Oral Delivery Methods
For those who do not wish to smoke or inhale cannabis, there are many alternative methods currently available. Oral products are non-invasive and discreet for the consumer. There are several different oral formats to choose from, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. It is important to understand the differences between each to get the most from the products.
Cannabis-infused edibles, in either food or beverage formats, are the most common oral product on the market now and were very popular pre-legalization. Most consumers are familiar with traditional brownies or gummies but the types of products available are endless. Many consumers prefer this method over smoking for its convenience. However, edibles affect everyone differently and have a much slower onset than smoking does, making it harder to predict the effects. This can often lead to individuals ‘greening’ out. Purchasing edible products is still considered illegal and is not yet regulated for sale in Canada until the end of 2019.
Not to be confused with edibles, ingestible oils and capsules can be another great option for many consumers. These products are simple and consist of cannabis-infused cooking oil which is ingested by mouth and sometimes comes in capsules. The government-regulated producers all use different types of carrier oils, some of which include MCT (fractionated coconut oil), Grape Seed Oil and Sunflower Oil. Be sure to ask if this makes a difference to you. The clear advantage of using infused oil is its overall convenience and consistency. The disadvantage is that the initial onset and duration of effects are much longer than other methods. Cannabis-infused oils are being regulated currently and can be purchased at any retail store here in Canada, including any Spiritleaf location.
Oral sprays are new to the industry but are gaining popularity quickly. These products work differently than edibles because the active ingredients are delivered through the mouth and saliva and are not digested through the stomach. Not only are these sprays convenient and easy to administer, but they can also provide a predictable onset and deliver a pre-measured volume of oil making it ideal for micro-dosing.
Tinctures are another great option; these products are either alcohol or glycerine-based and are taken in very small amounts by mouth or by adding it to your food or beverage. If it is ingested sublingually the onset could happen in 15 minutes or more. If it is taken with food or a beverage the onset is similar to edibles, making it harder to predict. These products are a great alternative for those who can not ingest oils, due to their high-fat content. Another advantage is that tinctures have a much longer shelf life than other products, are ideal for micro-dosing and are a low-calorie alternative to edibles. Making homemade tinctures is one of the easiest conversion methods available (see recipe) and is great for beginners and is cost-effective too.
Last, but not least, there is a new and advanced method which is coming to the market called Nanoemulsions. They are made with emulsified oil, water and amphiphilic molecules and administered with a dropper directly into the mouth. This revolutionary product has many applications in both the food and pharmaceutical industries. The advantage of using this product is it has a very quick absorption rate providing a predictable onset and can be used discreetly.
These oral methods are all great alternatives to inhaling cannabis, providing consistent results in a convenient format to the consumer. Deciding which methods to use is very personal. Consider such factors as health conditions, product accessibility, price and if discretion is important. No matter which method you choose, remember this advice, always start low and go slow when trying new products.
This information is intended to educate consumers and not to encourage illegal activities or consumption.
Read the first installment of this series, Inhalation Delivery Methods by clicking here.
You can purchase ingestible oils from any Spiritleaf location, click here to find a store near you.
References: Aphria, Leafly, National Center for Biotechnology Information, IntechOpen, ScienceDirect, CBDOilUsers.com, safeleaf.ca.