How To Use Medical Marijuana When Smoking Is Not An Option


With the stigma of medical marijuana fading quickly, more and more patients are starting the journey to natural pain relief, without the use of opioids or traditional pain medication. But for some, the idea of smoking a product for relief can be intimidating and off-putting. We’ve broken down the most common non-smoking medical marijuana delivery systems so you can decide which one is right for you.


Vaping has become one of the more popular ways to consume medical marijuana in recent years. With traditional smoking, the plant gets hot enough for combustion to occur and smoke to form, which can be hard for some people to inhale. When vaping, the plant is heated at a much lower temperature, releasing the medical benefits without the smoke. Vaporizers can range anywhere from large home units, to pocket-friendly pens. While you can find some less expensive start-up kits, vaporizers and accessories usually run anywhere from $100-$300 USD.

  • Pros: No combustible smoke. Immediate relief.
  • Cons: Expensive start-up costs. Device needs warm-up time. Device needs to be recharged

Oils and Tinctures

Many people opt to use an oil or tincture as their delivery method. Both are usually ingested under the tongue or along the inside of the cheek. Most are available in a dropper or a spray bottle. For both the oil and tincture, THC and CBD are extracted from the plant by either alcohol extraction or approved extraction machines. For making the oil, the extracted cannabinoid is added to a carrier oil (such as coconut oil). For a tincture, the plant is placed in an alcohol and left to cure for a couple of months. After cured, the liquid is strained. Both oils and tinctures should be placed in a dark bottle and stored in a cool, dark place.

Oils and tinctures are some of the highest and most-potent products available but come with the benefit of being able to control your dosage for more consistency. When starting oils or tinctures, it’s best to try one droplet or spray and wait 10 minutes and then add a dose every 10 minutes to achieve the desired effect. Once you know what dosage works for you, you can drop or spray as needed.

  • Pros: Easy to control your dose. Easy on the lungs. The preferred method for disabled individuals and children
  • Cons: Expensive for those who need a higher dosage

Edibles and Drinks

Edibles go beyond the pot brownies of the 60’s and 70’s. But, the world of edible marijuana has grown more diverse in recent decades, even including world-renowned marijuana food chefs. One of the easiest ways to introduce medical marijuana into your everyday diet is to create a butter or oil and cook your food the way you normally would.

As for drinks, your local medical marijuana dispensary probably sells marijuana-infused juices, smoothies, and teas. You can also make your own at home by steeping a bud, a small piece of wax, or a bit of tincture in hot water and adding it to your beverage of choice.

One thing to remember, the cannabinoids are released through the digestive tract, so it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to kick in. Because of this, it can be hard to ingest the correct dose, so start small and start slow.

  • Pros: Great for stress relief. Long-lasting results,
  • Cons: Can be difficult to calculate dosage. Longer wait time for relief.

Topicals and Patches

For patients that want localized-pain relief without the effects of feeling “high,” topicals are the way to go. Marijuana-infused topicals can include creams, balms, lotions, patches, and even lubricants. They are absorbed through the skin, and though the topical contains THC, most topicals won’t enter the bloodstream, only your cannabinoid receptors. There is some debate over the efficacy of topicals and patches, though many claim to have almost immediate localized pain relief.

  • Pros: Localized pain relief. No “high” feeling.
  • Cons: Does not help with cancer symptoms, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD. The efficacy is debatable amongst the medical marijuana community.


For those that want their medicine to look like actual medicine, you can’t get any more traditional than a capsule, or pill. Capsules are able to deliver the most controlled dose on the market and don’t require any preparation or clean up, which is a big plus to new or intimidated consumers.

  • Pros: Precise dosing. No prep or cleanup.
  • Cons: Takes time to achieve the desired effect.


Suppositories, though not the first choice for the consumers are actually the most efficient way to deliver the benefits of medical marijuana. Because it is administered rectally, it is absorbed into the bloodstream much quicker and delivers around 80% of the medicinal effects. This is due to a lack of interaction with the liver, which metabolizes THC before it reaches your bloodstream. Suppositories will not give you the high of traditional marijuana and have no known side effects. There are also vaginal suppositories meant to relax muscles around the ovaries, cervix, and uterus, without any psychotropic effects.

