Medical Cannabis can be used in many different forms and via many different routes. Depending on that specific form and route taken, there will be a different onset of the medication, how long it will last and what type of experience the patient gets. Florida law permits patients to utilize it as Oral, Sublingual, Topical, Vaporized, Rectal and Smokable with edibles coming soon. Make sure you experiment around to find out which one works better for you. Also keep in mind that orals have a very slow onset when compared to vaporizing which is almost immediately.
The oral route is very popular but sometimes difficult to dose due to different metabolism and absorption rates. It has a slow onset at 30-90 minutes so make sure not to over medicate. Also it will give you a longer relief since it will last 6-8 hrs depending on the patient and the amount used. Anything ingested orally and swallowed falls under this category like capsules and oils and soon edibles.
Usually used in tinctures forms which are created by soaking cannabis in very high-proof alcohol creating a very potent medication. Cannabis tinctures are dosed sublingual – applied under the tongue or to the lining of the mouth and letting it sit for 10-15 sec. This method bypasses the GI system making it ideal with those that have GI absorption issues. Start tincture dosing at 2.5 milligrams of THC and titrate up to avoid over medicating which is fairly easy with this method. Onset is faster than with the oral route at around 20-30 minutes and last 6-8 hrs.
Vaporizing cannabis heats the active ingredients to a boil, turning them into an inhalable vapor. While vaporizing avoids the health drawbacks of smoking, it delivers terpenes and cannabinoids to the bloodstream just as fast. Vape pens are the 1# choice by patients but also patients can vape flower in cups or pods available only in a few dispensaries.The process of vaporizing is fairly similar as smoking; inhale, hold for three to five seconds, and exhale.
As technology advances, methods are being created to enhance the absorption of cannabinoids through the skin. Patients have the option of purchasing creams infused with THC & CBD, which are often used to relieve pain and muscle spasms in a localized area. Topicals don’t get you high making them a great choice for pain relief when working or on the go. A new line if topicals, called transdermal, allows the medicine to be absorbed through the skin and then delivered to the bloodstream. They give a full body relief and have a slow release of cannabinoids making then a great choice for the elderly. Onset is fairly slow at 30-60 min but they can last a long time, some even last 72 hrs.
Not a preferred one and not commonly used but has been gaining popularity among some patients specially those that have problems swallowing, cannot vape or need specific relief in the rectal area, lower back or pelvic area. It has a great absorption rate due to the large venous plexus in that region and because it bypasses the GI system.
Since April of 2019 patients can smoke the actual flower. By law they can buy up to 2.5 oz every 35 days and be in possession of 4 oz at a time. Smoking it gives the patient a rapid onset but shorter lasting effect when compared to oral and transdermal Also the full entourage effect with other cannabinoids present and seems to be a more cost effective. There are risk associated with it and like airway inflammation, chronic cough and bronchitis so every patient has to discuss it with their Cannabis doctor and sign a new informed consent to get approved.