Whether you prefer the term ‘medical cannabis’ or ‘medical marijuana’, medicines derived from one of the world’s most controversial plants come in many forms. There are vaping liquids, gummies, tinctures, and topicals. You can even buy pure cannabis flower in some states. But being able to buy flower does not necessarily mean you can smoke it.

Beehive Farmacy, out of Brigham City, UT, says medical cannabis patients in the Beehive State can purchase flower with a valid medical cannabis card. The plant material can be dry heated or used as an ingredient in homemade edibles. Smoking medical cannabis in Utah is illegal.

Why would that be? Below are three possibilities. Just note that Utah is not the only state that has banned smoking medical cannabis. There could be many more reasons among all those other states.

1. The Known Dangers of Smoking

The most logical reason for banning cannabis smoking is to avoid the known dangers of smoking. For decades we have worked to reduce tobacco smoking as much as possible. In doing so, we haven’t been afraid to talk about the thousands of chemicals that burning tobacco releases.

Some would argue that cannabis does not produce as many chemicals when burned. That may or may not be true. But combustion of any type releases toxic chemicals by its very nature. You cannot avoid it. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to continue the war against tobacco but give the green light to smoking cannabis.

2. Its Association with Recreational Use

Another possible reason is smoking’s association with recreational use. Truth be told, the vast majority of recreational users smoke their weed. Smoking is the fastest and easiest way to experience the high that cannabis produces. If you are using recreationally, would you rather get high instantly or wait an hour for your edibles to kick in?

States with medical-only programs may ban smoking because they don’t want their approval of medicinal use to in any way appear like approval for recreational use. Smoking is too closely related to recreational cannabis for comfort.

Such reasoning is not a stretch when you consider the war against nicotine vaping. Nicotine vaping was offered as a lower risk alternative to smoking for people who either could not or would not quit. To this day, anti-vaping advocates continue working hard to discourage vaping because of its close association with smoking.

3. Less Medical Control

Yet a third possibility is the fact that you get less medical control from smoking. When you smoke raw flower, you are simultaneously inhaling all the cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. in the plant material. That may not be the best move from a medical perspective.

Encouraging people to purchase cannabis-derived products, rather than plant material itself, is encouraging them to buy medicines with tightly controlled cannabinoid and terpene profiles. A user knows exactly what they are getting in each product. That makes it easier for patients and pharmacists to work together to create a legitimate treatment plan.

Along those same lines, allowing smoking might discourage some medical cannabis patients from working with their pharmacists to determine the best delivery method, dosage, etc. That does not necessarily fly in states that are attempting to develop a legitimate medical program that doesn’t act as a front for recreational use.

Some states with medical cannabis programs allow patients to smoke flower. Others do not. Those in the latter category have a number of reasons for banning smoking. Those reasons run the gamut from the known dangers of smoking to its association with recreational marijuana. Whether or not you agree is entirely your choice.