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Are Medical Marijuana Tinctures Better for You than Smoking MMJ?
California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 1996. Today, 24 states now have medical marijuana legislation. Nowadays, thanks to restrictions gradually diminishing and research stating that cannabis can help kill cancer cells, the stigma associated with cannabis has started to melt away.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware that you need a CA cannabis card before you can legally enjoy this herb in California. There are many ailments that qualify for a California medical marijuana prescription, such as anxiety, chronic pain, depression and arthritis. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy to obtain a cannabis card. Simply sign up online, have a video chat with a medical board-licensed doctor, and get your recommendation and your medical marijuana on the same day!
Also worth noting is that you can renew your medical card online, too, which will be required each year if you continue to require the medication.
The most common way of taking medical marijuana is to smoke the dried buds or leaves. The smoker will feel the effects almost immediately. However, for children, this may not be suitable, so what other methods are out there, and which one is the best?
What Are Medical Marijuana Tinctures?
Medical marijuana tinctures are the most underrated cannabis product.
Medical marijuana tinctures lie at the opposite end of the spectrum to smoking. It is probably the least controversial way to consume cannabis. Tinctures are the most underrated of all the cannabis products because there are not as many fun and potentially punishable practices linked with this form of use. Arguably underused in comparison to raw flowers, dabs and edibles, tinctures were actually the main method of ingesting marijuana until it was banned in 1937.
Perhaps marijuana tinctures are a new term to you because an eyedropper full of medicine just doesn’t conjure up the same image that smoking and eating edibles do. There is no need for a crème brûlée blowtorch to take marijuana as a tincture, which is probably why they don’t carry any derogatory media tags. Also, you’re much less likely to overdose on a marijuana tincture than you are with a marijuana edible.
Tinctures have been known as the moonshine of marijuana because of how they are made. Furthermore, making most cannabis tinctures takes up much less space, and, in comparison to traditional moonshine, chances of an explosion that will destroy your whole home are nonexistent. Simply put: Making cannabis tinctures are much safer, and therefore less controversial, than making cannabis concentrates with butane, for instance.
How Do Tinctures Work?
With tinctures, the medicine is absorbed into the body’s blood supply.
How does taking cannabis tincture actually work? Drops of the solution are squeezed out through an eyedropper under your tongue. The primary advantage of this application method is that the medicine is absorbed into the body’s blood supply. The euphoric effects of a tincture will start to sink in slightly slower than they would if you were smoking but significantly quicker than they would from an edible of the same strain of cannabis. In short, you’ll experience the effects of two to three drops under your tongue within around 15 minutes.
Cannabis smoke is not in any way conclusively associated with any kind of cancer; however, sublingual ingestion of medical marijuana tinctures is preferable for anybody who might be worried about the perceived health risks of inhaling any kind of smoke into the lungs. Tinctures may also be ideal for anyone who may be too sick, too young or too old to properly smoke or vaporize marijuana.
Most patients choose to take cannabis by a rolled joint, pipe or vaporizer because these dosage methods are convenient, fast acting and deliver instant relief. It is also inexpensive and fairly easy to regulate the dosage. However, short-term side effects include respiratory tract irritation, so it is not the best option for anyone with pulmonary damage, lung cancer, emphysema or asthma.
Current research shows that the long-term side effects of smoking cannabis are insignificant; however, regular and heavy smoking of marijuana may cause the production of phlegm, chronic coughing and bronchitis. Additionally, cannabis smoke is known to contain substances that may result in cancer called carcinogens. However, when researched at a molecular and cellular level, the cannabinoids in cannabis are shown to decrease the effect of the smoke’s carcinogens, and no confirmed incidents of lung cancer or other lung diseases have been discovered in marijuana smokers.
In conclusion, there are advantages and disadvantages to both taking medical marijuana tinctures and smoking MMJ. Which method is best is dependent on the individual. The best way to decide which application suits you most is to probably to try both. Just remember to obtain a medical marijuana card online first!
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Should You Use Cannabis Tinctures Instead of Flower?
The days of only having one way to consume cannabis are behind us. (Flower, meet vape pen, topicals, and even marijuana tablets!) We’ve got a whole variety of methods these days, but this one is actually making an old-school comeback. Tinctures are cannabis extracts that have been diluted in a liquid form, usually sold in dropper bottles.
