Different Cannabis Consumption Methods and Their Effects
When you mention the words cannabis consumption, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is a typical pipe, bong, or the wildly popular joint. But the numerous ways of consuming cannabis stretch beyond smoking. Besides, smoking isn’t for everyone.
People with cardiopulmonary illnesses are cautioned against smoking of any kind. And although smoking provides an incredible buzz, it’s not always the most discreet way to consume cannabis.
Luckily, there is an option for everyone, from oral, sublingual, topicals, vapes, and more. Each method possesses unique characteristics, and the body utilizes the herb differently, depending on how you ingest it. That’s why delivery methods are such an important consideration for medical and recreational consumers.
Let’s learn about all the consumption methods and their effects on a user.
Smoking is a common cannabis consumption method. It involves rolling small pieces of flower using a rolling paper and then smoking the joint. You can also smoke marijuana in other ways, including:
- Water pipes or bongs: A bong, also referred to as a water pipe, is a filtration device used for smoking cannabis. Its primary purpose is to filter out the harsh substances and contaminants in smoke, giving you smoother and better-tasting rips. These compact devices are easy to use as all you have to do is pack your grounded flower into the bowl and light it up. The smoke travels through the device chamber so that you inhale it through the mouthpiece.
- Blunts or Joints: Some people prefer smoking cannabis in a blunt or a joint. A blunt is a cigar that has been hollowed out and replaced with marijuana or a combination of marijuana and tobacco. Blunts are relatively larger than your average joint. Meaning they contain more cannabis and burn for a longer period.
- Hookah: This is a less popular consumption method. But some marijuana users prefer smoking cannabis with a hookah as it elevates the overall experience. Because hookah contains a low water content, the flower burns relatively faster than you can smoke, producing an unpleasant taste and wasting the herb.
When cannabis is smoked, the inhaled gases enter the lungs before being absorbed into the bloodstream and brain. You can begin to feel the effects of your marijuana within 2-10 minutes. The effects peak is felt in about 10 minutes after consumption and typically lasts between 1-3 hours.
Users are generally advised to approach this consumption method with great caution as smoke irritates the throat and lungs.
Vaping is a relatively new cannabis consumption method. It works the same way as smoking, but here, the plant is vaporized rather than burnt.
The vaporizer heats the plant material to a temperature where the active ingredients tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are vaporized without being combusted. You inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece.
Research suggests that vaporization is the most efficient way to deliver cannabinoids through inhalation. This revolutionary method minimizes the risks of smoking because it eliminates lung and throat irritation. Indeed, most smokers consider vaping a safer and healthier alternative to smoking.
You can vape cannabis in the following ways:
- Vape Pens: Vape pens utilize cannabis oils and distillates. Vape pens are electronic devices consisting of a cartridge that holds the flavored oil and a battery that heats the liquid. You inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece.
- Vaporizers: A vaporizer is a device that vaporizes cannabis flower or concentrates. These devices are easy to use as all you need to do is pack the cannabis in the heating chamber, adjust the temperature with the click of a button and inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece.
The adverse effects of vaping remain unknown. However, there have been some issues associated with the new wave of oil vaporizers.
The cannabis market is largely unregulated, meaning that some of these products’ safety, purity, and efficacy haven’t been tested. Using oil-based vaporizers contaminated with additives like Vitamin E acetate puts your health at severe risk.
Like smoking, vaping delivers its effects almost instantly (2-10 minutes). However, the high doesn’t last long and is only felt for an average of 2-4 hours.
Keep in mind that most vaporizers utilize concentrated cannabis oils. Unlike your regular flower, which contains 5-20% THC, concentrated oils can possess up to 80% THC, meaning that its effects can easily overwhelm a novice.
Dabbing Marijuana Concentrates
Dabbing is relatively similar to vaping. But unlike vaping, which utilizes cannabis flower/oil, dabbing typically involves vaporizing cannabis concentrates like shatter, crumble, wax, and hash oil using a dab rig.
The nail is heated using a blowtorch. Once the cannabis concentrate (ex: rosin) is applied to the nail using a dabber, it is vaporized almost immediately. Dabbing is generally thought to offer a greater high than smoking.
This cannabis consumption method is not for everyone, especially if you’re a novice. Dabbing produces very high THC levels, causing an extreme high that can quickly overwhelm a beginner. But once you get the hang of the process, you’ll be incredibly pleased with the complete physical relief and new levels of cerebral effects.
Eating Marijuana Edibles
Edibles are perhaps the most preferred cannabis ingestion method. Edibles involve both drinking and eating cannabis-infused products like gummy bears, teas, candies, capsules, and chocolate bars. The effects delivered are significantly different from other consumption methods like smoking or dabbing.
When you consume an edible, it must first pass through the digestive system and liver before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Hence, these products offer a delayed onset of effects that tend to cause a powerful full-body buzz that can last up to 12 hours after consumption.
This makes edibles ideal for medical marijuana patients looking for long-lasting and highly potent relief.
Sublingual consumption involves placing a few drops of cannabis oil under your tongue and holding them there for a few seconds before swallowing. The area under your tongue is laden with capillaries that absorb the cannabinoids directly into your bloodstream.
Common products consumed sublingually include sublingual sprays, medicated lozenges, and dissolvable strips. This delivery method is typically used by medical patients looking for highly potent benefits without the side effects inherent to smoking. The onset of effects is generally similar to other oral consumption methods. However, anecdotal reports suggest an earlier onset.
Cannabis topicals are the logical choice for most athletes and older consumers. Most topical products utilize full-spectrum cannabis extract that has been decarboxylated to activate the cannabinoids. They come in the form of salves, lotions, bath bombs, creams, and oils.
Once applied, the activated cannabinoids are absorbed via the skin, providing localized relief from symptoms like pain, soreness, and inflammation. Cannabis topicals do not give a high. Most users generally report an onset of effects within two hours after application.
There are numerous cannabis consumption methods, each of which offers unique benefits. The most important thing for you is to experiment with the different methods until you find the one that provides your desired effects. This guide provides you with all the necessary information to help you choose the right method that effectively meets your needs.
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