When considering medical cannabis, many patients ultimately decide against the treatment because they don’t like the idea of smoking. If you have a qualifying condition but have not considered marijuana because of this aversion, there is good news. There are many alternative ways to enjoy the benefits of medical cannabis, one of which is likely to be acceptable to most people. Cannabis oils, concentrates, tinctures and extracts are available for a variety of medical issues and can provide the same relief.

Oils and extracts are derived from the cannabis plant, and processed into a concentrated form. Most oils which can be purchased at a dispensary are created by chemical extraction, which utilizes a solvent to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Terpenes and flavonoids are also added to the oil. Cannabis oils are efficient and effective, typically requiring less product to achieve the desired result.

Alternatives to Smoking Flower

Cannabis oil does not take effect as quickly as smoking, but it is considered a more rapid form of relief than ingesting edibles. Oils come in a variety of potencies, from non-intoxicating CBD to psychoactive THC concentrated oils.

Experts believe that the most efficient method of taking cannabis oil is sublingually. The underside of the tongue has mucous membranes which provide the oils with direct access to the bloodstream. If the oil is transmitted into the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach, it is more bioavailable and works more rapidly.

Common alternatives to smoking cannabis flower include the following methods of administration:

  • Tinctures are cannabis-infused liquids which are ingested orally by placing a few drops under the tongue.
  • Capsules are filled with cannabis oil and are ingested like any other pill or capsule. Many people choose to start with a low dose and increase quantity if needed.
  • Vaporizing aka vaping, while not smoking (there is no significant combustion) may still bother some patients who do not want to inhale their medication. A vaporizing cartridge is attached to a battery and the patient inhales the vapor.

Types of Cannabis Oils

CBD oil is a non-intoxicating alternative utilized to treat a broad spectrum of ailments, including aches, pains, skin irritation and inflammation. CBD oil is most commonly delivered as a tincture or in a capsule.

THC oil is used medically for pain, nausea and inflammation. It provides intoxicating and euphoric effects, unlike CBD which does not have intoxicating properties. These oils are delivered via tinctures, vapors, or capsules.

Ingestible oils can be consumed with food or drinks, or can be obtained in capsule form. However, as noted above, administering oil in this way makes it less bioavailable. The cannabinoids have to pass through the stomach and the liver before they begin working. A patient’s diet and metabolism may affect the viability of this option for true relief.

Dosing Considerations

In order to qualify for medical cannabis in Florida, an individual must get a recommendation from a qualified physician or medical group. These professionals will help you to understand how to approach dosing. It is generally acceptable practice to “start low and go slow”. A patient can start on low does and monitor the effects, gradually increasing dosage as they need it. This also gives them the opportunity to assess how the oils affect their bodies, and adjust if necessary.

More is not always better, and a few drops may be effective. Start with small dosages to find the right amount for you. Dr. Daniel P. Stein of Neurology of Cannabis can provide guidance and advice regarding administration, effectiveness and dosage, and help you to find the right medical cannabis solution for you.