Smoking isn’t the only way to consume marijuana. Smoking is, in fact, the least effective way to ‘enjoy’ your precious herb. There are 5 other ways to apply the therapeutic effects when taking Cannabis. Depending on where you live, some might be more accessible than others, however, there is a Cannabis consumption method for everyone.
Many people stay away from Cannabis only because they don’t like smoking it. Given the therapeutic benefits, it can be detrimental to patients’ health to say no to medical Cannabis and not to mention that in many cases medical marijuana is the only thing that works.
I’ll start with discussing pro’s and con’s of smoking and then move on to the other 5 Cannabis delivery methods, so you can pick the one that suits you most.
Smoking is the ‘classic’ way to consume Cannabis, that most people know about. Today, many people still tend to associate Cannabis with smoking and up until now, it is certainly the most popular way of consumption.
The only advantages to smoking that I can think of are:
- You can always do it, as long as you have Cannabis and something to light it with. It is easy to roll it up in some paper or make a DIY bong and smoke Cannabis. Smoking is a method that you can always go back to if all else fails.
- The therapeutic effects are immediate.
It is somewhat surprising, however, it has been scientifically proven that there is no association between smoking Cannabis and lung cancer. There is a huge difference between smoking weed and smoking tobacco.
Even though Cannabis smoke doesn’t cause cancer, it can be still irritating to the throat and can lead to coughing. It can also cause bronchial inflammation, however, these do go away after switching to other delivery methods.
The major issue with smoking is its low effectiveness.
The burning tip of your joint is at around 400 Celsius (750 Fahrenheit) between your puffs and goes up to about 900 Celsius (1650 Fahrenheit) while you are puffing on it. That kind of temperature ‘kills’ most molecules, including up to 90% of your cannabinoids and terpenes.
That is not a good use of your marijuana. Having said that, while we are talking about smoking, check out vintage photos of teenage girls and boys smoking pot in Texas back in the 70’s.
Vaporizers are devices that heat ground Cannabis flowers and concentrates to temperatures below their ignition point. At the temperature range of 180 to 220 Celsius (356 to 428 Fahrenheit), ground marijuana releases vapor that includes the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
I won’t go through all the benefits of vaporizing marijuana here, if you’d like to learn more about vaporizing, check out this post when we go through the 9 must know benefits of vaporizing Cannabis.
The advantages of vaporizing to smoking is another long topic that I won’t spend time here, you can read about it in more details here.
This is a huge topic on its own and we have previously covered many areas of the wonderful world of Cannabis edibles.
We looked at how it all begun, how we started cooking with Cannabis, in the first place and came to the conclusion that people have been finding many ways to consume this sacred herb over the last few thousands of years. For example, the cannabis infused milk based drink, the bhang, has been part of the Indian culture for thousands of years.
The major difference with ingesting Cannabis to smoking and vaporizing is the effects, which will only set in about 30 to 90 minutes or even later. Eating Cannabis also gives a much more potent and longer high than smoking or vaping.
This means that you have to get the dosing right as taking too much can lead to a less than pleasant experience.
The long lasting effects are perfect for many patients that need to be medicated all the time. With edibles, they don’t have to get up every few hours during the night to smoke or vaporize, but they can simply take their edibles before bed and sleep through the night. It seems to be the best option for chronic conditions that require maximum dosage for an extended amount of time.
The easiest way to get started in my opinion is to try to make some Marijuana chocolate at home.
Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD are ‘fatty’ molecules, therefore they are best absorbed by your body with fats or oils. As a result of this, most Cannabis cooking starts with Cannabutter or Cannaoil.
Once you have Cannabutter, you can cook and bake lots of delicious things with it. You can make brownies, cookies, or even a nice warm soup to keep you warm (and medicated) in winter. Speaking of winter, you can even infuse your entire Christmas feast if you wish, with chocolate truffles and Christmas fruitcake… all medicated.
Edibles are the fastest growing segment of the burgeoning Cannabis industry and all kind of infused consumable products are hitting the market, with Cannabis infused honey being one of my favorite.
Ingestion is also possible via drinking and non-alcoholic Cannabis drinks are gaining popularity rapidly.
Sublingual Cannabis Delivery
Cannabis also can be applied under the tongue with tinctures. Sublingual delivery is rapid and highly dose measured, making it perfect for medical applications for children for example.
Tinctures are cannabis extracts resolved in alcohol or glycerin. This is a classical method to prepare the herbal medicine that has been used for centuries.
The sublingual application is long-lasting (5 to 6 hours), so it is a great alternative to ingestion, especially when more accurate doses are required.
Topical Cannabis Delivery
Topical application of Cannabis is perfect for local symptoms, such as injuries resulting in inflammation or muscle spasms. Marijuana topicals are also very effective for skin disorders, such as Eczema and skin infections.
To make topicals, cannabis is extracted into oils or alcohol, which is an ideal process to retain all or most of the cannabinoids and other beneficial properties of the herb.
Applying topical to the skin does not affect the central cannabinoid receptors, therefore does not have psychoactive effects.
However, topical products containing Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) are absorbed through the layers of the skin more effectively and able to reach the central receptors.
The final method to take Cannabis is in its raw format. Cannabis is a superfood and the seeds are not the only nutritious parts. The flower and leaves are very high in antioxidants, chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals.
All cannabinoids are present in their raw, acid format, meaning that they are non-psychoactive. At room temperature, all THC is in its acid form, THCa and it won’t get you high.
Cannabis juice is gaining popularity rapidly, however, you have to have a fresh supply of leaves and buds to juice.
Some patients may have stomach irritation to raw Cannabis juice, while for others it works perfectly for a range of conditions, including chronic diseases.
There you have it, the 6 ways to consume Cannabis. You don’t have to smoke the herb to stay medicated.
What’s you preferred method of applying the therapeutic benefits of cannabis?
Share your experience with our community in the comments below.
- Nimbin Medican – Educating Australians About Medical Cannabis - January 28, 2020
- Pill Testing and Roadside Drug Testing – When is it Appropriate to Test for Drugs? - August 2, 2019
- The Australian Cannabis Summit in Review - July 16, 2019