It’s in the news a lot right now as more and more states look to make the use of cannabis legal. This isn’t the Mary Jane you smoked in college, though. Today’s cannabis use is as much science as it is recreation. There are also proven medical benefits to be found in cannabinoids, the part of marijuana that interacts with the brain. Medical marijuana is given as a treatment for migraines, chronic pain, nausea and it even helps children suffering from epilepsy by controlling their seizures.
The delivery methods for cannabis have gotten more sophisticated, too. The modern marijuana user can look beyond smoking weed to enjoy the benefits in a more practical and efficient way. Topical and ingestible cannabis products are here.
A Little About Cannabis
It’s important to keep in mind that cannabis, marijuana, is not legal in all areas. In fact, the legality of this substance is a little confusing. Some states in the U.S. like Colorado allow all residents to use marijuana recreationally. You can even grow it yourself in small qualities.
Other states simply “decriminalize” it, meaning you won’t be charged as severely if you have under a certain amount. There are state laws that allow the prescription use of the drug only. It’s important to know what the laws are in your area.
Under federal regulations, though, marijuana in any form remains illegal. The difference between state and federal laws is what makes it confusing but, clearly, views about this potentially helpful drug are changing globally. Recently, whole countries like Canada have made it legal.
How Cannabis Affects the Human Body
Different factors affect how your body responds to cannabis. Delivery method, for instance, makes a big difference. If you smoke it, you will feel the effects faster and for a shorter time than if you eat it or apply it topically.
It’s the chemical compounds in the plant and their concentrations that count the most, though. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the part of marijuana that promotes euphoria and cannabidiol (CBD) is the chemical that helps relieve pain. Often when purchasing cannabis products, you will see the concentrations of these two chemical compounds listed to give you an idea of the potential effect. Higher amounts of THC have a more cerebral, psychological benefit. More CBD will alleviate some of the THC effects, making the use of it therapeutic.
One of the newest delivery methods for cannabis products comes in liquid form, as in liquid that you drink. People have been making marijuana brownies for decades, but adding it to your coffee is a different approach.
So, why consider drinking it instead of old-school smoking? Inhaling marijuana exposes you to some of the same problems as smoking cigarettes. You are inhaling into your lungs potentially dangerous chemicals like:
- Hydrogen cyanide
Ingestible and topical applications of cannabis eliminate the risks of smoking and, for many, are just more pleasant.
Getting Your Drink On
People are getting all the benefits of cannabis in their favorite drink like a cappuccino or latte when there is a little extra something added. Baristas can use cannabis-infused milk to make your morning eye-opener whether you enjoy coffee or tea.
Cannabis simple syrup will appeal to the cocktail lovers. Simple syrup is an ingredient used to sweeten many alcoholic drinks and even some virgin ones. It’s a good way to get a little something extra from a cocktail, especially if you would prefer to avoid alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, you can get it infused with cannabis, too.
Most of these liquid cannabis options you can make at home or buy premade if your state allows it. Look at retailers that provide other forms of edible marijuana like brownies or cookies to see what they have to offer in liquid cannabis drinks.
You are not limited to smoking or eating marijuana, though. You can also buy or make lotions and balms infused with cannabis. The topical application allows you to enjoy the relief that cannabis provides without some of the psychoactive side effects. Using cannabis lotions keeps your head clear but you still feel better.
Marijuana-infused topicals include:
This applications method works well for those who suffer with:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle soreness
- Skin problems like dermatitis
When applied topically, the cannabis will only bind with CB2 receptors — these are the receptors that work with the CBO chemical compound. In other words, even if there is TBO in the product, you won’t feel the high associated with marijuana.
What is Transdermal Cannabis?
Transdermal cannabis is similar to topical but it is delivered as a patch. Typically, this delivery method is reserved for medical grade products but that could change over time. The patches work well for localized pain, too.
Each patch delivers the drug in small amounts over several hours. You might put on a patch on in the morning for pain relief and wear it all day long while at work. The transdermal application has only been on the market for a few years so it may not be available everywhere. Look for cannabis patches in medical or retails stores.
The future for cannabis looks promising. As an industry, cannabis is a huge money maker bringing in over 7.2 billion dollars in 2016 and, you could say, the legal market is still in its infancy. Better delivery methods like topical and ingestible products are part of the growing phenomenon.