- Cannabis has become a plant that is making a strong emergence in medical cabinets, especially those of people suffering from any kind of chronic illness.
- There are several and varied means of consuming and using it, and they involve much more than the typical burning at high temperatures: they range from rectal and vaginal suppositories, tinctures, ointments, and oils to all kinds of medicines.
- Take note if you want to get the most out of a plant that never stops surprising us in all of its different ways.
Any regular user knows that smoking cannabis is one of the greatest pleasures on earth. However, there are lots of different ways to consume this plant, and it can also benefit those who prefer different means than the standard methods in order to make the most of the plant's properties for medical reasons.
Even regular smokers acknowledge that anyone should use a vaporiser from time to time, as they have lots of advantages. It is true that they are a great investment; however they are also a good purchase for the use of people with delicate health. They have significant benefits for the body, as they do not require burning the plant to be enjoyed.
With a vaporiser, cannabis is heated to a lower temperature than with burning until it produces a vapour that is inhaled and which contains the active components of cannabis intact. Also, they are adjustable in terms of the working range: the temperature at which different cannabinoids present in the plant vaporise is between 157° and 220° Celsius and it is possible to play between them. Low temperatures provide a more calming effect and those that are on the upper part of the scale produce a more bracing and physical effect.
Apart from that, they are discreet instruments, therefore they can be used almost anywhere without anyone else deducing what is being consumed, as they look like a simple electronic cigarette. Also, they ensure that the odour of the cannabis is not released into the air, and even so, they maintain a fresh flavour and effect. They also protect the lungs from irritation, while combating it at the same time.
The taste of smoke is essentially that of carbon monoxide, therefore with vaporisation, users will discover the true, authentic and unique aroma contained in the terpenes of the plants. Of course, you can enjoy the flavour of the smoke, which is very distinctive from one strain to the next; however burning strongly alters the aroma, while vaporisation allows it to reach the senses of the consumer intact.
Many experts believe that smoking is the least effective method of using cannabis as a medicine. In fact, its medicinal power can be magnified when essential oils are produced using the cannabis plant. These oils are basically concentrates obtained from the dried plant using different extraction methods. We are talking about a substance that, unlike other extractions that require burning (dabs, shatters....), is consumed orally and which has potent medicinal effects when it comes to fighting several illnesses such as cancer and especially epilepsy.
The high CBD content that is obtained with this type of oils (while having little or no THC) means that even children and new-born babies can use them as medicines for their treatments. This form of consuming cannabis is changing the lives of many patients; therefore its use has become a target for many associations of patients and a success for a significant number of others.
Normally, specific plants are grown in order to produce these oils, the level of each of their components is controlled and they are modified until the appropriate amount is obtained according to the needs of the patient. The oil is usually taken in capsules or small plastic recipients (like many other medicines) in order to be ingested directly or mixed with foods. Experts recommend not taking an excessive amount, although the effects take a while to appear, they are very potent. The best thing is to be patient with the dose.
Another of the most common and effective means of applying cannabis is topically. Creams, ointments and other transdermal salves act quickly on the skin, muscles and bones. Since Ancient times, mystics and shamans have used it to relives all kinds of knocks and pains and today physiotherapists do so themselves. These treatments are comprised of a fatty base that absorbs a large quantity of resin and they are "produced" by extracting the cannabis using a solvent.
The product obtained is normally mixed with beeswax and other types of substances that give it different consistencies depending on the result that you want to obtain. This type of cannabis derived product, in all of its forms (creams, ointments, etc.) has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore it is usually in high demand among people with arthritis, arthrosis, back problems, psoriasis and tendonitis.
If there is anything that defines the cannabinoids found in cannabis it is that they are not soluble in water, while they are soluble in fats and organic solvents. It is precisely for this reason that when applied, they can be absorbed much better than with any other substance. Also, the skin is home to lots of receptors of the endocannabinoid system, therefore they act effectively with these treatments and improve the patient's state of health. It is only necessary to apply the products to the affected area, with the help of a little rubbing, for a period of between of between 30 to 60 seconds.
Drugs and tinctures
Another common form is sublingual application, putting cannabis oil under the tongue with the help of a dropper. In this case, the end product has been created using ethyl alcohol and has to be macerated in the fridge for four to six weeks.
It can also be ingested in the form of drugs made using cannabis, as a compound known as Sativex (one of the most common and among the few allowed in Europe). The latter is designed for those that suffer from muscle stiffness and joint pain associated with illnesses such as multiple sclerosis. In any of these cases it is necessary to wait for a few days in order to see the desired effects.
Another drug, which is about to come onto the market, Epidiolex, has been devised to treat a rare form of epilepsy that affects children, Dravet syndrome. Clinical tests have shown that it manages to reduce attacks in children by 40% after they receive treatment with Epidiolex for 14 weeks. It is closer than any other CBD based product to obtaining approval from the American regulator, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
The enormous importance of this event is due to the fact that, up until now, the medical benefits of cannabis lacked anything close to official backing. In this case, after having obtained the conclusions as part of a research study that follows the guidelines of the FDA, we would be talking "for the first time" about what, according to experts, could be considered as "empirical evidence". In other words, this is the first clear sign of a cannabis medicine that could very soon receive the approval of the American institution.
Rectal and vaginal administration
Although it is rarer, cannabis can be applied in the form of a suppository through the rectum or vagina. In both cases, the effects are noted quickly and they are more potent than with any other method. With regard to rectal application, it is normally used to treat gastrointestinal problems in order for the cannabinoids not to be digested by the stomach. According to doctors, this is the only option (at the moment) for people suffering from a problem of this kind.
