Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Dr. David Hepburn: 

The two most common delivery mechanisms for medical cannabis are oils or gas (as in vapour). Creams, wafers, sprays, tinctures and suppositories, while useful and fun, universally trail ingestion or inhalation methods.


Oils can be obtained in a bottle, capsules or even as a vape (not MD-recommended currently). As a pill taking society, many would prefer to use a capsule, given that it looks medical and resembles other capsules in the neighbours’ bathroom. The other advantage of an encapsulated oil is that the dosing is much more accurate. Canada limits capsules to a maximum of 10mg THC per unit. Ingested cannabis oil has the advantage of lasting longer but the disadvantage of taking forever to kick in. 

Once the oilhas been ingested it must wend it’s way past the waffles, kumquats and possibly some of the neighbours’ capsules, then get absorbed from the gut and zip off to the liver for a little sprucing up before being presented to the bloodstream. The liver typically wets the side of a Kleenex and dabs away at the oil until it frowns and turns away. Too late. The liver has converted 9 delta THC into 11 delta THC and, while this new form is effective as medicine, it is rather more psychoactive. This whole process, from mouth to membrane, takes 90-120 minutes which can be a good thing… or….
Cyril Bloggins, not an experienced user of cannabis, has taken note how his wife, Daisy, has had her wrist, bowels and crankiness all improved since she started cooking those new BC brownies. He decides to try one for his own nasty, gnarly, kneecap, so he cuts one from the herd and braces himself. An hour goes by. Feels nothing. 

Sneaks back in and grabs another, and another and noting some Reeses Pieces and marshmallows in the mix, decides they taste pretty good and… he still doesn’t feel anything. Soon half the plate is in Cyril’s central solar system. Cyril… doesn’t get out of bed for three days. He is so stoned that his head is on lock down and Mabel has morphed into Heather Locklear (the early years). Cyril’s natural reaction “I must be allergic to cannabis.” No Cyril, the toxicity is always in the dose and you just dosed yourself into a long doze.  


Vaporization is to smoking what a unicycle is to a Harley. Doctors are simply averse to suggesting you smoke anything, however vaporizing is a different kettle of kush altogether. Vaporization means no combustion engine and is safer, cleaner, healthier and has less odour. Medically, vaporization involves the same dried flower used for smoking, except, rather than light it on fire, it is heated to a specific temperature that releases the cannabinoids without incinerating everything. It’s like barbecuing a juicy T-bone to perfection or forgetting that the steak is on the grill, coming back six hours later to find a charred moon rock. Given the fact that inhalation of cannabis is felt within a couple of minutes, there are times when inhalation is preferred over ingestion. 
Any migraineur will tell you that they don’t want to wait two hours and their nausea has their stomach begging to be left alone. There are even some types of pain and spasm where inhalation is preferable to an ingested oil. Today’s vaporizers, like their users, come in all kinds of discreet shapes, sizes, colours and odours. 
And, on occasion, combining the two delivery mechanisms is required to get full benefit. Start by adding some oil and then ….fill up on gas. 

Dr. David Hepburn website
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