  • Pros: Highest efficacy of product. Immediate and long-lasting effects.
  • Cons: Can be difficult or embarrassing to administer. Must be refrigerated.

Are you using a form of non-smoking medical marijuana? Have you noticed a difference in your pain levels, or how you feel after taking your dosage? We’d love to hear from you!

Originally published at on February 15, 2018.


Why The Weed Industry Needs More Diversity


As the marijuana industry continues to grow, growers and retailers are looking for ways to become a more diverse community and business. The marijuana industry is especially inclusive in regards of age, but is somewhat lacking with regards to women and people of color. But, with the introduction of professional networking groups like Minority Cannabis and Women Grow, that is on the road to change.

Women In the Marijuana Industry
A recent survey from the Cannabis Consumers Coalition has stated that a number of women consuming marijuana is now roughly equal to that of men. Jane West, cannabis entrepreneur and founder of the group Women Grow believes women should be flooding the marijuana industry.

“First, I want every woman to know that there’s a place for you in this industry, and there will never be a better time to find it,” West says. “The legal cannabis industry doesn’t have the entrenched patriarchal power structures that dominate most of professional life, and the sector is growing fast, so jump in and find a way to apply your skill set. Create your vision, and think big.”

People of Color in the Marijuana Industry
A recent investigation from Buzzfeed found that of the 3,600 storefront marijuana dispensaries, only around 1% are black-owned companies. Many believe this to be a direct result of the increased likelihood of marijuana-related arrests in the black community. According to a 2013 report from the American Civil Liberties Union, marijuana use is roughly equal amongst black and white individuals, though black individuals are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. While over half the United States have some form of legalized marijuana, some of these states bar people who have been convicted of drug crimes from owning, working, or investing in legal marijuana businesses.

While issues like diversity and decriminalization are controversial topics for the marijuana industry, more people of color are speaking out through conventions, panels, and the media to make sure their voices are heard.

Marvin Washington, New York Jets defensive lineman and cannabis investor thinks minorities have an historic chance to turn around the industry, and the perception of people of color within the industry, around. “We have the opportunity to do this right and make sure the people that suffered when cannabis was in the black market . . . have the opportunity to participate in the upswing,” he said.

Why Diversity Matters
The inherent value of bringing new cultures and perspectives to an industry is only a small reason diversity in the legal marijuana industry is important. Removing the negative social stigma of marijuana, as well as easing some of the legal barriers that inhibit marijuana dispensary expansion, will bring more jobs and more economic growth, especially in minority communities. Danielle Schumacher at THC Staffing Group, a business dedicated to helping diversify the legal marijuana industry agrees.

“Diversity is far more than just a moral issue,” Schumacher noted. “In the 21st century, it’s a business and economic necessity.”

Originally published at on November 8, 2017.

How Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Can Increase Home Values


It’s no secret that medical and recreational marijuana have a striking amount consumer benefits, but here’s a surprising benefit you might not be aware of — increased home values! A recent study published in the academic journal Real Estate Economics concluded that homes within 0.1 miles of Denver’s 103 marijuana dispensaries saw increased home valuations by up to 8.4%. Based on average housing prices in those areas, the value was estimated to be $27,000 for a typical, single-family home.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Georgia, and California State University, these claims are based on real estate appreciation since January 1, 2014, when recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado.

What This Means For State Governments

Researchers and politicians from states that have enacted or are looking to pass marijuana legalization bills are now looking to factual, statistical evidence from cities like Denver on the benefits of having a local dispensary. For example, local San Francisco lawmakers have been making great strides to keep marijuana retailers in already zoned locations, despite the plea of the city’s Chamber of Commerce to do just the opposite.

Moussa Diop, a leading researcher of the study states, “The presence of retail marijuana establishments clearly had a short-term positive impact on nearby properties in Denver. This suggests that in addition to the sales and business taxes generated from the retail marijuana industry, municipalities may experience an increase in property taxes.”

Others suggest that it’s not only the prospect of growing and legally using marijuana that is causing the increased demand for housing but the job prospects associated in those legalized states.