Meanwhile, the vaginal suppository is designed for women with the aim of reducing their menstruation pain at the time or before its onset. The first one to come onto the market is called Foria Relief; it is a kind of miraculous tampon (almost) in the shape of a small cannabis capsule that is inserted directed into the vagina in order to provide a potent source of relief. This is a great solution for many women that cannot move from bed during the delicate days that the pain lasts, and this situation is normally accompanied by weight gain, swelling, and mood swings.
This vaginal suppository only contains three ingredients; organic cacao butter, THC oil and CBD oil. While THC acts to block pain, CBD is an anti-inflammatory and anti-spasm agent that works to treat the spasms that are caused by ovulation. It also slows down the electrical signalling of muscles, allowing them to relax and it reduces cramping.
In the form of lubricant gel
The undoubted benefits of cannabis for the senses have also led to the emergence of products for encouraging or improving the sexual life of users. However, at the moment, only women can benefit from the first sexual lubricant on the market, which promises the incredible feat of "15 minutes long orgasms". However, those that have tried it, somewhat doubt the veracity of this statement.
This lubricant gel is applied directly to the intimate areas and it contains medical cannabis oil (with THC and cannabinoids) from cannabis grown in California. According to its creators, it is 100% natural, edible and vegan; and it has a low pH level in order to encourage skin care.
The result? The viscous, soft and slippery substance with cannabinoids causes the muscles of the vagina to relax and the tissues become much more sensitive, "allowing the user to enjoy continuous orgasms". Although it is designed for women, many men have also tried it for evident reasons. And they say that they really experience a warming with a certain tingling sensation where they most need it.
Using transdermal patches
Research is also being carried out into the use of cannabis through transdermal THC patches that stick to the skin easily and which are used to relieve pain, anxiety, muscle spasms, nausea, insomnia, and loss of appetite. These patches gradually release a relatively high dose of this cannabinoid and they are applied in areas where a lot of veins converge, such as wrists.
According to accounts from people that have begun testing them, the effects are drastically different to other ways of consuming cannabis. The fact is that when smoked, the effects of cannabis are revealed in a few minutes, while with these patches many hours are required as the effects are more long-lasting, as well as not being hallucinogenic.
For example, in clinical tests for a DELTA-8-THC transdermal medical patch, in permeability studies on human skin for THC, the average stable level is obtained after 1.4 hours and it is maintained for at least 48 hours.
However, cannabinoids are very large molecules in terms of being able to easily go through skin, therefore scientists are aiming to modify the size of cannabinoid molecules so that this can be carried out more easily. A transdermal administration system is also being studied for cannabidiol (CBD) using ethosomes. Ethosomes are soft vesicles that are able to encapsulate very large soluble molecules, such as cannabinoids, and carry them through skin.
72 Hours after transdermal administration on the shaved abdomen of mice with that ethosome system, stable concentrations of CBD in the blood were reached after 24 hours. The quantity of CBD that manages to penetrate the skin, following 12 and 73 hours of the patch being applied, is 23% and 43%, respectively, of the initial dose.
A recent study suggested that the longest living people on earth owed it to their hemp based diet. Today there are lots of foods that include seeds from this plant and all kinds of cannabis essences that can be added to your regular food in order to give it a new and cannabis touch; and in order to benefit from its nutrients.
For example, hemp incorporates vitamins such as A, B, C, D. E; fatty Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids and amino acids. They are all antioxidants that ensure an energy filled start to the day, and afterwards, they allow you maintain a strong mind throughout the entire day. It also contributes to good cardiovascular health and, even if taken in small doses, it is an essential component for reducing the risk of cancer.
If you want to add flowers or even cannabis leaves to food items instead of seeds, there are several specialised books with this kind of recipe and an increasing number of shops (in places that have legalised the plant) that specialise in the sale of all kinds of products that list cannabis among their ingredients. It is possible to create special butters, salads, cereals, cakes, biscuits and even sweets with different levels of CBD and THC, depending on the medical reasons for eating them.
Drinks are also a great option. Purely medical infusions are perfect for those that suffer from all kinds of stomach or kidney problems or issues relating to nervous system: they relax, encourage sleep and help to maintain balance within the body. The time has come to replace camomile and lime flower with sachets of cannabis that would work well for many fans of this drink, at any time of day or night.
However, it is necessary to remember that cannabis is water soluble, which means that it cannot be dissolved in water. However, for someone that wants to able to note its effects gradually, a simple infusion would be ideal for trying cannabis for the first time. If you want to increase the effect, it would only be necessary to add a little milk, a fatty substance that would allow the cannabinoids to join up more effectively with other molecules.
On the other hand, there are people that have businesses based around brewing cannabis beer, as, coincidentally, the hops in this drink come from the same family of vegetables as cannabis itself. There are also those that produce coffee with it in order to give their mornings a new flavour and to strengthen its effects. Other specialise in chocolate milkshakes with cannabis, and spirits which, while not containing THC, cause an uproar in countries that are still not used to seeing cannabis products in supermarkets.
These are drinks that, while tasting delicious, also contain medical properties for people that take them (like those that drink milkshakes in order to control cholesterol). Nonetheless, there is a wide range of products and ways of consuming them in order to take advantage of all the properties of cannabis. You just need to choose the one than it is best suited to your needs.