Which Form of Consuming Marijuana is Best For You?
Medical marijuana is more becoming a common and very effective form of medicine used to treat a variety of conditions and ailments. Medical marijuana, currently legal in 30 states along with DC in the United States, helps to alleviate symptoms of serious medical conditions that don’t respond to traditional forms of treatment. In many cases, medical marijuana produces relief while resulting in fewer and less severe side effects as opposed to other forms of treatment.
To obtain a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania, you must first receive certifcation from an approed doctor after confirming that you have one of the 21 approved conditions for medical marijuana treatment. Some common conditions approved in Pennsylvania include chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Forms of Marijuana Consumption
There are a variety of ways in which medical marijuana can be consumed. The best method of consumption per user depends on lifestyle, preference, biochemistry, and medical needs. We’ll give you an introduction on each of the different forms, how they help to address medical needs associated with different conditions, and the pros and cons of each. The following are approved forms of consumption in Pennsylvania.
Vaporizing – Used to Consume both Flower and Concentrates
One of the most popular ways of consuming medical marijuana is by vaporizing the flower (dry-leaf) of the marijuana plant, in which you heat the plant to extract the cannabinoids and are left with a resulting vapor that is inhaled.
- It’s one of the less-expensive options
- The leaf is minimally processed
- There are many different strain options which can provide varying effects
- It is a healthier alternative to smoking
- Vaping can irritate those with pulmonary damage (lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, etc.)
- You may smell like marijuana after consumption
- Dosages are harder to regulate
Topicals are marijuana-infused lotions, oils, sprays, and balms that are absorbed through the skin and allow the cannabinoids to go straight into the bloodstream. The topical is applied directly to the source of pain and relief can typically be experienced within 20 minutes.
- One of the healthiest methods of ingestion
- Provide localized pain relief (helpful for arthritis)
- Great for chronic pain
- Provide relief for those with skin issues (helpful for psoriasis, burns, bacterial skin infections, eczema, etc.)
- Topicals do not provide you with a “high” feeling (can be a positive or a negative, depending on the user)
- Reduce inflammation
- Do not help with certain medical issues such as PTSD, cancer, or epilepsy
- They are non-psychoactive so they do not provide a euphoric feeling
- Require a heavy amount to achieve desired effects, depending on the condition being treated
- Do not provide a healing effect across the entire body
Transdermal patches work similarly to topicals as they allow the cannabinoids to be absorbed through the skin and go straight into the bloodstream. The patches are applied to a clean, dry, and hairless surface on the skin such as the inner-wrist, top of the foot, or ankle.
- One of the healthiest methods of ingestion due to the lack of vapor
- Provide a healing effect across the entire body
- Some patches are time-released, which can help control dosages over long periods of time
- Dosage is easier to control
- There’s a possibility of developing an allergic reaction, although very uncommon
Tinctures are solutions composed of concentrated marijuana typically mixed into alcohol, glycerin solutions, or a medium-chain triglyceride (such as coconut oil). Typically, tinctures are consumed in drops or sprays. They can be added to food or drink, placed under the tongue via a dropper or syringe, or applied directly to the skin.
- This is the preferred method of consumption for children who are approved patients and being treated with Medical Marijuana by a licensed caregiver
- Allows the substance to be consumed discretely
- Safe for the lungs since there is no inhaling required
- Easy to regulate dosage
- Can be expensive for those who require a higher dosage as much more is needed to obtain maximum effects
- Doesn’t go into effect as quickly as vaporizing
Extracts are concentrated forms of marijuana that are isolated by heating the plant’s oily components. They can be inhaled or vaporized and come in a variety of forms. Some common forms of extracts are shatter (smooth, solid, transparent and higher in THC), wax (opaque, soft, and lower in THC), oil (sticky, liquid and varying in THC), budder (creamy, butter-like and higher in THC), and resin (dark, gooey, and higher in THC). These are usually available to be consumed in a vaporizer cartridge or by themselves to be vaporized.
- Much higher dosage than other options
- You are able to get different effects for different needs depending on the specific extract
- Harder to regulate dosageCan be hard on the lungs for those with a condition, due to vaporization
Pills are typically filled with cannabis oil consisting of THC and CBD and can be swallowed and digested. Similar to edibles, they provide stronger treatment because marijuana is typically stronger when ingested as opposed to being burnt, vaporized, or applied.
- Easy to regulate dosage, as the dosage is clearly stated on the bottle
- Healthier since no vapor needs to be inhaled
- Help to alleviate pain, inflammation, and nausea
- Takes much longer to go into effect since the pills need to be digested first
- Little to no side effects
- Although dosage is easily regulated, it may be harder to determine the initial dose necessary to provide effective treatment as everyone’s biochemistry is different
Conclusion: Which Method is Best For You?
Determining the best method of medical marijuana consumption depends on your lifestyle, preferences, biochemistry, and medical needs. Those who suffer from chronic pain may elect for stronger methods such as extracts and vaporizing whereas those who suffer from minor/isolated pain may elect for a topical or tincture. If you have your medical marijuana card, feel free to visit us and meet with our pharmacist. Our consultations take about 15 minutes, and we’ll help you decide on a treatment plan that will work best for your condition.
Restore Integrative Wellness Center Can Help
At Restore, we act not only as a marijuana dispensary but also as a place of healing to enhance the quality of life of our patients. Our dispensary is a clean and relaxing environment, designed so you can be comfortable while receiving the care and education that you need. Please feel free to call us to book a phone consultation with our pharmacist and find the best treatment plan for you.