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What Are the Non-smoked Ways to Use Marijuana Medically?


Non-smoked Uses of Cannabis The following methods can use various portions of the cannabis plant; buds, leaves and kief (kief is made up of the crystals, hairs, small bits and sometimes pollen. It looks like a fine yellowish gray powder. It is made by sifting the small parts of the cannabis through a fine screen.)

(Prepared by Medical Marijuana ProCon.org. Specials thanks to Dale Gieringer of California NORML and Jay Cavanaugh, PhD of the American Alliance For Medical Cannabis, and Rick Maughs, author of "Medical Marijuana Guide 2004," for their input.)

  Method Description Use
1. Butter or cooking oil Cannabis flowered tops and leaves are simmered in butter (or vegetable oil) for several hours, transferring the THC and other cannabinoids to the butter. The solid plant material is then discarded. The butter, now a dark shade of green, is then used in baking such items as brownies and cakes, or added to such foods as spaghetti sauce or soup. The oily base of the butter is needed for the cannabinoids to properly adhere. This method is utilized by many patients suffering from pain and spasticity, and sometimes, sleep disorders. Although not the preferred method for patients suffering from nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite, is is sometimes used to supplement their other delivery methods, or used by those unable or unwilling to smoke or use a vaporizer.
2. Oil Cannabis flowered tops and leaves are filtered into its oils by a method using butane gas. Some patients may create a weaker oil using a "supercritical carbon dioxide extraction." The oil can then be inhaled using a pipe or vaporizer, directly added to foods or liquids, or for some conditions applied directly to the skin. This can be used for most symptoms for which cannabis is recommended, and the patient can choose whether to inhale for quick relief, or add to liquids or foods for different results.
3. Tinctures & Tonics Cannabis flowered tops and leaves are soaked in an alcohol solution, transferring the THC and other cannabinoids to the liquid. The tincture is then used in various ways; added to foods and liquids, applied to the skin, or the patient consumes directly by drinking a small quantity or placing a few drops under the tongue (sublingual). A tonic, on the other hand, is very similar to a tincture, but is designed to be drunk. Some will mix it with a fruit drink to mask the bitter taste. This can be used for most symptoms for which cannabis is recommended, and the patient can choose whether add to liquids or foods or under the tongue.
4. Vaporizer Heating marijuana's active ingredients in the plant to a point where it produces a vapor (a fine mist), then inhaling the vapor into the lungs. The correct vaporization temperature is around 320o Fahrenheit. A vaporizer machine is usually used for this purpose. Hot air vaporization releases about five compounds, with THC being in the highest concentration, whereas smoking marijuana releases about 111 compounds. This is the non-smoked method most often recommended as an alternative to smoking. Patients can utilize it for most of the symptoms/conditions for which marijuana is recommended.


California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (CalNORML)  
American Alliance For Medical Cannabis 
Rick Maughs  
Dale Gieringer, PhD 
Jay Cavanaugh, PhD