“The legalization affects both the demand and the supply in the residential housing market,” says economics professor Cheng Cheng, an author on the study. “Areas where it’s legal are “going to attract more home buyers, including marijuana users as well as entrepreneurs and job seekers.”

What This Means for Politicians

Many of our current lawmakers (and some real estate investors with serious cash) have feigned concern over whether marijuana dispensaries will damage local property values. But, with these long-term, factual based statistics proving just the opposite, politicians and lobbyists alike have the opportunity to spin what constituents are already asking for into a positive for them — “I’m pushing for legalization because it’s good for my community.”

If you live close to a legal dispensary and have seen first hand the increase of your home valuation, we’d love to hear from you!

Originally posted at on October 25, 2017.

Branding Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana


As more states are voting to legalize recreational marijuana, growers embarking on new businesses are looking into how to brand their products. Some are confused on where to begin. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the legalized states and are thinking of opening a dispensary yourself, we have some branding tips to get you started.

The Medical Side of Branding

For those that treat medical marijuana as part of their overall wellness, the branding and advertising of such strains are just as important as those who are using recreationally. Medical marijuana patients are looking for labeled, specific information. What symptoms does this strain help treat? What are the side effects? For many, this is as clinical as picking up any other prescription, so why not treat it as such.

Advertising and branding should focus more on the results and medicinal aspects of the strain. By law, medical dispensaries have a strict code regarding language. Staying away from terms like ‘bong’ and ‘pot’ help to destigmatize the drug, as well as make well-deserving patients feel less intimidated.

The Recreational Side of Branding

While the image of recreational marijuana is beginning to turn favorable, the imagery of marijuana can sometimes give way to the old stoner stereotype. The question is, in today’s world of advertising, how do you make a marijuana ad as appealing and modern as a liquor ad?

Think about what your consumer base might look like. For some, this will be their first experience with marijuana. Without the overhead of the medical community, language and imagery can be more lax and whimsical, but you should still focus on informing the consumer on how’s and why’s of your particular strains. Turn your knowledge and expertise into a learning experience. Customers new to marijuana, and even those with some experience will appreciate your forward thinking approach, turning new customers into returning customers.

Watch The Laws Carefully

The first thing to think about are your local laws. For example, the state of Colorado has banned all edibles resembling animals, or fun shapes. While those types of edibles may be less intimidating for new consumers, your business is not worth the risk. Consult local businesses and trusted local law enforcement for a review of the do’s and don’t of your area. As always, document everything!

Are you a legal supplier, medical or recreational? What have you found most helpful when it comes to marketing your product. We’d love to hear from you!

Originally published at on August 30, 2017.

Cannabis Skincare: Just a Fad, or Here to Stay?


Every year it seems there’s a new lineup of skincare products promising to do wonders for your skin. They claim to be clinically-tested miracle solutions for various skin issues ranging from acne to eczema and even wrinkles, but they are rarely live up to the hype. So, it’s natural to be skeptical about cannabinoid products and their usefulness in improving your skin.

Marijuana topicals comprise a wide range of balms, lotions, salves, creams, and oils that have been infused with cannabis. When absorbed through the skin, they can provide targeted relief for various forms of pain and inflammation. For those concerned about any psychoactive effects or “high” often associated with marijuana, it’s important to note that although topicals contain cannabinoid elements, they are non-psychoactive.

There’s still plenty of debate around the efficacy of these products, and results may vary depending on the individual user. So, Do Cannabis Skin Care Products work? Logically, one would expect that they would. Biologically speaking, your body has something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) when is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors in your brain and throughout your nervous system. This system is involved a number of physiological processes and can help regulate things like your appetite, mood, and even your level of physical pain. In other words, your ECS helps maintain homeostasis throughout your body.

Cannabis-based skincare products may be limited in their efficacy due in part to the fact that it mostly affects anatomical structures within 1 centimeter of your skin. Deeper issues such in your muscular or skeletal system may be too “deep” to be actively relieved by a topical cream or balm.

