Ingestion Methods blog image

There are different methods you can use to receive the recreational and medicinal effects of cannabis. Each of these methods has the cannabinoids in the marijuana interact with the endocannabinoid system in a slightly different way. As a result, you can either get high, experience pain relief, reduce your inflammation or even elevate your mood depending on the way you are using marijuana. In this guide, we explain how these methods interact with the endocannabinoid system and analyze their pros and cons. That said, there are five main ways of ingesting marijuana.

1.    Smoking

Man Smoking Cannabis

This is the most popular way of receiving marijuana’s effects. The marijuana is usually rolled in some paper as a cigarette, and one side is lit as you inhale from the other end. Burning the marijuana causes the chemical structure of the cannabinoids within it to be altered. The effect of heat creates psychoactive THC, triggering the endocannabinoid system. The smoke you inhale from the marijuana cigarette may cause an uplifting sensation, conventionally known as feeling high. Through smoking marijuana, the effects of THC are relayed to your brain quickly, and you thus receive the plant’s benefits more quickly than with other methods.

Despite this fact, smoking marijuana has a few downsides. Although psychoactive THC will eventually find its way to your bloodstream and travel to the brain and around your body, most of the cannabinoid will interact with the mouth’s cannabinoid receptors. The mouth as well as its associated tissues, directly exposed to the smoke itself, will, therefore, take up most of the smoke. This leads to lower doses of marijuana overall. That said, anyone who needs unusually high doses of the drug would not significantly benefit from smoking it. This, for example, could be a person who is undergoing cancer treatment.

Smoke from marijuana is also known to cause microscopic damage to the lungs. With continuous smoking, symptoms such as inflammation, production of mucus and coughing can occur. These symptoms will disappear once you stop smoking.

2.    Vaporization

Man Vapourizing marijuana

The fast relief obtained from smoking marijuana can be achieved through vaporization. This method has none of the potential health risks smoking has. Vaporization does not heat marijuana to the point where the plant burns, eliminating the negative side effects of inhaling smoke.. However, it does heat it enough to release resins from the cannabis. In this way, our bodies can absorb the cannabinoids, and we can experience marijuana’s effects.

Although this method is fast-acting, you are still limited to having to inhale the marijuana. That reduces the bio-availability of THC within your bloodstream to about 30 percent. That means you will only be able to use less than a third of the THC you ingest.

3.    Eating the marijuana through EdiblesStack of Special Brownies

In this method, the marijuana is consumed through products such as lollipops, cupcakes and cookies. Ingesting marijuana through an edible is one of the strongest delivery methods. Cannabis that has been ingested orally is usually metabolized by the liver. As a result, more of the cannabis is converted into a form that can be used by the body. Unlike in inhalation methods which produce psychoactive THC, edibles once metabolized produce a metabolite referred to as 11-hydroxy-THC. The metabolite is four to five times more psychoactive than the THC compound itself. This metabolite is also able to cross the barrier between the brain and the bloodstream more easily, and therefore affects the brain more intensely. This results in a very powerful high.

Despite the positive effects of this method of ingestion, it has one major setback – THC’s bioavailability through oral ingestion. In edibles, the THC consumed stands at a bioavailability of four to twelve percent. A major part of the THC you ingest is turned into metabolite. It is therefore unavailable to help you relieve symptoms that THC usually acts upon. Heating edibles before you ingest them, however, has proved to be effective in increasing the bioavailability of the psychoactive compound.

4.    Cannabis Tinctures and OilsOld Time Cannabis Tincture

Medical cannabis can also be highly concentrated into an oil. The cannabis extract present in the oil is what produces he medical benefits of the drug. In the creation of these oils, a solvent is used to separate the essential oils found in cannabis from the plant material. Once proper separation has taken place, the final product has a high concentration of cannabinoids ready to be ingested. Most of the time, alcohol is used as the solvent in separation procedures. The cannabis is heated within the solvent. This activates the cannabinoids.

Tinctures and oils from cannabis are very effective in relaying very high doses of the drug throughout your system. In case you plan on having low doses of medical marijuana, you can also use this method quite efficiently. Cannabinoids are lipid-like in nature. They usually require fat to absorb them rather than water. For this reason, cannabis oils have to be infused with another carrier oil such as MCT. It is only in this way that this method can have its high bioavailability. The only setback to this method is the fact that most cannabis oils are hard to find. This could be a problem for someone who requires consistently high doses of medical marijuana.

5.    Raw CannabisArial view of a Cannabis Smoothie

In this method, marijuana is consumed fresh in the form of either juice or a smoothie. Currently, this is the only form of ingestion that is known to preserve cannabinoids in their acid form. All other methods use cannabinoids in their psychoactive or metabolite form. This is as a result of heat or the aging of marijuana buds. The older the bud, the lesser cannabinoid acids it has. As such, raw cannabis ingested through this method has to be fresh. Ingesting cannabis raw allows your body to interact with hundreds of more cannabinoids than when you take the drug in other forms. In fact, one study has shown that ingesting raw cannabis in rodents has shown no signs of psychoactive THC, the main component in some other ways of ingesting the drug.

Do you have questions on medical marijuana? Feel free to contact us today.