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4 Non-Inhalable Cannabis Alternatives for COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a class of chronic lung conditions when the lung airways and air sacs do not inflate and deflate appropriately due to inflammation, less elasticity, and mucus that destroys or obstructs the airflow. It is a popular cause of death in the US, affecting around 16 million Americans. 

It’s characterized by increasing breathlessness, with symptoms developing slowly. Currently, there is no cure for COPD; however, it is often preventable and treatable. The most common cause is smoking.

Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two most common forms of COPD. Aside from avoiding inhaling medical cannabis products such as whole flower and vapes, treating the condition with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties could be beneficial.

Luckily, there are plenty of other routes of administration you can turn to to help curb your COPD side effects and manage your relief more naturally. Our team of dedicated Medical Marijuana Doctors can help answer any questions about non-inhaled cannabis products. 

Here are the four most common ways to use medical marijuana for relief without inhaling it. 

Sublingual Oils

If you are newer to using cannabis for relief, one of the easiest ways to medicate is with sublingual oils. 

Sublingual application of medical cannabis is not the most popular product out there, but they are still an important route to consider, especially for those with COPD. 

Sublingual products are great options for those who do not enjoy the smell of cannabis oils and lack some of the dangerous side effects smoking it can cause. It is also very convenient to adjust your dosage. They are typically packaged with a dropper with markings for the number of milligrams you can take, making it simple to change by just a few milligrams at a time. 



Many medical cannabis products are available in capsule varieties. Visually, they look like medicine from the drug store and work the same way. The capsule breaks down, and the cannabinoids go through your digestive system to get absorbed into your bloodstream. 

It takes some time to feel the effects because you have to wait for your digestive system to work. Depending on your health and the contents of your stomach, this could take several minutes, an hour, or more. Since cannabinoids are lipophilic (fat-soluble), it’s best to take them with a fatty substance such as coconut oil or peanut butter. 

While they might not be the most effective route of ingestion, capsules are one of the most accessible routes of administration for new users to get into the routine of using cannabis as medicine. Typically pre-dosed in 5-milligrams, 10-milligrams, and 25-milligram units, they are easily integrated into a morning and evening medicine regimen. 

The downfall of them, however, is their absorption rate. Once ingested, a lot of the material does not get absorbed. What is absorbed takes longer to get into the bloodstream and take effect. Users who prefer cannabis capsules can expect relief in around two hours, which can last up to eight.


If you like the idea of an orally administered product but are looking for something more exciting than a capsule or sublingual oil, then edibles are what you need! 

Infused chocolate, gelatin chews, cookies, brownies, and other treats are considered cannabis edibles. These have a longer onset time than most other products, but the effects last for the greatest amount of time. The downside to edibles is they are easily dosed wrong, so always start with low doses and slowly titrate more when trying them.

Dermal Patch Cannabis


If you aren’t into the idea of ingesting cannabis but you’re still looking for systemic relief, transdermal products are a great option! Transdermals are topically applied but break the skin barrier, quickly getting the cannabinoids into your bloodstream.

There are two main types of transdermal products: transdermal gels and patches. The gels are rubbed into the skin, similar to a topical cream, and absorb into the bloodstream within a few minutes. Patches are applied near veinous areas of the body and slowly release cannabinoids into the bloodstream over a specific time frame. The benefit of a patch over a gel is that once you take the patch off, the effects should wear off almost immediately, making it an excellent option for cannabis-naive patients.

Book an Appointment to Learn More

If you are suffering from COPD or any other qualifying condition, and are looking for more natural relief options, book an appointment with a Qualified Medical Marijuana Doctor. At your appointment, you can discuss the treatments you have tried thus far, your goals for adding cannabis to your regimen, and what other conditions may be helped with various cannabis products.