However, your skin itself is an organ—the largest organ in your body, actually. And your skin performs a lot of functions that may not readily occur to most people. Your skin cells have the ability to synthesize vitamin D, it protects your internal organs, and can help regulate body temperature. So keeping your skin healthy is key to an overall healthy body.

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in cannabis topicals can help combat dry skin and rashes which can lead to other long term skin problems such as persistent wrinkles. In addition, these products are often combined with other scientifically proven analgesic compounds such as menthol, capsaicin, or camphor.

So are cannabis skincare products the latest “fountain of youth” we’ve all been searching for? Well, they say that beauty is only skin deep, so if you’re trying to improve the look and feel of your skin, it might be worth a shot. Will it stick around for a while? The odds seem good, and we’ve already become accustomed to seeing hemp oil used in various shampoos, lotions, and other body care products. So it’s not difficult to envision a future in which we are all stocking up on cannabis topicals to improve our epidermis. Whether or not it will work for you in treating a pesky skin issue, you may just have to try it out for yourself, and as always, consult a physician for serious skin issues.

Originally published at on August 4, 2017.

Sleep Apnea and Medical Marijuana


“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”- Thomas Dekker

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts at irregular intervals. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax, and central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Some people may have a combination of the two called, complex sleep apnea. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are rarely aware of their difficulty breathing, even upon awakening.

Some major signs of sleep apnea include loud and chronic snoring, choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep, long pauses in breathing, daytime sleepiness (no matter how much time you spend in bed), insomnia, forgetfulness, morning headaches and more. If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment is necessary to avoid heart problems and other complications.

There are many different treatments to sleep apnea. Some of which are as simple as sleeping on your side or propping your head up, doing throat exercises, and changing your diet, but others can include prescription drugs, CPAP masks, and surgery.

How can cannabis help?

The journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, researchers at the University of Illinois Department of Medicine reported “potent suppression” of sleep-related apnea in rats administered either exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Investigators reported that doses of delta-9-THC and the endocannabinoid oleamide each stabilized respiration during sleep and blocked serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea in a statistically significant manner. Several recent preclinical and clinical trials have reported on the use of THC, natural cannabis extracts and endocannabinoids to induce sleep and/or improve sleep quality.

Following the positive results of this pre-clinical trial, lead author Dr. David Carley published the first human trial to investigate the effects of THC (dronabinol) on sleep apnea. The results showed an overall reduction in apnea indexes of 32%, despite significant variance between patients. Even though a 32% reduction is minor when compared to the effectiveness of current treatment options (such as CPAP and oral devices), the authors suggest that cannabinoid medications could still be of benefit to patients who suffer from mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, and could do so in a much more natural way.

Currently, researchers are studying a synthetic cannabis based pill, called dronabinol, that might be viable, and a much less intrusive, treatment for sleep apnea if approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Originally published on on August 31, 2016.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Asthma Relief Using Marijuana


Asthma is the shortness of breath and wheezing caused by spasms of the bronchial tubes, overproduction of mucus, and by swelling of the mucous membranes. A combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to be the cause of asthma, and currently there is no cure. Avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, can prevent symptoms, and there are a number of medications available such as fast acting inhalers like Albuterol, or long-term control such as Corticosteroids.

In short, it’s an irritating and occasionally life-threatening condition. Can medical marijuana help those suffering from it?

According to renowned pulmonologist and professor of medicine at the University of California Donald P. Taskin, yes it can. “Recent studies demonstrated significant, acute bronchi-dilation in healthy young men after they smoked marijuana”, he said. And other doctors have spoken as well, including Dr Tamás Freund of the Institute of Experimental Medicine of Budapest, who stated that the knowledge gleaned from this research could alter the way respiratory illnesses are treated.

Clinical research indicates that THC in both synthetic and natural forms acts as a bronchial dilator that clears blocked air passageways, causes an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation and allows free breathing. These results may be grounds for an alternative treatment to steroids, and the Institute of Medicine and other medical authorities have recommended alternative methods of administration in order to test this. Plans for a non-combusting THC inhaler received attention for many years. Designers have failed to produce a workable prototype thus far, but are diligently continuing their research.

Originally published at on August 16, 2016.