When it comes to consuming cannabis, users now have more options than ever. It’s hard to recognize the “best” form of consumption, especially since new methods of consuming marijuana are popping up every day. Smoking is the oldest practice, but vaporizers are becoming rather popular. As far as edible goes, we can now enjoy practically any food we want with THC included. Plus there are now oils, sprays, and even more. In short, there are more ways to consume marijuana than ever.
The “best” method of consuming cannabis really depends on your preferences and how you prioritize convenience, price, strength, health, etc. In this article, we tackle the ins and outs of marijuana consumption and describe 14 common ways to partake of the wacky weed in order to help you determine which method is best for you.
The Sensation of Inhalation (Smoking)
Smoking is the most common method of cannabis consumption on the market today. It’s also the quickest way to get the much beloved THC into your system. Because the cannabinoids enter the body through the lungs, they are passed along directly into the user’s bloodstream. And because blood flows at an average of three to four miles per hour (yes, you read that correctly, three to four miles per hour), once the THC hits your circulatory system, it only takes a few seconds to reach your brain. In a study done by the Journal of Chemistry and Biodiversity, subjects who consumed cannabis via inhalation reported feeling the effects of the cannabis within minutes. That’s faster than any of the other methods on this list.
Though smoking is the quickest method of delivery, it’s also the most damaging to the lungs. When you decarboxylate (burn) marijuana in order to smoke it, you also get other plant and paper material with the cannabinoids. These foreign substances can have negative effects on the sensitive tissue in the lungs.
When you think about it, smoking marijuana is a lot like fast food: it’s quick and get’s the job done, but it may hinder your afternoon jog. If you’re looking for something that sets smoking apart from the other options on this list, think dosage size. As you’ll see below, smoking your marijuana allows you to more precisely monitor and control the amount of cannabis you consume. This makes it less likely to overindulge and get “too high”.
Let’s look at our options:
Joints are perhaps the most well-known of the cannabis delivery systems. They’ve even hit the “mainstream” in stoner classics like Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke, Dazed And Confused, and The Big Lebowski. Some users (especially in Europe where cigarette smoking is more prevalent) like to load their joints with a hybrid of tobacco and cannabis for an extra-heady high. Either way, one hit of a joint and you feel it instantly.
Blunts are similar to joints in many ways, but are rolled with cigar papers instead of cigarette or rolling paper . In addition, blunts are usually thicker and hold more weed, making them a more powerful option to the smaller and thinner joint.Blunts are similar to joints in many ways, but are rolled with cigar papers instead of cigarette or rolling paper . In addition, blunts are usually thicker and hold more weed, making them a more powerful option to the smaller and thinner joint.
Wiz Khalifa on www.genius.com
A lot of cannabis users prefer blunts simply because they’ve been popular for many years. Users also enjoy the “old school” act of smoking something that’s more robust and easier to handle. Add to that the fact that famous celebrities like Snoop Lion and Wiz Khalifa endorse this style, and it’s easy to see why blunts are quickly gaining in popularity over the smaller, more fragile joint.
Pipes And Bowls
Compared to joints, pipes and bowls are an even quicker and easier way to date Mary Jane. There’s no tedious rolling that requires the tiny fingers of a ten-year-old girl and the dexterity of an 1800s watchmaker. Just stuff in some weed, light up, and you’re good to go.
Getting your ganja through a pipe or a bowl is just as effective as through a joint or a blunt, though it may not taste as good since there’s no paper there to smooth out the flavor.
In terms of simplicity and activity, bowls usually need to be lit once for each hit. This can be great if you want to save some of the bowl for later use, but very inconvenient if you’re outside on a windy day. Let’s just say that we hope you have a lot of lighter fluid in your Zippo.
Safety Precaution: In times of desperation, you may turn your attention to the remaining resin in your bowl as a last chance to get high. Don’t do it. Trying to consume the leftover resin is not recommended. Resin has a much lower THC ratio than the bud from whence it came and most, if not all of that THC, is destroyed when you set the resin alight. Resin also has higher levels of ash, carbon, and tar than good old weed. That bad stuff usually doesn’t get into your lungs when you smoke the skunky musk, but when you try to inhale the resin, those toxins can start to do some damage. And last but not least, smoking resin heats up your bowl very quickly, and makes it easy to get burned in the process.
