting effects. Effects from smoking or vaping fade relatively quickly in comparison.
6. Flower (Coming Soon)
Medical marijuana flower, also known as dry leaf, is consumed through vaporization in Pennsylvania. Leaves from the marijuana plant are dried to produce a consumable product. Marijuana has upwards of 70 cannabinoids, all of which have varying effects on the body. Similarly to its pill form, flower comes with varying ratios of THC and CBD. The previously mentioned health benefits are present in both, but THC contains psychoactive properties, whereas CBD does not.
Each form of medical marijuana consumption comes with its own set of benefits and effects. These 6 options give patients a variety of ways in which to treat different conditions. Medical marijuana, in any of its forms, should be used responsibly due to its psychoactive nature and dosage recommendations from your doctor or pharmacist should be followed closely.
*Please Note: Different forms of consumption may affect patients differently depending on a variety of factors. We recommend starting with the lowest possible dose and slowly increasing from there. Please contact us to set up a consultation with one of our pharmacists.