While it might make you giggle to think about grandmas smoking medical marijuana out of bongs or rolling joints, the reality is that many medical marijuana users have no way to get their treatment without inhaling the stuff. But new research into a marijuana pill and its effectiveness in alleviating pain could change all that — especially if your state is trying to outlaw bongs.
NBC News looks into a study that says marijuana in pill form — well, its active ingredient, dronabinol — may not only work just like toking up, but also might result in fewer side effects. Participants in the study either smoked pot or took the dronabinol, and then put their hands in icy water. Both groups could handle the icy pain longer than participants who just took a placebo.
Perhaps even more interesting is that those who took the pill reported that its pain reducing effects lasted longer, about 4.5 hours compared to 2.5 hours for smoking.
One potential downside is that it takes longer for the pill to kick in, at about an hour, instead of the 15 minutes it takes to feel the pain-reducing effects of smoking marijuana.
As smoking anything could have a potential impact on your health, says one researcher, this pill could “produce analgesic effects for longer without the health risks that come along with smoking.”
Anyone tempted into trying to abuse dronabinol pills probably wouldn’t find it worth their while, however, as participants were less likely to say they found taking the drug fun than those who smoked up.
More research is still needed, as the study involved healthy people instead of those suffering from chronic pain. So don’t take that vaporizer away from grandma just yet.