Cannabis and the flowering female plant have been used internationally for a number of uses for centuries. Methods of growing, harvesting, drying and curing the product have been refined, studied and smoked for longer than I can imagine. However, what many people foreign to the topic don’t know is that smoking is not the only way to get a dose.C
Yes, toking, chiefing, puffing, hitting, or ripping a joint, bong, blunt, vaporizer, steamroller, chillum, nail, or bowl has and always will be the traditional mode of ingestion for cannabis. However, with developments in technologies, extraction methods and infusions, we are able to introduce THC and other cannabinoids into our system without the use of our lungs. In recent years we have seen a large growth in the number of companies extracting using closed-loop extraction systems which use a solvent to pull the desired cannabinoid compounds out of the cannabis and into a high potency concentrate. These concentrates have been used to make edibles, tincture, patches, oils, creams, salves, and capsules. Let’s talk about a few of these.
Edibles: Often used in reference to different foods, gummies, chocolates and baked goods that have some form of cannabis infused into them using butter or oil. Depending on the infusion methods used to extract the cannabis/cannabinoids into oil or butter, dosing can range anywhere from 1mg or less to upwards of 600 mg or higher per edible. The effects can be felt anywhere from 30 minutes after consumption to 90 minutes after consumption. The variables involved with the onset of, and effectiveness of, the edible have to do with your metabolism, ability to process the cannabinoids, and the type of food eaten in conjunction with the edible. It is always best to start with a very low dose (5-10mg) and work your way up after waiting for a period of 1 hour. In addition to eating edibles and waiting, it is also advised that you eat a fatty food such as avocado, peanut butter or bacon. The high fat content aids in the body’s ability to process and metabolize the cannabinoids more effectively. By following these guidelines, you can begin to understand what your tolerance for edibles is and dose effectively and safely.
Tinctures: Tinctures can be taken orally, sublingually, or added to a beverage of your choosing. Using the extraction methods listed above, companies are capable of isolated desired cannabinoids in solution to be dosed out accurately. You can find tinctures of different ratios of THC to CBD for the desired high and medicated effect. These tinctures are usually sold in 2 fl. oz bottles with eye droppers for accurate dosing. The solution in which the cannabinoids are portioned include, alcohol, safflower oil, hempseed oil, and glycol.
Transdermal Patches: Much like the nicotine patches used for people trying to ditch the habit of cigarettes, transdermal patches are a great medium to deliver cannabinoids into your system. Our skin is resistant to a number of external solvents. However, when prolonged exposure is maintained with certain compounds over thin skin areas, it is a discrete and efficient means of delivery. Our skin is porous and can deliver medicine directly to our blood stream. When using transdermal patches it is very important to keep in mind that our skin becomes more porous and hydrophilic when soaked over long periods of time. Our skin becomes 3.3 times more absorbent after a long soak in hot water. Patches are available in cannabinoid specific compounds such as THC, THC-A, CBD, CBC, CBN, and 1:1 CBD:THC ratios.
Creams and Salves: Topical lotions have been used for years as a means of delivering drugs transdermally. Much like the way the patches can deliver cannabinoids to the system, creams and salve tend to do the same. Using emu oil as a base, the skin is capable of absorbing many of the compounds present in the solution. You can find creams and salves that contain many of the desirable cannabinoids present in cannabis to aid with back pain, arthritis, joint pain, sciatica and muscle soreness.
Capsules: Pill form cannabis has been around for a number of years but has evolved from the synthesized forms of THC to utilizing to the more recent extraction technologies to dose accurate and effective milligrams to body. Using a broader range of cannabinoids allows for our bodies to process them together, thus increasing the efficacy of the products. It is recommended that you keep an eye on the milligrams of cannabis you can handle on edibles before jumping into high potency capsules and pills.
This industry has evolved immensely and will only continue to do so. The examples listed above are just a small sign that this plant and its benefits have only begun to be discovered. With the ongoing research and development of these products, we can better treat ailments and pains that other medicines cannot. For many people out there that cannot or choose not to smoke, there are clearly alternatives available.