I got my card, but what to buy?
Medical marijuana products – or routes of administration – have come a long way since the days of just burning flower buds. Whether inhaled, eaten, or used topically, there is a product for every patient. While some find the variety exciting, many new patients often feel overwhelmed by the options, especially if these products weren’t discussed during their consultation.
These seven medical marijuana products are a staple at every Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC). They may have different brand names, but the routes of administration will always be the same.
**This article is for educational use only, please consult with a certified cannabis physician before using any of these product**
INHALATION Medical marijuana Products
Good, old fashion flower buds are far and away the most well known and diverse product that can be purchased. Flower is most commonly smoked in either a pipe, water pipe (bong), rolled into a cigarette (joint), or a cigar (blunt).
Flower can also be vaporized in one of the many products on the market today such as a Pax or a Volcano. While vaping is a form of inhalation, flower buds are not directly combusted, making this a cleaner and safer alternative to smoking.
Some patients may choose to cook with cannabis by infusing cannabis into oils or fats (i.e butter) to cook with. However, dispensaries offer oral and edible products to save patients the hassle of the decarboxylation process.
Flower is a full spectrum product. Everything that the cannabis plant has to offer, from cannabinoids, to terpenes, to fatty acids, can all be obtained in this route of administration.
Flower is usually sold by the eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) and is either whole flower, “minis”, or already ground. The difference between these products, is simply the size of the buds themselves, allowing MMTCs to sell flower at a price point affordable for everyone, usually in the range of $25-$60 for the eighth. Flower can also be purchase as a pre-rolled joint, however this is the most expensive way to purchase medications.
2) Vapor cartridges
Other products can be distilled down to oils of specific concentrates. This process is generally done either with a solvent (such as ethanol) or without a solvent (such as carbon dioxide and heat/pressure)
This extraction method allows MMTCs to create medications in specific proportions such as high THC products, 1:1, 4:1, 8:1, or any variation of CBD:THC products. The route of administration of these concentrates is your preference.
Vaping is an inhalation product that is popular with younger users, but also gaining steam with older demographics as well.
Inhalation medications are notable for their quick onset, however many patients understandably prefer not to smoke flower. Vaping is easy to use, faint of odor, and is conveniently discreet making it an extremely popular product.
Vapor cartridges require a battery to use these medications. It is important to note that every MMTC has a vaporizer product specific to their own franchise, as well as a universal cartridge known as a 5-10 C-Cell cartridge.
3) Crumbles, Shatters, and Waxes
Oil can also be purchased in various forms such as crumble, shatter, or wax. The consistency of these products vary based on various processing methods. For more detailed information on the various dabbing oils you can check out a great article here.
These oils are mostly used in a water pipe known as an “oil rig” through a process known as dabbing. The benefit of dabbing is it allows the patient to obtain a larger single dosage of medication than through a vapor cartridge. Please note, this route is for the most experienced cannabis patients.
For dabbing 101 information you can check out a quick video here.
Oral medical marijuana Products
Four years after the legalization of medical cannabis, edibles have finally hit the market in the State of Florida.
Edibles are one of the most popular medications because they’re familiar and comfortable. Gummies, chocolate bars, and baked goods are delicious to eat while administering an accurate dose of medication. In the state of Florida, edibles are sold in 100mg containers with ten 10mg doses in each package.
As of this publishing, Trulieve is the only Florida MMTC with edibles on the shelves, with other MMTCs expecting to roll out edibles by the end of 2020.
5) Syringe Concentrates
The syringe concentrate was the go-to oral route of administration before edibles hit the market and still remains popular with many patients. The syringe can push out a dosage of oil as small or large as a patient desires. We recommend to patients to squeeze out a dose onto a toothpick and let it absorb under the tongue.
Patients can also cook or bake a concentrate directly into a recipe or squeeze onto a snack to eat directly.
Please note that eating cannabis and absorbing it under your tongue are two different routes of administration. Both take time to absorb (unlike the immediate onset of inhalation) and can result in greater psychoactivity (“high”) in smaller doses than inhaling.
Generally eating cannabis takes longer and is more psychoactive compared to this route of sublingual absorption.
These products are popular with older patients and patients who don’t want to inhale cannabis. Some patients will also use oral mediations with inhalation products for both immediate and longer lasting relief.
6) Liquid Tinctures
There is a bit of confusion between liquid tinctures and the distillate concentrates. In fact, they look quite similar and are both used orally. They can be directly absorbed under the tongue or taken with food.
The main difference is that in distillate concentrates the cannabinoids (i.e. THC and CBD)are distilled and extracted for a highly concentrated oil. In liquid tinctures, these cannabinoids are infused into the solution. Originally the solution used to be an alcohol of sorts, but more common today are fatty substances such as coconut oil.
One of our local dispensaries, Curaleaf, sums it up best in this article here.
Liquid tinctures are popular for the many flavored varieties they come in such as lemon or garlic. This allows patients to add their medications and a little into their meals or beverages.
7) Topical Skin Creams
Topical skin creams are self explanatory. Patient feedback is generally mixed; some patients swear by them and others claim to have received no benefits. In my own personal experience, it is comparable to Icy-Hot. Try it and see for yourself!
Something for everyone
Many patients on their medical cannabis journey learn quickly there is no right or wrong way to go about treatment. For some patients it may be one small dose of one product, others may use a few of these products throughout the day for a variety of relief. The important thing is knowing what options are available, how to use these options, and making an educated decision on what the right treatment is for you!
Are you a medical cannabis patient and have tried some of these products? What are using in your treatment plan? We would love to hear feedback from patients!
Continued health and wellness to you all.