Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have laws legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Furthermore, nine states have laws that legalize the recreational use of the substance. These laws cover both Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient, and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient. Other states have laws that specifically target the legal use of CDB only. Although the specifics regarding the amount of marijuana that individuals can carry varies from state to state, possession limits are generally high enough to cover personal medical use.
Given the mounting pressure from the public surrounding the legalization of medicinal and recreational cannabis and the growing volumes of research on its medical properties and benefits, the use of marijuana has expanded in the United States. As the expanded use has taken place, the delivery methods of the drug have also evolved. Each delivery method and treatment option have a set of advantages and disadvantages that potential users should be aware. Furthermore, some of the delivery methods have health consequences that medical professionals and patients should weigh before beginning treatment.
Doctors are legally prescribing cannabis to treat symptoms caused by chronic diseases such as the muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and loss of appetite associated with HIV. Medical conditions and diseases such as chronic pain, seizures, and Crohn’s disease are also being treated with marijuana. Such treatments require that patients and doctors elect a form of delivery, and the options include smoking, vaporizing, eating, or using an exact of the substance.
The advantage of smoking cannabis as a treatment option is that it is the least expensive and the easiest method. The option also allows for the quickest delivery of the active ingredients and regulating the dosage is simple. However, inhaling smoke into the lungs can have long-term negative consequences. Vaping is another popular method, and there is a wide range of vaporizers available to meet most budgets, including convenience pen-like vaporizers that provide the ability to consume cbd vape oil treatments on-the-go. A main advantage is that vaping offers the instant relief that smoking provides but in a less harmful manner. However, these devices require a battery that users must charge, and the electronic item needs to be warmed up before using.
Another method of consuming medical marijuana is to eat it. Edible options include cookies, brownies, gummies, and chocolates. This method has evolved greatly in the last decade, and the food options no longer have a bitter and awful taste once associated with eating cannabis. A major advantage is that it is a great alternative for people who are opposed to inhaling smoke while providing long-lasting relief. Furthermore, the dosage is easy to control, and the treatment ends up being a great-tasting snack. However, the dose can take up to several hours to take effect and, the type of high that users experience is different than smoking. Additionally, patients can elect to use tinctures or sublingual sprays. These do not hurt the lungs and are an additional option for those that do not like to smoke. Although the extract may have a mild taste, its use is simple as patients simply spray the medicine under the tongue. This option, however, can get expensive. Other available options that are not as popular include cannabis patches, suppositories, and patches, among others.
Studies, such as one published in Rheumatology by Black, Robson, Ho, Jubb, and McCabe, provide evidence of the clinical benefits of using cannabis for the treatment of certain diseases and medical conditions. As more investigations are conducted by scientists and private organizations, the popularity and use of the drug will continue to grow. Ultimately, the stigma of its use in clinical settings will likely diminish, allowing science to determine the real risks and benefits without subjectivity.