Bongs are the king of marijuana paraphernalia. They come in all shapes and sizes and can often be quite beautiful. Some people we know don’t even use them for smoking. They just display their bongs as decoration pieces. To each his own.
A popular form of bong is the gravity bong. This ingenious contraption uses gravity to force the smoke into a holding chamber where it can inhaled at your leisure. Making them takes a little work, but it’s a fun way to consume cannabis that will get you extremely stoned.
Bubblers are basically miniature bongs that are usually small enough to fit in your pocket. Like bongs, bubblers allow time for the smoke to cool down before it hits your lungs. This makes it easier for the user to take bigger hits and get bigger effects.
Also known as butane hash oil (BHO), dabs are an extremely potent extract of the cannabis plant. Solidified hash oil (the dab) is meant to be smoked with a rig, much like a bong bowl, except that, instead of a lighter, you use a blowtorch. Yes, that’s right, a blowtorch. Dabbing is essentially a flash-vaporization method of cannabis delivery. And because the dab is concentrated extract, inhaling the vapors can get you super high in no time flat.
Though it might look quite dangerous, dabbing is actually healthier than inhaling smoke from joints or bongs. Because of the high heat to which the BHO is exposed, the resultant vapor is free of any foreign plant material. This makes the vapor much more “pure” than burning your weed with a regular old flame. However, this potent option is certainly not for beginners. Dabbing has been nicknamed the “crack” of pot. Use at your own risk…
No matter how you inhale it, all of the methods of smoking mentioned above (with the exception of dabs) contain extra chemicals due to burning the cannabis flower. For those of you who are happy to forgo the act of smoking in order to avoid these chemicals, read on to see the multitude of easy and effective alternatives.
Vaporizing is quite similar to smoking, though it involves heating the marijuana rather than burning it. Thus, vaporization is a healthier alternative, since it eliminates the potential pain in the lungs and throat that comes from exposure to heat and burned organic matter. However, there is no scientific evidence proving that smoking marijuana has detrimental health results compared to vaporizing. We can only conclude that vaporizing is less harmful.
Vaporizers (also known as vapes or vape pens) come in all shapes and sizes. The godfather of them all is the volcano, which has been around since before marijuana was legal in any US state. The volcano’s high price and large size put it out of reach of all but the most determined cannabis enthusiasts. With advances in miniaturization and the decrease in price of this technology, smaller vape pens are quickly becoming a popular alternative to joints and bongs. There are now handheld and portable vapes that fit easily in your pocket. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
Another advantage to vaporizers is that they can be used with oils which contain upwards of 80% THC (compared to 5-25% for flowers). As those numbers indicate, vaporizing oils has a much stronger effect on the body.
Vaporizing is widely known as the “healthiest” form of consumption because it’s far less harsh on your lungs. Again, there’s little science to back this up but the smoothness of the smoke is probably the main reason why cannabis users call it “healthy and good for your lungs”. But just because it is “less unhealthy” does not make it “healthy”. If you’re looking for ways to improve your lung capacity, we suggest regular exercise.
No Inhaling? No Problem! Try Edibles.
Not a fan of smoking or vaping? You’re lucky to live in a period where you’ve got dozens of options. Oral consumption is at the top of that alternative-options list.
Name a food and there’s probably a cannabis recipe for it. But, food isn’t the only oral way you can enjoy THC anymore. You can also reap the benefits of cannabis with tinctures, capsules, sprays, and even drinks.
But no matter the method, when cannabis is consumed orally, there are two important things to keep in mind:
– The time is takes for the cannabinoids to take effect will be longer.
– The effects the marijuana produces will be stronger.
