It is very encouraging that so many places now allow people to use medicinal cannabis. For reasons that had far more to do with politics and culture than with health, there was quite a bit of controversy when California legalized medical cannabis in the 1990s. As the first U.S. state to take this step, California set a very positive example for the rest of the nation and the world.

Cannabis is effective in treating a wide variety of illnesses. One of the most celebrated uses of cannabis is in treating symptoms that are common for cancer patients. Besides treating pain directly caused by tumors, marijuana can effectively treat nausea and loss of appetite, two serious side effects associated with radiation and chemotherapy. Before the rise of medical marijuana, cancer patients mainly used narcotic opioid painkillers for pain. These painkillers are extremely powerful and they are associated with troubling side effects of their own. For example, opioids can cause serious physical dependency and habituation. In addition, opioid users face risk for accidental overdose that is not inconsiderable. Marijuana has none of these serious risks. An all-natural herbal remedy, marijuana has provided ill people with complication-free relief for thousands of years. 

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There are several diverse ways for patients to consume cannabis medicinally. The classic way to consume cannabis is to roll the herb material into a marijuana cigarette or joint. Originally manufactured in Spain, rolling papers quickly gained popularity throughout the world. Unlike tobacco, cannabis has not been linked to lung cancer in any of the major studies published on the topic. Excellent companies like SmokeCartel sell affordable, super-thin rolling papers that are particularly well suited for joints. For people who don’t have the time or patience to learn how to roll, rolling machines are an ideal solution. These simple, handheld devices enable virtually anyone to immediately roll joints that are perfectly round and even. Many people who roll by hand prefer to use rolling machines for perfect cigarettes.

Another fashionable way to consume medicinal cannabis is to use a water pipe or bong. Typically made of blown glass, these handheld pipes draw cannabis smoke through a chamber of chilly water. By cooling the smoke, a bong allows the patient to consume a higher dose of medicine in a shorter period. On the downside, bongs can be large and not very portable. Furthermore, glass bongs are relatively fragile.

Vaporizing is a method of ingesting medicinal herb that is becoming more popular every day. In this method, the herb material is slowly heated to just shy of combustion temperature. This causes the release of water vapor, which essentially contains pure THC, the most important active ingredient in cannabis. Because vaporizing does not involve burning anything, this method is clean and relatively odor-free. However, patients use medicinal cannabis, this is one herb that has relatively few side effects. It is a proven medical therapy with many different methods of consumption to meet all types of patient needs. Joints, bongs and vaporizers all have their unique strengths for medicinal cannabis users.

By Skyler West

Piper Skyler West: Piper, a sports medicine expert, shares advice on injury prevention, athletic performance, and sports health tips.