So… you smoke it right?

Ask the average citizen how patients consume medical cannabis and many, if not most, would say, “Roll it and smoke it.”

That shouldn’t come as a surprise given the unfair depictions of cannabis users in media over several decades.

But the fact is the medical community, including Natural Health Services (NHS), strongly advises against combustion methods, such as joints, because burning cannabis can release dozens of toxins and irritate the throat and lungs.

Still, inhalation remains the quickest way to deliver cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, into the bloodstream. Which may explain why cannabis users, new and old, are ditching the rolling papers and turning to vaporizers.

Vaporizers (portable ones, at least) are relatively discreet, often emit a less offensive cannabis odour, and — most importantly — far less harsh on the throat and lungs than smoking.

Moreover, most vaporizers now have adjustable temperature settings, allowing the user some control over the effect as the therapeutic compounds in cannabis, such as THC, CBD and terpenes, like pinene and limonene activate, at different boiling points.

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Another alternative to smoking is, of course, edible oils. The effects last longer but take about an hour to kick in. (Cautionary Note: The effect is typically much stronger because the liver converts Delta 9 THC into 11-Hydroxy THC, which can be 4-5 times more potent than vaping or smoking cannabis.)

If you are handy in the kitchen, you can use your licensed producer’s cannabis oil or flower to make many other forms of delivery methods.

Always be aware that when using cannabis flower in the kitchen you’ll need to place the finely ground cannabis flower on parchment paper and baking tray in an oven set to 220-235 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes — this process is often referred to as decarboxylation or decarbing.

Tinctures, cannabis butter and cannabis coconut oil for edibles, topicals or suppositories are all great ways to ingest or apply topically, as well. However, edibles, creams and tinctures are not legally available for purchase, yet, but you can make them with a product purchased through a licensed producer, or, your plants if you have a license to grow.

Click here for a list of authorized licensed producers and products 

Feel free to stop in and see your friendly neighbourhood NHS Bud Genius for further info as well!

— Written by Kait Shane, Natural Health Services. Follow Kait on Twitter @Medikait.

For further insight into all things cannabis, don’t forget to check out The Cannabis Show (new episodes every Wednesday) and connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The Cannabis Show is also available as an audio podcast, subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Overcast.

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