Inhaling cannabis – traditionally smoking pot or smoking marijuana – is the most common method of administrating cannabis. It’s probably one of the most common methods going back hundreds or even thousands of years.
Shamans and healers in ancient China and ancient India would put dried cannabis leaves in incense burners and then allow patients to inhale the smoke. They would feel the calming effects from it.
I geek out on cannabis, and I’m very interested in health. I’m also a parent of two kids, so I like to separate the stereotypes of smoking cannabis medicinally versus recreational use. I don’t disparage recreational use. I think it’s fine – it’s a lot healthier than alcohol. But it’s really important to differentiate inhaling cannabis smoke for medicinal needs.
I tell patients they should smoke cannabis away from a social environment. You don’t necessarily take your medicine out at a party. You take your medicine privately. Maybe you grab it from your medicine cabinet, and then you can go socialize. It’s the same with inhaling medicinally.
Essentially, when you deliver cannabis smoke or vapor to your lungs it delivers it to the brain quickly. It’s an extremely efficient way of getting it to your brain. If you’re a recreational user, this is what you want. You love the high feeling. It releases endorphins and gives you joy, albeit artificially.
If you’re somebody who suffers from severe headaches or migraines, you’re not thinking about getting high. You’re seeking relief. If you put a topical on your body, it will take a long time to get up into your brain. If you ingest something into your GI tract it will take a long time to get to your brain. In the case of head ailments, inhaling is a very efficient ingestion method. A lot of people who suffer from migraines will just take a puff or two (via vaporizer or smoking) when they feel a migraine coming on. Since it’s delivered to the brain so quickly, the pain can go down with a small dose.
It’s also important to realize the different ways that we smoke cannabis can affect the dosage and effect. A very traditional method of smoking cannabis is a joint. A joint is something you put in a paper, roll it up, and light it. But a migraine sufferer may need just one hit, one puff to counteract that migraine.
A joint tends to stay lit for a long time, and we’re so used to this recreational use that we smoke more than we need to. You can give yourself a dose that is higher than necessary. Wait 10-15 minutes after a puff, then see how your symptoms feel. After assessing the results, you can add more inhalations if you’d like.
If you read my post on the difference between tobacco smoke and cannabis smoke, you’ll know that the smoke or vapor from cannabis is much healthier than the smoke from tobacco. It does not tend to make cells become cancerous in the lungs. That’s a very important distinction. It’s why I believe that inhaling cannabis is a viable form of medicating.
And finally, let me talk briefly about inhaling CBD. You can put it in a vaporizer. I have vaporizers that I sell with a pre-filled CBD cartridge. You take a few puffs, and it’s a much faster reaction for reducing anxiety because it’s getting into your bloodstream really quickly and can bring down anxious, paranoid feelings. It also can bring down the intensity of a THC high if you have too much in your system. If you’re a migraine or headache sufferer, try inhaling CBD first. This is a conservative first step before trying THC.