Smoking or Eating Cannabis – What’s more Beneficial for your health?
Before you begin taking medical marijuana, it helps to know a little about it. A marijuana doctor will make recommendations for your specific situation, but you will still have some latitude to decide what works best for you. A better understanding of the chemicals you are dealing with will make medical marijuana less intimidating for you.
There are three main varieties of cannabis plants: indica, ruderalis and sativa. Most of the cannabis grown today is a hybrid of cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. In addition, the plant breeders who are developing the seeds create thousands of variations.
While all medical marijuana provides similar benefits, the specific effects of sativa and indica are somewhat different from each other.
Indica health benefits include:
- Reduced nausea
- Inflammation reduction
- Relaxed muscles
- Cloudy thinking
Sativa health benefits include:
- Increased energy
- Increased appetite
- Mood elevation
- Nausea relief
- Clarity and focus
Hybrid forms of cannabis offer a cross-section of benefits. Most include reduced nausea and increased relaxation. When the dose is too high, however, some of the cannabis benefits turn into negatives, including increased anxiety, insomnia or paranoia.
Various cannabis hybrids are bred to isolate different cannabinoids for their specific affects. THC was the first compound discovered in cannabis, and it has the most psychoactive affects. Other compounds have been isolated and determined to provide therapeutic benefits without the high.
For medicinal marijuana, it is important that the various effects of cannabis can be separated. Here are some of the compounds found in marijuana and their effects:
- CBD compound–Probably the most important compound in marijuana for medical purposes, CBD relieves nausea and anxiety, and it reduces inflammation and frequency and severity of convulsions.
- CBC compound–This one causes a mild sedative affect and combines with THC to relieve pain.
- THCV compound–One of the newer discoveries, this compound could help with metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes.
- CBN compound–This compound is helpful in reducing pressure in the eyes associated with glaucoma and the frequency of seizures. It also delivers a mild high.
- CBG compound–With antimicrobial properties and a sedative effect, this compound also lowers pressure in the eyes from glaucoma.
Breeders try to adjust their hybrids to balance the amount of certain compounds in each type of cannabis. By making adjustments, they can create medical marijuana that focuses on a particular type of therapy. The goal, of course, is to breed in the best benefits while breeding out the negative side effects.
Smoking is probably one of the least healthy ways to consume anything. There are two basic problems with smoking: the heat and the by-products. To smoke a substance, you have to burn it. Burning is a chemical process that produces waste products. Dangerous waste products like tar are introduced to your lungs when you smoke.
Inhaling very hot air is dangerous to your throat and lungs. These organs are lined by mucous membranes that are meant to remain moist. Extremely hot air dries them out and causes irritation. Once the mucous membrane is dry, it can be easily damaged and allow infections to set in.
- Similar to smoking but much healthier is vaporizing. The moist vapor is not as hot as smoke, and it does not damage mucous membranes. It is also purer than smoke because it is not burning the cannabis and creating waste products.
- Edibles and beverages are also relatively healthy ways to consume cannabis. Marijuana is not particularly acidic or difficult to digest, and the relatively small quantities you consume in edibles and beverages are not damaging to your digestive system. Caution should be taken with edibles because they tend to come in large doses. Always try just a piece of the cookie and wait for the effects to kick in before consuming more.
- Another healthy way to consume cannabis is through topicals. This method is healthy because it allows you to focus on one area of localized pain without using cannabis in your whole system. Topicals only affect the area where they are applied, and the relief is long-lasting. If you are dealing with a small area of localized pain, topical use of marijuana is the healthiest application.
- Of course, getting into the green juicing craze just screams healthy. Taking fresh marijuana and pulverizing it in a juicer is probably the healthiest way to go. There is no smoke or heat involved, and the nutrients in the plant are not dried out. The benefits are not squandered in second-hand smoke, either.
Treating your marijuana like a vegetable is probably the healthiest means of consumption. Adding several fresh leaves to a smoothie gives you the opportunity to combine the medical benefits of cannabis with other foods that may make the nutrients more bio-available. Getting the most out of your marijuana could be a smart move.
The health benefits of marijuana were only recently discovered and are still being understood by medical science. However, we do know cannabis is a plant that can improve the health profile of many people who previously had no hope of living comfortably. That means the healthiest way to consume cannabis, no matter which actual method you use, is to take it for healing.