For cannabis extracts & edibles

The CBD Jotter

Co-edited by Rosebud CBD

Shop Now

The Cooking Journal

Learn more

In the Press

Some recent clippings...

"I love the clean, simple, classic exterior. It gives the owner a choice regarding exposure and really plays nicely with other items in the home (or purse)."

Emily Post Institute

“Goldleaf’s Cannabis Journals give the matter the respect it deserves”

Uncrate

“Every cultivator, space and strain is different, so these journals will help you to know your grow."

High Times

“Goldleaf presents a method to organize & catalog treatment experiences– to better approach strains in the future.”

Rolling Stone

“... Not only are they fun to fill out, but they will help you improve your process, quality and yield over time.”

MassRoots

Customize Yours

See the Options

We offer wholesale and white-label options for all sorts of businesses.

Our products are designed to engage people and encourage meaningful conversation and repeat business for your organization. Talk to us about your store or special project and let us recommend something for your niche. Whether it is a selection of our existing products, or a customized option, our team is here to help.

From the Newsfeed

See More

Stuff We Like: Potli & Helping Honey Bees

by Lynn McElroy on

I was introduced to Potli in mid-2018 by a friend (ah hem, Haiikuu). As a horticultural nerd, I’ve always been fascinated by the unique role bees (and other pollinators)...

How to be a Cannabis Adventurer and Remember Everything

by Lynn McElroy on

Let me start by saying I’m not a Colorado native. I have however enjoyed visiting the state regularly since college for various nature related adventures-- this was long...

The Best Delivery Methods for Cannabis Therapy

by

Across America, more states each year legalize medical cannabis. As of 2019, 33 states offer medical cannabis to qualified patients. Ten of these also offer cannabis’ therapeutic benefits without a prescription to any adult citizen age 21 or over. This past November, Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Dispensaries ushered in the first adult use sales on the east coast.

As medical and now recreational cannabis become more available throughout the United States as a therapeutic substance, pharmacists, physicians, patients, and enthusiasts alike should familiarize themselves with the different methods one can administer cannabis.

This article will break down the few ways cannabis may enter your body. For each route of administration, we will highlight a specific ailment that the particular delivery method may aid. Before doing so, however, we must understand the science behind cannabis. Specifically, we must learn about cannabis’ pharmacokinetics.

Cannabis interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS, to create psychoactive effects

Endocannabinoid System Body Chart by Goldleaf

When considering psychoactive drugs like cannabis, common parlance often assumes they’re high is the result of the drug’s effects on your body. However, that only tells part of the story. Cannabis’ therapeutic benefits depend greatly on the body’s effect on the drug, or pharmacokinetics.

Important for our purposes, pharmacokinetics deal specifically with how drugs move throughout your body, from beginning to end.

As described in the caption, there is an internal structure in your body called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is involved in many regulatory activities, like appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory. When ingested, cannabis meets your body’s ECS, and binds with its receptors. The combinations of binding and blocking receptors in the ECS creates cannabis’ psychoactive effects, which lead to its therapeutic benefits.

Smoke is a common cannabis delivery method - photo by Whitsmoketrails

The most commonly recognized route of administration, medical or otherwise, is cannabis smoke. Photo by @whitsmoketrails

Famous throughout popular culture in images of joints and bongs, smoking cannabis was probably the first well-known route of administration. It’s efficiency, ease of access, and length of therapeutic effect make this simple method the most used delivery method for cannabis by patients and enthusiasts alike. But what goes on when you smoke cannabis, and how does it elicit therapeutic effects?

First, we must consider smokable cannabis’ bioavailability. Bioavailability concerns the, “degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration,” according to the American Heritage Medical Dictionary. 

Bioavailability is measured from 0-100%. Intravenous drug use, for instance, has a 100% bioavailability, as 100% of the drug is available to the brain via the bloodstream. If you don’t ingest a drug, or if you try and fail to ingest a drug, then that route of administration, has 0% bioavailability.

Cannabis smoke’s bioavailability falls somewhere between 10%-25%, with 50% of cannabis’ THC delivered through the smoke, half of which is exhaled. Of the absorbed smoke, 60% of which is metabolized. Although much smoke and THC is wasted, this route offers the quickest onset of therapeutic effects, as they occur within minutes of inhalation.

The quick acting effects of smoked cannabis may be important for those suffering from HIV, who often become nauseous in the morning and need a quick remedy in order to start their day. Moreover, inhaled cannabis smoke actually acts a bronchodilator due to the cannabis terpene Pinene, which helps expand the lungs, helpful for those with asthma.

Contrary to popular belief, when controlled for tobacco and other drug use, longitudinal studies show no link between cannabis smoke and lung cancer. They speculate that cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties may prevent lung irritation from occurring.

Edible forms of cannabis create effects that take longer to appear but are longer lasting

“Special Brownies,” are perhaps the second most remembered image of cannabis in popular culture. They appeared in movies and were referenced on TV shows and sitcoms, with the ever apparent warning not to eat too many, or eat them unknowingly. Today, edibles represent an entire subset of the cannabis industry.

For many medical cannabis patients, smoking isn’t an option, so edibles are a popular alternative. While not every edible is the same in terms of dosage, size, or even caloric intake, they offer on average a bioavailability between 5 to 20%. Edibles have only about 30% of smokable forms efficacy. This is because of “first pass” effects, wherein your body metabolizes a good portion of the THC in your stomach before it reaches your bloodstream.

That being said, edibles reach their peak concentration in your body within one to three hours after consumption, increasing the length of the effects. In comparison, you may reach peak concentration minutes after smoking.

This longer length of onset is very advantageous for those who suffer from chronic pain throughout the night. Using an edible before you sleep may be the perfect way to combat the pain without having to wake. Edibles also work wonders for those who suffer from lung conditions, or whose lungs are sensitive to smoke.

Tincture forms of cannabis work sublingually by applying a drop of the substance under your tongue

Last but not least, we should take a look at cannabis’ sublingual route of administration. Tinctures are a method of administration where medicine is dissolved into an alcohol liquid, to be applied onto the patient’s tongue. Tinctures act as the meeting point between smokable and edible forms of cannabis, as they are a bit more effective and powerful than edibles, but not as fast acting as cannabis smoke.

While edibles have a minimum bioavailability of 5%, the average bioavailability of tincture forms of cannabis sits at 18%, creating more efficacious therapeutic benefits than edibles alone. Moreover, these benefits occur faster, as THC can be found in patients blood only 15 minutes after tinctures were administered, whereas it can take up to an hour for edibles.

Tinctures provide a more concentrated version of an edible, which acts quicker and provides the same effects more consistently, and with more consistent dosing. One of the biggest problems with edibles is knowing how much to eat, so tincture eye dropper measurements make a big difference for accurate dosing.

While there are plenty of different ways and methods to use cannabis, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences cannabis the same way, as our endocannabinoid systems vary, as well as our tolerance levels and other factors. That being said, it’s important to try and find out which route works best for you.

How do you take your cannabis? Let us know.

_

Photos by @hempsleyhealth

About the Author

Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time.

Chris Matich on Wed, Jan 09, 19

Across America, more states each year legalize medical cannabis. As of 2019, 33 states offer medical cannabis to qualified patients. Ten of these also offer cannabis’ therapeutic benefits...

2018 Holiday Gift List

by Rachel J. on Sun, Dec 16, 18

Read below for some of our favorites cannabis-centric gift items we've come across for the season. All functional, many unique & most beautiful. Have fun! _  LEVO //...

@gldleaf

Check out more images & culture on Instagram