October 07, 2019 | Alternatives To Vape
By, Lauraine Kanders, ANP, ACNP-BC
In the recent past with regard to marijuana, we have seen attention going towards unsafe consumption methods like vaping or smoking.
You can read more on our take on Vape here. Having witnessed the dangers and health risks associated with these methods, the country is waking up again to safer options. Interest in alternative consumption forms of medical marijuana has been growing over the past several months.
In this article, we will explore some of the key alternatives to Vape.
The original cannabis plant extract has a lot of compounds like waxes, terpenes, etc besides the active ingredients like THC or CBD. Distillate is obtained by a systematic purification process of stripping out everything in the plant extract except the particular cannabinoid you seek into precise amounts.
The most common forms of distillate on the market are THC oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. But note while all CBD distillates are oils, not all cannabis oils with CBD are distillates. For medical reasons, we are interested in the pure distillate CBD Oil here – CBD would be the most prominent cannabinoid in this distillate. If you’re consuming a CBD distillate, you will tap into the therapeutic benefits of CBD but, because CBD doesn’t produce intoxicating effects, you will not get high.
You can make CBD distillate edibles or topicals as an alternative to vaping or smoking using vape pens. Using CBD distillates in edibles leave no plantlike taste in the mouth. In addition, CBD distillates can be consumed on their own and dropped sublingually (under the tongue). CBD distillate oil can also work in topicals, which are applied to the skin and absorbed.
Medical Marijuana can be used topically (on the skin) in balms, lotions, and ointments. This is because marijuana can be dissolved into a fat-soluble substance which readily enters cell membranes when applied on the skin. This is advantageous because such application will have no psychoactive qualities and eliminates the dangerous effects of smoking or vaping. Patients enjoy the added benefits of targeted relief without igniting widespread effects that alter the entire body.
Skin-application-based medical marijuana works differently than its conventional vaporized or ingested counterparts. Topical medical marijuana produces a host of localized benefits for patients seeking relief from chronic pain, tension or inflammation. Ointments, salves and patches infused with cannabinoids can provide localized relief for patients who apply the topical solution to targeted areas. The slow absorption rate of the skin allows the therapeutic properties (analgesia and anti-inflammation) to last longer in a targeted area without any risk of altered mental states. This makes Topicals ideal for workplace dosing, as well.
Topical medical marijuana treatments are available in various skin-absorption forms such as Salves, Spray, Creams, Balms, Oil, Lotion, Patches, Transdermal gels, etc. Be sure to consult your Medical Marijuana practitioner to ascertain which application is best for your treatment.
Tinctures & Oral Solutions
Medical Marijuana Tinctures are one of the most user-friendly cannabis treatment methods available to patients. Tinctures are alcohol based solutions that come in a glass bottle with a dropper. The alcohol extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana, giving a highly active compound concentration of liquid. Since they come in dark dropper bottles (to extend the shelf life of the medication by blocking out the sunlight), they’re one of the best methods of consumption for exact dosing.
Just like with edibles, you consume tinctures orally, sublingually (under the tongue) or simply infuse them into any meal. However, they are faster-acting than other medical marijuana edibles. You should notice its effects shortly after you take your dose. In particular to sublingual preparations, the blood vessels lining your mouth absorb the cannabinoids, leading to a quick onset of effects. The onset of action for tinctures is about thirty minutes to one hour and tends to last for two to four hours.
Sublingually ingested cannabis tinctures are ideal for those who are worried about the potential health risks of smoking the herb – directly or via vape or e-cigarettes. Tinctures are also well suited for those who are older, too sick, or too young to smoke or vape the herb properly. Tinctures allow individuals of all ages with medical certification to benefit from the cannabis plant and what it has to offer for pain and inflammation relief. You’ll find THC and CBD tinctures at pretty much all medical cannabis dispensaries in the U.S.
Cannabis Suppositories or Rectal Cannabis are the are the newest form of Medical Marijuana. Smoking can be hazardous to your lungs, vaping requires expensive equipment, and marijuana edibles are hard to dose. Suppositories are cocoa butter-encased bullets filled with the non-psychoactive chemical ingredient, CBD, found in marijuana and hemp that deliver a pre-measured therapeutic dose.
Inverse, an online marijuana site, suggests that human lungs aren’t very efficient at absorbing the cannabinoids from pot smoke, and the stomach’s acidic environment can destroy a lot of the active chemicals in an edible before it gets a chance to work. Suppositories, on the other hand, have a long and well-accepted history of medical use, owing to the superior absorption properties of the mucous membranes that line the human rectum. As an added benefit, you get to bypass the potentially harmful health effects of inhaling smoke. A Cannabis Suppository can be the medication of choice for cancer patients who seek pain relief and proper food intake without experiencing the “high.”
Medical Marijuana Dissolvable Powders
Formulated from all natural beet sugar and pure cannabis oil, Medical Marijuana Dissolvable Powders have recently become available in New York. The powder form is tasteless and easily dissolves into any liquid that are suitable for dosing.
