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The Pros And Cons of Smoking Medical Marijuana

The Pros And Cons of Smoking Medical Marijuana

The United States has one of the largest cannabis smoking populations in the world. That’s right, Americans love their joints and bongs. With such a high preference, it’s very likely that your first choice of delivery method would also be smoking. But wait! Before you take your first puff, ask yourself, what do you know about smoking cannabis?  Smoking is not just about buying a joint or a bong and inhaling and exhaling. When you are using cannabis for medical reasons, you must know all the important facts to be prepared for everything. So let me help you out here by introducing you to the pros and cons of smoking cannabis. Go through each point and then decide if smoking is the perfect match for you or not. 


Among the dozens of delivery methods that exist today, smoking or inhaling cannabis earns the top spot. There must be some reason behind people opting for joints and bongs after getting their medical marijuana card, right?  Well, there are a few. 

Quick Onset

The time that cannabis takes to be absorbed in the body and show effects is called the onset time. It varies from one delivery method to another. In the case of smoking, the onset time is very quick compared to other methods. This is why you start experiencing the effects as soon as you take your first drag. When you inhale the smoke or vapor, it goes through the lungs and into the bloodstream. The cannabinoids then reach the CB receptors spread all across the body and activate them to deliver the effects. So, the effects are almost instant. Such quick onset results because of the fact that the cannabinoids in cannabis have more bioavailability in the form of smoke or vapor. So it is easier for the body to absorb the cannabinoids.  The quick onset of smoking is the reason why it is preferred by medical patients who need instant effects. For example, people suffering from severe anxiety or lack of sleep can take a puff of cannabis and enjoy immediate relief. 

Safer Than Opioids For Pain Relief

Man Planting Cannabis Plant Today, medical cannabis has replaced opioids. Many people suffering from chronic pain find smoking medical cannabis to be equally effective and without any intolerable side effects. In addition to this, cannabis is much safer to use in comparison to opioids.  Long term use of opioids leads to dependence or Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). With continuous dosage, your body develops a tolerance to opioids. As a result, you may need a higher dose to feel the effects. And sometimes, a higher dose can also turn out to be fatal. As this aspect increases, the dependence also increases to a point where quitting will only lead to a miserable experience. The withdrawal from opioids may include muscle pain, cold sweats, vomiting etc. Another unsafe aspect of opioids is that it leads to heroin addiction in most cases. Since heroin is cheaper than opioids, many people choose the former to meet their body needs at a lower price. On the other hand, cannabis does not have a fatal overdose. In fact, there are no reports of death due to cannabis overdose to date. Also, the effects of cannabis are easy to tolerate. Using cannabis by itself or with opioids can help reduce the dependence on opioids. 

Better Dose Control

When using cannabis for medical reasons, it is very important that the patient sticks to the recommended dose. Because the main purpose of using medical marijuana is to find symptomatic relief and not an uncontrollable high. This is possible only when you take a specific amount as instructed by your doctor.  The best part about smoking cannabis is that it can help you stick to a specific dose. Irrespective of the way you smoke cannabis, whether it is a joint, a vape pen or a water pipe, you can manage your dose effectively. How? With self-control.  Since smoking delivers instant results in the body, it is easy to pinpoint when it’s time to stop. As soon as you reach this point, stop inhaling. Going any further will only give you a strong high and sometimes even worsen the condition that you were looking to find relief from.


Like every coin has a flip side, smoking cannabis also has several cons to its pros. While it’s important to note the benefits of smoking, understanding the cons is just as crucial. It will help you stay safe and prepared for any negative outcomes. 

Common Side Effects

Seedling Cannabis Plant Pot On Dark All medications have side effects and so does medical cannabis. Long term cannabis consumers report that smoking medical marijuana can cause a number of side effects. The most common of these are red eyes, cottonmouth and an increase in appetite also known as munchies.  These side effects are caused by the cannabinoids found in cannabis, especially THC and CBD. These chemicals activate the CB receptors in the brain and body and result in the therapeutic benefits as well as side effects. But you can easily deal with these side effects at your home. Red eyes can be dealt with using soothing eye drops that you can buy from any local pharmacist. Cottonmouth can find relief with water. Keep a water bottle by your side and maintain your optimum hydration level. And for munchies, stick to healthier snacks to satisfy your hunger. 

Is Not a Discreet Option

Most medical patients like to keep their cannabis consumption a private affair. Since the remnants of the stigma of cannabis can still be felt, most people do not like to be open about their cannabis treatment. If you are one of these people, then smoking may not be the best option for you. Discreetness is not something you can get with smoking.  A joint or vape needs combustion to create smoke or vape. The burning smell in the smoke attaches itself to the surrounding objects like clothes, hair, furniture etc. The smell lingers when your session is done and everyone can tell that you just had a session. There are a few tips and tricks that can help mask the smell of cannabis. For example, smoke in a well-ventilated area or light up candles or incense to cover up the smell. Some people time their sessions just before they are about to go for a bath so that the smell doesn’t stick. 

Increases The Risk of COVID-19 Complications

In the current scenario of the coronavirus pandemic, every medical marijuana doctor advises against smoking or vaping cannabis. That’s because even when you are smoking cannabis, at the end of the day, it is smoke that will harm your respiratory system. The smoke or vapor of cannabis contains carcinogens and plant matter that can irritate the air passages and weaken the lungs. Catching COVID-19 while your lungs are already stressed can cause complications.  In addition to this, smoking involves the sharing of pipes, joints and stash which can cause cross-contamination. So smoking increases your chances of catching the virus from others.  It’s only when you are introduced to the pros and cons of things that you can make the right decision. So, register all these points in your mind and decide whether smoking cannabis is the right choice for you or not. 

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Author Bio

A medical cannabis enthusiast who loves to read and write about the herb. Even after spending more than a decade in the industry, he has the zeal to learn of a teenager.