This article was originally published on The Medical Cannabis Community, and appears here with permission.

Medical Cannabis in the Modern Day: A Diversity of Choices Beyond Flower

Visiting a cannabis dispensary can be an overwhelming experience, but in a good way. Patients are often amazed at just how many options there are to choose from. Long gone are the days of your local dealer having one purported “sativa” and one “indica” strain of flower with the occasional pot brownie for sale. Today, patients can choose from a multitude of options, including a wide variety of confections and edibles, vape pens, concentrates, even transdermal patches! While each formulation has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, many patients find combination therapy to be the most effective and use different products to help meet their treatment gals and needs. This article will examine some of the many options available to medical cannabis patients today.

Vaporization: Dry Flower, Lower Heat and Flavorful Vapor

The first method of smokeless cannabis consumption to discuss is simply using a dry herb vaporizer to create a smokeless vapor from the buds that contain the cannabinoids and terpenoids from the flower, which can then be consumed just as one would smoke, but without the tar and toxins that come with smoking just about anything. A recent 2016 study discusses the benefits of “therapeutic cannavaping” by stating it “could be an efficient route for cannabinoids administration because less concentrated cannabinoids-enriched liquid refills are required.” 1

However, it is important to note that the entire cannabinoid profile generally cannot be released into the vapor at once. Different cannabinoids are released into the vapor at different temperatures. CBN, a cannabinoid responsible for the sedative effects of cannabis, requires high temperatures (160-180 degrees Celsius). However, many other cannabinoids, including THC, would degrade at those temperatures.2 Therefore, while this method of consumption greatly reduces the stress on one’s lungs compared to …

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