On average, users who consume marijuana orally tend to feel the effects, at minimum, thirty minutes later. Sometimes those effects are not felt until over an hour later. Peak effects from oral consumption usually come around the two hour mark, and the effects can last up to six hours or longer depending on the user.
And then there are the stronger effects that oral consumption produces. This increase in potency is due to the fact that when cannabis is digested, the cannabinoids undergo a chemical transformation that makes them stronger. While this may make it seem like you should go out and gobble some ganja, it’s actually a warning of sorts. It is much harder to track the amount of marijuana you’re getting in edibles. Dispensaries are regulated, but if someone hands you a brownie at a concert, you have no way of knowing how much cannabis it contains and how high the THC content is. It takes anywhere from 30-120 minutes to feel the full effects from cannabis edibles. This fact alone makes it easy for inexperienced users to consume too much marijuana only to suffer the consequence an hour or two later.
Oral consumption is ideal for people consuming medicinal marijuana for long lasting chronic pain since you do not have to consume as often. For recreational purposes, you may enjoy it on a long bus ride where you don’t need to move for a long period of time. That way, if you do over consume, the only thing you have to worry about is falling asleep. Let’s dive into some oral options.
Let’s dive in at some oral options:
Brownies, cookies, cakes, you’ve got plenty of options. Does your dispensary not have the food you desire? Do a quick google search and there’s probably a weed recipe for it.
Capsules / Pills
Just like any other drug or medication, weed can be taken in the form of a capsule or a pill. This is a good strategy if you are trying to avoid smoking, but users beware. Capsules tend to be potent and very concentrated. Make sure you know how strong your dosage is.
Believe it or not, you can consume cannabis simply by letting it dissolve on your tongue.
Tinctures are a liquid concentration or marijuana matter and are one of the most underrated ways to get your daily dose of cannabinoids. If you want to avoid smoking and don’t want to wait for the effects of your special brownies to kick in, then tinctures are your new best friend.
Just place a few drops on your tongue and enjoy the ride. The effects from tinctures can take hold anywhere between five and fifteen minutes after ingestion (unlike an edible that requires more time). And just like smoking, the effects users will feel vary based on the user’s experience and the strain of marijuana chosen.
Because tinctures are an alcoholic extract, they are most often odorless. This lack of aroma makes a tincture extremely convenient to use in public situations like waiting in line at the movie theatre or satisfying your munchies at the best burger joint in town.
THC sprays are basically tinctures inside a spray bottle. Think breath-freshener spray and you’ve got the idea. Usually just one or two squirts is all it takes to send you on your way to a nice high place. The nice thing about sprays is that they are inconspicuous and can be administered even around people who might otherwise be opposed to your partaking.
Drinks / Liquid
It’s not a simple process, but you can brew weed tea and even weed beer! Yes, marijuana coffee and wine are also options. Drinking cannabis isn’t as popular as eating it, but it essentially has the same effects.
Topical Creams: Rub it and Reap…the Benefits
Not yearning for a head high? Give topicals a try. Topicals are lotions that have been infused with cannabis for relief from pain, soreness, and inflammation. Most often, they make use of the medicinal properties of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). One of the benefits of topicals like these is that they can be applied directly to the skin so you can target as large or as small an area as needed. And because CBD doesn’t affect the brain like THC does, topicals do not provide a psychoactive high. That makes them ideal for sufferers of anxiety, paranoia, PTSD, pain, and other chronic afflictions. So if you’re looking to leave your mind unaffected, then topicals are a great option.
What Method Works for You?
So, there you have it, fourteen ways to fulfill your cannabis needs. Now, it’s up to you to get out there and try each and every one in order to figure out what works best for you. If you know you don’t want to expose your lungs to smoke, try the edibles and the topicals on for size. If waiting 30-120 minutes to feel the effects sounds like a waste of time to you, experiment with the smoking options to get buzzed in a New York minute. There are so many ways to consume marijuana these days that you really can tailor your methods to whatever suits your situation. You don’t have to rely solely on one method…although you may find yourself returning to one time after time. Rest assured that that’s okay. In the end, it doesn’t matter how, just that you do.