Medical cannabis can be ingested, inhaled, applied topically as a cream, or dissolved as a spray. Depending on the form of medical cannabis, the rate at which you experience its effects can vary.
Cannabis oil is diluted with a carrier oil, such as sunflower or avocado oil, and is used with a dropper or put into a capsule. The oil can be mixed with food or drink or placed directly under the tongue, where it is held for one minute to facilitate transfer into the blood stream.
Sprays are applied under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Topical creams can be applied directly on the skin and are absorbed into the blood stream. Topical creams can have pain-relieving effects at the site of application.
Also known as edibles. These include any food products created using cannabis, such as items made with cooking fats infused with cannabis (i.e. olive oil, coconut oil, butter). These are processed by your body’s digestion system and take up to 2 hours to reach maximum effect. The effects of edible cannabis also last longer.
Inhaled-vaporizers, e-cigarettes, joint:
Dried cannabis needs to be heated in order for CBD and THC to take effect. Vaporizers and e-cigarettes use heating elements that can activate the chemicals. Smoking medical cannabis is not recommended.
If you are using medical cannabis for the first time, it’s recommended to start with a CBD-dominant product at the lowest dose, and gradually increase your dosage until your symptom needs are met. Capsules and oil make it easier to accurately track dosage and find the lowest dose for symptom management.
For cannabis-infused foods, it’s important to exercise caution and take small amounts with lower doses of THC, as the effects of edibles can be stronger than other forms of cannabis and may result in more pronounced side effects.
To learn more about delivery methods of medical cannabis, visit our online learning module:
Medical Cannabis for Arthritis – Forms of Medical Cannabis
This tracker will help you monitor the effects of your medical cannabis treatment and communicate with your doctor about what’s working and what isn’t:
Medical Cannabis Treatment Tracker [PDF 128kb]