Smoking is the most expedient and common method of consumption. The effects of smoking are immediate and dosage can be controlled by the patient. An experienced Cannabis smoker can titrate and regulate dose to obtain the desired acute effects and to minimize undesired effects.
Marijuana vaporizers are an increasingly popular alternative to smoking. A vaporizer is a device that gently heats up Cannabis at a lower temperature, achieved with digital accuracy, releasing the active medicinal components of marijuana while producing fewer harmful byproducts. A vaporizer heats the Cannabis plant slowly causing the active ingredients to evaporate into a vapor without reaching the point of combustion. Inhalation of the vapor offers the same therapeutic benefits of smoking.
Oral ingestion of Cannabis has quite different pharmacokinetics than inhalation. The onset of action is delayed and titration of dosing is more difficult. While edibles offer a healthy and effective alternative to smoking, it is important for consumers to understand their tolerance. VPA suggests starting with a low-dose, single serving (1-5mg) until patients understand how edibles will affect them. Learn more about edibles dosing here.
Tinctures & Tonics
Cannabis can also be made into tinctures and tonics, which are then added to food and liquids, applied on the skin, or consumed directly in small amounts or by placing drops under the tongue. This is particularly useful when nausea and vomiting are present, such as when undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Tinctures and tonics are made by extracting Cannabis into a solvent such as glycerin or alcohol. As with edibles, it is best to start slow and use only a small portion until symptom relief is achieved.
Cannabis can also be applied directly onto the skin, with no psychoactive effect. Marijuana topicals, such as balms, salves, lotions, sprays and ointments can be very effective analgesics and anti-inflammatories. Marijuana topicals may provide symptom relief for arthritis, chapped skin, eczema, minor burns, muscle soreness, sunburns, swellings, joint pain, and tendonitis.
Hash & Concentrates
Concentrates are made by extracting the trichomes from the flowers of a female Cannabis plant. The extracts are processed into small blocks or oils which can then be eaten, smoked, or added to Cannabis-infused products. Concentrates have a much higher concentration of THC and other cannabinoids. Due to the high potency, they are not recommended for beginner consumers. VPA offers hash, kief and CO2 extracted concentrate options.