People have used marijuana as medicine for thousands of years. “It’s used to treat chronic pain, muscle spasms, seizures, mood disorders and nausea, among other ailments,” says Gregory Carter, MD, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington at Seattle.

In the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal, patients are allowed to purchase prescribed amounts at certified dispensaries or grow limited amounts in their home. But now collectives across the country are going a step further and delivering cannabis to patients as an ingredient included in food.

At the Ganja Gourmet in Denver, customers can get medical marijuana in lasagna, vegetables and even cheesecake. “It works very well [in foods],” Carter says. “It lasts much longer and may even be a bit more potent.”

In addition, compared with most major prescription drugs, medical marijuana’s side effects are much less intense because cannabis is an extremely well-tolerated drug, Carter says.

Perhaps that’s why a lot of patients who use it may not mind saving room for a second serving.