People can consume medical cannabis in a variety of ways, and different methods impact each individual differently. For example, more than 100 different types of cannabinoids and terpenes exist, not to mention the types of concentrated, pressed, or loose resin extracted from the cannabis leaves and flower.1 Before you start using medical marijuana, it’s important that you dive into the different types and how to best use medical marijuana for treatment of your severe condition or chronic pain.
Types of Medical Marijuana
There are three main varieties of cannabis, and growers have taken these strands and developed thousands of new varieties. The three main types of medical marijuana include sativa, indica, and hybrid. Sativas primarily impact thoughts and emotions and produce stimulating feelings. They can reduce depression and relieve headaches. On the other hand, indicas can make you feel tired and promote muscle relaxation, reduce stress, and aid sleep.
Most medical marijuana today is a hybrid — a cross between two or more varieties of the flower. The dominant variety in the hybrid determines what benefits you receive. For example, an indica-dominant hybrid would help you sleep instead of reducing depression like a sativa-dominant hybrid would.
How to Use Medical Marijuana
There isn’t just one way to consume medical cannabis. In fact, recent studies show that cannabinoids may help manage neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions better than smoked or vaporized medical marijuana.2 Here are some additional ways to consume medical cannabis:
- Smoking: When you wonder how to use medical marijuana, the first form you most likely think of is smoking. Smoking medical marijuana quickly delivers THC to your brain, with peak concentrations hitting in about 10 minutes.2 However, New York does not permit smoking medical marijuana.
- Vaporizing: Another option is to purchase a vaporizer that heats the cannabinoid oils until they turn into a vapor. This process reduces the amount chemical irritants you consume, and there’s less odor than if you smoked the plant.
- Ingesting: One of the safest ways to consume medical cannabis is by ingesting it. Edibles are one way to get a certain dose, but you’re prohibited from using medical marijuana edibles in New York. Instead, you can try cannabis pills made with hash or cannabis oil. Today, the FDA has approved two medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pills.3
- Applying: Depending on how you want to use medical marijuana, you can rub cannabis products on your skin along a certain problem area. Doing so is ideal for patients with arthritis, joint paint, and other areas of concern. Rubbing the products on your skin does not cause any psychoactive effects.
Staying Safe With Dosages
Start by talking to your doctor about how to use medical marijuana, and be open and honest.4 They can let you know what option is best for you as well as what dosage is correct. Start small, and continue to increase your dose if you don’t feel any effects. Contact us today if you have any additional questions about how to use medical marijuana.
1. Guide to Using Medical Cannabis. Americans for Safe Access. https://www.safeaccessnow.org/using_medical_cannabis. Accessed January 3, 2019.
2. Grant I, Atkinson JH, Gouaux B, Wilsey B. Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke. Open Neurol J. 2012;6, 18-25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358713/. Published May 4, 2012. Accessed January 3, 2019.
3. Marijuana as Medicine. National Institute of Health. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine. Updated June 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019.
4. Grinspoon P. Medical Marijuana. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/medical-marijuana-2018011513085. Published January 15, 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019.