Before cannabis prohibition, tinctures were extremely popular. You could walk into any drug store to purchase them, with even small stores often carrying their own label of cannabis tincture. They were used for all kinds of mental and physical ailments, just as they are again today. (We can thank a real gem of a person named Harry J. Anslinger for this nearly-90-year detour from progress, but that’s another story.)
Why Use Tinctures?
Tinctures are probably the most underrated form of cannabis available. While they might not be as delicious as a brownie, or the many other edible treats in this new world of cannabis; and there’s not a ritual around it, no favorite piece to employ – cannabis tinctures also have benefits that other methods don’t offer.
1. Discreet: Taking a little liquid out of a dropper bottle is a whole lot less conspicuous than puffing on a spliff. Cannabis tinctures are a great way to medicate when in public or other situations where it’s not okay to employ other methods.
2. Careful Dosing: That little dropper is also a whole lot more adept at measuring your dose than say, “a big-ish bite of brownie.” Dropper vials allow you to measure exactly how much you want, enabling you to ingest the amount desired with clarity. Cannabis tinctures are especially great if you’re interested in microdosing.
3. Fast-Acting: Cannabis tinctures can be taken sublingually by dropping the liquid under your tongue and letting it absorb into your bloodstream. Rates vary depending on the person and tincture, but you can expect to start feeling it in 15 minutes and it will be effective for 2-3 hours. (You can also swallow the drops for an edible effect, which will kick in later.)
4. Can Double as a Topical: You can also use cannabis tinctures as a very potent topical, rubbing the liquid into your skin in small problem areas. This method can be used for pain and inflammation, skin care, and other issues; depending on the cannabinoids being employed.
5. Variety of Cannabinoids Available: In tinctures, you can often choose from a bigger variety of cannabinoids. Where it can be difficult to find even CBD flower from time-to-time, you can count on seeing a variety of CBD tinctures, and maybe other helpful cannabinoids like THCa.
6. They Can Get You High, Or Not: On a similar note to our last point, you can choose if you’d like to have a psychoactive experience based on what cannabinoids you choose. THC is the cannabinoid that gets you high, so be mindful of this when choosing your products.
How to Use Tinctures
Cannabis tinctures are a very simple method of cannabis consumption. First, decide how much you’re going to take. It’s always wise to start with a low amount, like 0.25 mL, and slowly add more until you reach the desired effect. Next, you either swallow it or let it absorb under your tongue (sublingually) to get it directly into your bloodstream.
If you swallow the cannabis tincture, it will process through your liver and take effect later. Some non-psychoactive cannabinoids seem to have a cumulative effect, with healing not being so obvious as a lack of symptoms. So be prepared if you decide to stop use because it doesn’t seem to be working anymore as the return of symptoms can be a very unpleasant surprise.
A Few More Thoughts on Cannabis Tinctures
Not every tincture is created equal. Tinctures can be made with different dilution methods that have their own strengths and weaknesses. Tinctures are technically defined as extracts diluted in alcohol, but that’s illegal in California; so you’ll find mostly MCT, vegetable glycerin, and olive oil tinctures at The Higher Path.
MCT stands for medium-chain-triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids that come from coconut and palm oils. Because cannabinoids are fat-soluble, science suggests that using oils high in these “good fats” leads to better absorption of cannabinoids.
Other plant methods fall under vegetable glycerin, like soy, that generally don’t have as much fat but that do have a palatable taste. Olive oil is a gentle form of extraction, leaving fragile terpenes intact. Again, these can’t hold as many cannabinoids due to having less fat – but they also don’t pull a lot of chlorophyll, which leads to a better taste. ( Fiddler’s Greens is a great example there.)
Is it Time to Get to Know Tinctures?
All-in-all, cannabis tinctures are a highly underrated mode of cannabis consumption. They are discreet, offer specific dosing, are fast-acting, and come in a variety of options with various strengths. Our friendly budtenders at The Higher Path will be happy to guide you to the option best suited to your needs.
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Flower has its benefits and so do cannabis tinctures. Thinking about making the switch or adding tinctures to your routine? Here's what you should know.