Sunday, November 30, 2014

Edibles vs. Smoking


How cannabis is ingested to receive the medicine is subject to each patients preferably. Whether it is smoked or taken orally in an edible has some differences like the time it takes effect, the ability to dose effectively, the duration it lasts, the way it is metabolized, and the difficulty regulating the amount of THC in an edibles ingredients.(Source)

Smoking shows a faster effect than edibles for relief. A study in 2013 looked at the differences of marijuana that was smoked versus the THC pill dronabinol. Smoking showed a relief in symptoms and feeling of it working in 15 minutes, where donabinol showed effect after 60-90 minutes.(Source) Patients suffering from pain tend to prefer faster relief than a prolonged wait period.(Source)

For the extended length of time it takes edibles to take an effect, dosage could be administered too low or too high. A faster effect from smoking could allow patients to give the correct amount from feeling the effects quickly. Patients during a study reported that while smoking gave fast effects, the psycho-active high usually lasted longer than the relief of pain. The study also showed most patients felt more high when smoking rather than using the edible.(Source) On the flip side with a delayed effect on edibles, an overdose can occur and make patients uncomfortable. The effects of the overdose can be agitation, anxiety or hallucinations.(Source)

The duration of smoked cannabis can last a couple hours where edibles once they take effect can last 3-4 hours. With pain sufferers a faster effect is desired, however a longer duration is desired as well. For some patients finding a time and a place to smoke every couple of hours can be unfeasible, making it more convenient for a longer lasting effect to be preferable. (Source

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is a neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent weighed in on the subject and said that he would argue that vaporizers are the best way to deliver marijuana by activating it without burning it. Edibles, Dr. Gupta went further to say, can lead to uneven absorption which can lead to undesired effects. (source)

The way edibles are metabolized can effect the way THC is absorbed unevenly. Kari Franson, PharmD, PhD, Clinical Pharmacologist and Associate Dean for Professional Education, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, at University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy studied the metabolism of THC. “The THC will compete for metabolism in the liver with other drugs. Things that are inhaled can go directly to the brain and not have these interactions. So even confident users can get surprised with an edible.”
Kari Franson also warns about the unregulated standardization of edibles. The package may say in contains a certain amount of THC, but not be correct. Laboratory tests of the products can register the THC higher or lower in concentration, not making for a consistent way to administer the medicine properly.(Source)

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