Pills have become the standard in regards to how the majority of medicine is administered. But in the case of medical marijuana, most research finds it to be the least effective method.
While lawmakers battle it out on the subject of marijuana for medicinal use, patients across Canada and the United States are already being prescribed the psychoactive compound of drug -- THC -- in pills like Marinol and Cesamet, which are commonly used to treat symptoms of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.
However, researchers say consuming marijuana in pill form is not nearly as effective for managing pain as smoking it. In fact, a study conducted last year by the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that Marinol acts considerably slower, taking an average of an hour to an hour-and-a-half to reach its peak. Meanwhile, the full effects of smoking a joint were experienced within fifteen minutes.
The study found that while smoking marijuana allowed patients almost immediate pain relief, the effects of Marinol lasted longer and got patients just as stoned as the smokers. Yet, researchers were quick to point out that smoking marijuana has its obvious advantages, specifically, the ability for patients to self-adjust their dosage by smoking more as needed for pain management -- a concept that is not as easy to do when using pills.
Medical experts agree that self-adjusting dosage with THC pills can be dangerous and problematic. They say that while rolling joints every few hours may be somewhat of an inconvenience for many patients, smoking is still the easiest and fastest way to reap the benefits of the reefer.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.