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With all the options available to medical marijuana patients today, many are choosing to explore methods of medicating beyond the traditional pipe or paper.

Edibles Provide a Safer Alternative to Smoking

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Many patients believe that ingesting their cannabis is a healthier alternative to inhaling it because there is no exposure to carbon-rich smoke.

Some patients, such as those on supplemental oxygen, turn to edibles when smoking is no longer an option. For patients with eating and digestive disorders, edibles are not only a great source of nausea-reducing CBD, but also a vital source of nutrients and calories. The same is true for cancer patients suffering from nausea caused by their treatments, and expecting mothers dealing with hyperemesis (morning sickness).

A few patients choose edibles because they are a more discreet way to medicate, while others simply prefer the effects of ingesting cannabis to the effects of smoking.

What Conditions are Edibles Recommended For

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The cooking process, as well as the high levels of THC found in edibles, work together to create the perfect treatment for many disorders.

  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle inflammation and spasms
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

While anyone can enjoy the benefits of edibles, patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that affects as many as 700,000 Americans, find this method of medicating extremely beneficial. Because Crohn’s Disease occurs in the GI tract, edibles distribute useful active and inactive cannabinoids at the root of the problem, instead of having to rely on the bloodstream to carry them from the lungs.

Does Ingesting Cannabis Affect You Differently Than Smoking?

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Yes, without a doubt. However, exactly what effect edibles will have on you depends on several factors: the type and potency of the edibles you are using, your tolerance, your body chemistry, and even how much you’ve had to eat. Because the effects of eating an edible differ greatly from the effects of smoking, many first time users are caught off guard by the stronger potency and long-lasting effects.

Despite CBD’s anxiety relieving properties, many people experience a heightened sense of anxiety and paranoia when they initially ingest an edible.

When you smoke marijuana you only receive a small amount of the cannabinoids in each hit, although it’s felt instantly. Where as, edibles tend to hit you much more slowly. This allows the cannabinoids to be released in waves, as they are processed by the stomach and digested.

Two Different Types of Edibles

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Though there are untold varieties of edibles available on the market today, they can all be split into three basic categories: those geared towards gastrointestinal uptake (digested through stomach), those geared towards oral uptake (through saliva), and a few that fit into a hybrid category that targets both.

The most common edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal absorption. Any edible where the cannabinoids are absorbed through the stomach, like a brownie, cookie, cashew bar, or crepe falls into this category. These edibles tend to take longer to activate within the body (sometimes as long as two hours), but produce a longer-lasting effect (up to eight hours of relief).

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On the flipside, edibles geared towards oral uptake can affect a patient almost immediately, but tend to wear off faster (within two to three hours). Edibles that you hold in your mouth for an extended period of time like suckers, lozenges, or tincture, fall into this category.

Some items, such as drinks and chocolates fall into a hybrid category, because they are designed to be absorbed in both the mouth and the stomach. These edibles are a middle ground between oral and intestinal absorption, offering fast-acting relief (patients usually feel this type of edible within a half hour) that can last for four hours or more.

> What You Should Know About Ingesting Cannabis | Medical Jane