In a study we came across, more than 26% of medical cannabis consumers resort to edible products instead of smokables. With their progressive growth in popularity, edibles have become a major part of the legal cannabis industry. However, until powders came along, edibles have been made using oil-based tinctures, extracts, or classic cannabutter. These are very hard to mix, time consuming and unreliable in terms of exact dose delivery.
Cannabinoid droplets behave like sugar and not oil. Sugar is very easily dissolvable in water. Powders are cannabinoid oil that is encapsulated in starch or another carbohydrate. This is what makes Powders so groundbreaking in medical marijuana. Powder dissolved in water will always have a homogeneous cannabinoid distribution making it the preferred choice of many practitioners when prescribing a marijuana solution to their patients.
Powders carry many advantages over other methods of administration. For one thing, the risk of overdosing is minimized and thus makes it safer for the inexperienced patient and/or their caregiver. Additionally, the onset of action is only 15-20 minutes which makes this a rapid treatment solution.
Cannabis oil soft-gel capsules and a range of new cannabis oil, vegan-based, hard-shell capsules are now available in dispensaries.
Capsules offer an element of simplicity, allowing healthcare practitioners to prescribe an exact milligram amount to a patient. Capsules include a pre-measured dose and are a viable option for medical marijuana certified patients who do not want to use syringes to measure their dose or who want to reduce errors in measuring their dosage. Capsules, unlike edibles, do not contain sugar and excess fat. In addition, they are easy to transport and add to medication administration boxes and this makes it effortless when integrating into a patient’s medication administration plan.
Based on third-party research conducted by Cannabis Evidence, an online resource in the field of medical cannabis research with some 700 patients, 3 out of every 4 preferred alternative formulations to smoking cannabis. Also, the majority of these patients prefer a capsule/tablet over other oral dosage forms like oils.
A word of caution here, though. Since this product is being absorbed through the digestive system, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour for onset effects to be felt. As patients or consumers wait for the onset of action, they may grow impatient and consume more which, can in turn, lead to over consumption. Ingesting capsules is a medically informed decision and there is a need for continuous dialogue between patients and practitioners to ensure that their cannabis therapy is working as intended.
Medical Marijuana Tablets
Tablets are a fast and simple way to take your medical marijuana. You simply take a tablet with the required, prescribed dosage with a glass of water or other non-alcoholic beverage. To reduce nausea, you may consider taking the product with some food.
Prescribed marijuana tablets make a great alternative since you have all the benefits of cannabis without the downsides of smoking or the risks of vape. Not to mention, with weed tablets you know the exact quantity of medication you are receiving. Moreover, these are ideal for patients who are looking to be discrete when using medical marijuana.
Tablets come in different varieties and potencies, depending on their licensed manufacturers. Tablets work just like edibles and are meant for immediate release – which means, you swallow them, and your stomach absorbs them. However, since your metabolizing mechanism will be unique to you, immediate-release tablets, like edibles, can take up to three hours or as little as 45 minutes for the effects to show.
Side Note on Microtablets
You will also see some dispensaries offering microtablets. These are typically mint-flavored micro-tablets containing about 5mg of active cannabinoids. Taken orally, effects occur in 30 minutes, lasting for 2-3 hours. Some say they are “chalky” in taste but prefer this method of administration to vaping.
Lozenges & Candies
These currently represent a $1.8 billion market , according to the Brightfield Group, a leading cannabis market research firm. Among U.S. adults over age 45 who consume cannabis candies, 59% are using them to treat chronic pain and 19% to alleviate nausea.
Whether to treat chronic pain, get a good night’s sleep or relieve the side effects of cancer treatments, older adult patients are increasingly embracing cannabis-infused candies, lozenges, gummies and chocolates. This is especially true with older patients who are opposed to smoking or vaping cannabis. As we age, the lack the dexterity needed in measuring out the right number of drops of cannabis tincture can be a challenge for some. For such patients, eating a half a gummy or sucking on a mint-flavored cannabis lozenge is an easy alternative.
Adults who possess a medical marijuana card in their state or visit a recreational state, can purchase edibles containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive compound in cannabis. From a medicinal perspective, THC is especially effective when combined with cannabidiol (CBD), another important, but non-intoxicating, compound found in cannabis. For this reason, more and more elder patients who are cannabis candy consumers regularly use a CBD-only lozenge or candy like product to avoid the cognitive changes.
Whichever non-Vape alternative you decide upon, be sure to consult your medical practitioner before you dose. Registered medical marijuana practitioners will assess your unique requirement and prescribe the right formulation and dosage for you. If you are not yet certified, you can inquire about the process or simply send your documents for review to see if you may qualify for a medical marijuana card.
At Medical Marijuana Recs NY, we provide our visitors with online video chats to become certified for Medical Marijuana in New York State. Our group of NPs and doctors strive towards helping get certified. Click here to see if you qualify!