Florida has several different options for administering medical cannabis, Florida medical cannabis patients can vape (inhale a vapor), take capsules (the simplest form of edible), use sublingual tinctures, intraoral sprays, or topical preparations.
Florida is taking steps toward incorporating more methods of legally ingesting and inhaling medical cannabis. Understanding the different methods of using medical cannabis is important for achieving the desired therapeutic result. At Neurology of Cannabis clinic, we take the time to educate our patients on how different administration methods can be safely used to improve quality of life while reducing the chances of side effects.
Edibles versus Inhalation — Why They Affect Patients Differently
Edibles impact you differently than inhalation because each delivery method takes a different pathway to enter your bloodstream.
Here’s how smoking inhaling cannabis works:
When cannabis is heated the acidic form of Delta-9-THC is decarboxylated to a more biologically active compound. This active compound is inhaled as a vapor (or smoke), enters the lungs, and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Vaping, which is an alternative to smoking, is currently available to Florida medical marijuana patients. Vaping, which involves heating rather than burning the plant material, releases much less tar and hydrocarbons than smoking. Vaping allows for the rapid effect of inhaling medicine without producing some of the unwanted byproducts.
Here’s how edibles work:
With edibles, medical marijuana has to work its way through your digestive system before entering your bloodstream. It has to be digested by your stomach and metabolized by your liver. Remember, the main psychoactive compound in medical marijuana is Delta-9-THC. With edibles the Delta-9 THC is metabolized by the liver into 11-Hydoxy-THC. The 11-Hydoxy metabolite is more potent than the Delta-9 compound and results in a more intense effect. The effects of 11-Hydoxy-THC also last longer than those of inhaled Delta-9-THC. Taken together, this means that when cannabis is consumed by swallowing it takes longer to feel the effects, however, the effects last longer and are more intense. This can be good or not so good. For patients who need longer-lasting benefits, edibles are a convenient and efficient way to medicate. For patients who are new to cannabis, using edibles can result in unpleasant side effects, especially if they consume a second dose while waiting for the first dose to ‘kick-in’.
When it comes to deciding the right dose and delivery method for your needs, the first step is to consult an experienced, professional medical marijuana doctor, such as Dr. Daniel P. Stein at Neurology of Cannabis in Sarasota. Professionals such as Dr. Stein can look at your specific medical and lifestyle needs and determine which administration method will offer the best chances for success.
For most patients getting to the most effective dose and administration method takes several weeks. We like to ‘start low and go slow’, especially with patients new to cannabis. With cautious dosing, unwanted side effects such as drowsiness or lightheaded sensations can be avoided. Dr. Stein and his staff are available every step of the way to provide guidance during this trial and error process.
Choosing the Right Option for You
The right delivery method and dosing amount depends on your situation. Some factors to keep in mind include:
Timing symptom relief. Vaping (or smoking when available) will have a much faster impact, usually within minutes, and remain effective for several hours. Edibles may take 60-90 minutes to take effect, but remain effective for 4-6 hours. The right combination for each patient depends on the type of symptoms, the time of day treatment is needed, and other factors.
Price. Different delivery methods have different prices, and prices can also vary from treatment center to treatment center.
Discretion. Edibles may provide a more discrete delivery method compared to vaping or smoking.
You may need to try more than one option before you find the perfect fit. With time, though, you can find effective treatment for conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and much more.
Compassionate, Professional Care
At Neurology of Cannabis, we provide high-quality care to our patients. Dr. Stein has more than a quarter of a century of patient care, and his background in neurology gives him unique insights into the impact different delivery methods will have on your condition. His friendly staff is there to help you, and their simple, inclusive pricing model makes getting the help you need an affordable reality. Contact us today to make an appointment and learn more about your medical marijuana options.