Methods of intake & Dosing
Cannabis can be used in several different ways. Although smoking is the most commonly known method of intake, it is surely not the only - or the healthiest - one. Other methods commonly tried medicinal users of cannabis include:
- Inhalation with the use of a special vaporizing device
- Preparing tea or cookies containing cannabis
- Concentrated extracts
- Consuming raw cannabis as a vegetable, or by juicing it
Because many of these preparations have never been properly studied by medical scientists, most of what we know about them is based on experiences by actual patients.
Depending on the choice of administration form, many changes to the original chemical profile of the plant material may occur. For instance, a common factor of most administration forms is a heating step, which is essential for conversion of the cannabinoid-acids into their pharmacologically more active form (explained in more detail below). Overheating may lead to the formation of degradation products such as Cannabinol (CBN) and Delta-8-THC, both of which have potential pharmacological properties of their own. Volatile components such as the terpenes may easily get lost by evaporation, for example during the boiling of tea, or while concentrating an extract by evaporating the solvent.
On top of this, each preparation comes with its own efficiency of uptake (by intestines or the lungs) and its own set of specific metabolites formed upon consumption. Especially the difference between oral (ingested) and pulmonal (inhaled) preparations are of importance here. After all, inhaled cannabinoids and terpenes enter directly and unaltered through the lungs into the bloodstream, while ingested compounds are significantly delayed and altered by the actions of the intestines and the liver. The combination of all these factors may result in a different type and duration of effects for each cannabis medicine, even when the same type of cannabis is used in their preparation.