The following are different types of medical cannabis options. Different patients find better results with different varieties and strengths of medicines. Understanding what the differences are can help you make a better decision as to what might work best for you.
WHOLE PLANT MEDICINES AND FLOWERS
Dried flowering clusters and leafy material of the cannabis plant. Raw plant material is used as the basis for all other cannabis medicines. The flowers can be smoked, vaporized, extracted, or infused into tinctures and food-based medicines.
Cannabis can be extracted by a number of different processes resulting in a resinous substance that is more concentrated in nature and requires less consumption by a patient. Commonly referred to as “hash,” these types of medicine can be smoked, vaporized, or infused into other products. Extractions allow patients to regulate dosage more easily. There are several different methods for extraction to consider, including water extraction and super-critical solvent extraction. Extractions are powerful and should be used with caution by patients to ensure one does not become over-medicated.
KIEF OR DRY SIFT RESIN GLANS
By sifting dried plant matter over a screen of some sort or in a tumbling device, the loose resin gland of the cannabis will be detached from the plant, resulting in what is known as kief. The dry, granular substance is effective for patients to use when smoking, or by adding it to other types of preparations.
FOOD BASED MEDICINES
Some patients must eat their medicine and the healing properties of cannabis are best bonded to fats and glucose preparations. Butters, oils, and simple syrups are used to infuse with the cannabis medicines, and these preparations are normally added to foods, such as baked goods and candies. The food helps mask the taste of the medicine. These functional foods are all prepared by patient kitchens by members who are trained in the safe handling of foods. They are all discreetly packaged and clearly labeled to ensure safety.
Tinctures are liquid preparations in which the cannabis plant material is infused into a substance like alcohol or glycerin for a period of time. It is then strained and bottled for patient use, normally in a dropper container to control dosage. These tinctures are great for patients to add to beverages and produce a more rapid onset.
Cannabis can be infused into a number of ointments and lotions that may help with conditions, such as eczema or dry skin. Topical medicines do not normally create a psychoactive effect, but some patients find applying them to areas of tissue pain to be helpful.