Each method of intake has its advantages and disadvantages. Intake or delivery method is of major importance for the medicinal effect you will achieve.
Roughly speaking, you can divide the intake methods into two areas: The fast-acting whose effect decreases rapidly and the slow-acting effect which decreases slowly. The methods can be advantageously combined for the most effective effect of the medicine.
Cannabis products come in variations, allowing for many different methods of intake.
When we get Danish cultivated cannabis on the shelves, we will probably see products for many different intake variations than today. In addition, we will also see innovation within each delivery method, so that the intake standardization will be higher, more accurate and more efficient.
Right now, intake methods are limited by which products are available, whether it is the trial scheme, the magisterial order or approved drugs.
Below is an overview of currently available intake methods in relation to plant-based products.
Vaporizing (through the trial scheme – cannabis in its raw form)
Vaporizers are available in many designs – more or less ingenious. Currently, there are two brands that are approved for medical use: Volcano and Mighty. A vaporizer is equipped with a chamber in which you insert the cannabis and slowly heat it to a desired temperature where the desired cannabinoids and terpenes are released for inhalation.
Advantages: Quick-acting within minutes, minimization of cannabis use, ease of administration in dosage, very high utilization of all cannabinoids and terpenes, and minimization of liver interactions/accumulation. A vaporizer is easy to bring along and may look like an e-cigarette with no visible exhalation.
Disadvantages: Effect lasts for a few hours, unfavorable ingestion method, vaporizer investment, self-administration of raw material and therefore not a set dose.
Tea (through the trial scheme – cannabis in its raw form)
With this method, you use the raw cannabis in hot water, which you can drink and get the effect – a recipe will be included with the product. Having chosen to use water as a binder for the otherwise fat-loving cannabinoids is probably due to the desire that the patient should not consume large amounts of the cannabinoid THC.
Advantages: Tea brewing is a natural part of the everyday lives for the Danes, not so powerful when consuming THC, recipe is included with the wrapping, longer lasting effect than vaporizing.
Disadvantages: Large waste of cannabinoids, as it binds badly to water (better with fatty fluids), risk of interaction in the liver, you may use far more cannabis than necessary, takes time before the effect sets in.
Cannabis oil (through both the magisterial order and the trial scheme)
Cannabis oil or tinctures are commonly known from the illegal market in more or less concentrated form. With a thin drop solution, it is relatively easy to dose properly using a pipette. At the same time, it is possible to mix/dilute the oil with a fatty liquid for easier absorption.
Advantages: Easy to dose with proper guidance, oral intake is not unusual for many, long-acting cannabinoids bind to fat, therefore less waste than tea-brewing.
Disadvantages: Effect may last for many hours for some, risk of interactions in the liver, takes time before effect passes.
NB! can be administered sublingually (under the tongue) or orally for a faster and shorter effect. This method also partially reduces the risk of interaction in the liver.
Spray (Pharmaceutical Sativex)
As of now, spray is only available in form of the approved drug Sativex, which is mainly prescribed for sclerosis patients.
Advantages: Oral sprays are absorbed quickly, easy to carry, use and dose. Effective utilization of cannabinoids, minimizing interactions.
Disadvantages: May cause discomfort in the oral cavity for some, does not work for a long time, expensive product and not easily accessible.
Capsules for oral intake (only through the magisterial order)
Capsules/pills that may contain auxiliaries to help the uptake in the body depending on which and how fast an effect one wants.
Advantages: Pills are always associated with normal intake of medicine, long-acting, easy to dose for some – for others not.
Disadvantages: Takes time before the effect sets in, risk of interaction in the liver, effect can last too long for some.