How Medical Cannabis Works & Consumption Methods – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

How Medical Cannabis Works & Consumption Methods

Medical Cannabis Works

Every country and US state dictates its own rules regarding both CBD and medical cannabis, some don't have strict regulations, while others such as West Virginia, request its residents to own a medical marijuana card West Virginia for legal purchases of the products. Most other countries have already legalized cannabis for medical treatments, and more countries are considered to do this. Even though CBD is used by many consumers as a dietary supplement, the FDA has only approved a marijuana-derived drug for the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Even though more research is needed to verify whether medical marijuana is able to treat health conditions, it is used by medical patients mainly for soothing symptoms. The lack of research in this area is due to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considering marijuana a Schedule I drug that is likely to be abused and lacking in medical value. Thanks to this, scientists need a special licence to study it; patients can get marijuana only with a prescription and manufacturers are strictly controlled on their production.

In addition, not everyone understands the difference between CBD and medical cannabis, making it hard for some users to understand the background of medical marijuana's uses and its effects. Let's explore this below.

What is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is Cannabis Sativa L. plant grown to treat some diseases, conditions and symptoms. Medical marijuana is the same product as recreational marijuana, which is taken only for medical purposes.

The marijuana plant is a type of cannabis Sativa which contains higher THC levels and less CBD, while industrial hemp strains contain more CBD and are used for CBD supplements with no THC effects. Marijuana contains more than 100 different chemicals known as cannabinoids and terpenes.

Each cannabinoid has its unique effects on the body and mind. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC for short) and cannabidiol (CBD for short) are two primary cannabinoids. THC is the well-known chemical responsible for the "high" consumers feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it. CBD doesn't possess any psychoactive properties and is believed to provide a soothing effect.

Once consumed, these cannabinoids are thought to work with the inner endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is located throughout the body. CBD and THC from medical marijuana indirectly interact with specific receptors CB1 and CB2, which in turn help promote homeostasis in the body. As a result, medical marijuana is also believed to help with stress, tension, insomnia and appetite.

4 Ways of Consuming Marijuana

Just like there are many ways CBD supplements can be consumed, medical marijuana also has several uses and application methods, including:


Smoking medical marijuana is the traditional way of reaping the benefits of this plant. Even though there are many medical benefits of consumption through inhalation, scientists advise using vaporisation rather than smoking since smoking may also have health implications that may offset the positive benefits of the plant.

Onset: Almost immediately.

Duration: Last for about a couple of hours.


  • High absorption rate;
  • Harder to overconsume (even though it is still possible);
  • Offer a tactile experience.


  • Smoking is known to be a bad habit for lung health, so it is recommended to vaporise cannabis if users need fast-acting medication; 
  • Reduces the 'entourage effect' since most terpenes are burned through the smoking process. This can limit the desired effect.


As we mentioned, vaping medical marijuana is better than smoking. Since vaping is a new way of consuming medical cannabis UK, vaping products can be various, such as dried-flower or cannabis oil-filled vapes.

Vaping also offers high bioavailability of active compounds and preserves terpenes that provide a potent entourage effect. Vaping is also a convenient and fast-acting result. 

Onset: Almost immediately.

Duration: Effects can last for about 1-3 hours and peak within 30 minutes.


  • Much safer inhalation method and is more convenient;
  • Modern vaporisers allow users to pick the temperature at which they are going to get medical marijuana. This also helps you to save all beneficial terpenes and more of the cannabinoids that offer a potent entourage effect;
  • Vaping offers a less smelly and more discreet way of consuming marijuana;
  • Vaping is an excellent option for urgent situations and acute symptoms like very quickly or unexpectedly panic or anxiety.


  • Long-term effects are unknown, and scientists are still exploring. While vaping is novel, more studies are needed to guarantee its safety for respiratory health.


The sublingual consumption method is the most well-known and efficient. That is because it means administering medical marijuana oil under the tongue or along the gums where tiny capillaries are present to absorb all plant elements almost immediately. 

Onset: Sublingual consumption method is well-recognised for its quick effects and almost immediate onset. At the same, the onset time can vary depending on one's metabolism and what has been eaten throughout the day.

Duration: Effects usually last longer, depending on metabolism.


  • Plant elements are quickly absorbed by the tiny blood capillaries compared to when they are ingested;
  • Sublingual consumption allows for an easy and discreet way to consume medical cannabis. In addition, this method is also odourless;
  • Easy on the lungs. In contrast to smoking or vaping, consuming medical cannabis sublingually doesn't damage your lungs;
  • Lower caloric content than edibles.


  • It may require some experience when it comes to counting the dosage; 
  • Most consumers don't like the taste of natural cannabis.


They are preferred among consumers since they do not provide any taste and odour of natural cannabis. Edibles offer enjoyable and delicious ways to consume cannabis. Even though there are many edibles infused with CBD, it could be hard to find edibles infused with medical marijuana. Edibles also include cannabis-infused food and capsules.

Onset: Edibles do not provide fast onset that can be felt within 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the metabolism and other bodily factors.

Duration: Effects of cannabis edibles can last for about 4-6 hours.


  • Discreet and easy to consume; 
  • Long-lasting effects.


  • It takes much longer to feel the onset compared to other consumption ways.

Final Thoughts

Even though cannabis has gained popularity during the last few years, some consumers confuse CBD and medical cannabis terms. While CBD can be consumed as a dietary supplement for improved well-being, medical cannabis can be purchased only with a prescription and is used to treat several health conditions.