There are many ways to consume cannabis. From smoking it to eating it to rubbing it, each method has its pros and cons. Your method of consumption will vary depending on your reason for consuming marijuana—some methods are better therapeutically while others get you stoned faster. Here are some of the ways you can consume cannabis, as well as factors to consider when making your cannabis consumption method of choice.
Smoking is the fastest way to consume marijuana, and its effects can be felt quickly. There is also a variety of ways to smoke cannabis, including via joints, pipes or bongs. When you smoke marijuana, the THC enters your body more quickly, taking only 5 to 10 minutes to reach peak concentrations.
It also leaves your body more quickly than when you eat it because it’s metabolized differently. These factors make it easier to regulate how much you’re taking in.
However, smoking weed can have negative effects on your lungs, possibly causing respiratory problems (it’s hard to study what effect smoking marijuana has on a person’s lungs because many people who smoke marijuana also smoke tobacco). The smell also lingers and is more obvious to people around you—so if you’re trying to smoke on the down low, consider lighting up somewhere private.
Using a vaporizer is similar to smoking marijuana because it has the same therapeutic benefits. A vape heats cannabis to a lower temperature than burning, extracting the therapeutic parts of the plant without the harmful health effects associated with combustion of plant matter.
In a study on vaping, some participants reported advantages of vaping over smoking including better taste and high, no smoke smell, and increased perceived health benefits.
Vaporizing can be more difficult than smoking because it is hard to gauge how pot much is being inhaled. Consume Responsibly notes some vape pens use concentrated oils instead of flowers, so a vaporizer has the potential for more potency than a joint. Two other negatives noted in the previously mentioned study include the inconvenience of setting up and cleaning the vape and the length of time taken to get the device operating.
We all know that special high that we get from special brownies. Brownies and other treats enhanced with cannabis combine weed-induced euphoria with sugary goodness. Effects from edibles take longer to manifest than smoking, however, making it easier to over-ingest. Once it kicks in, eating marijuana provides a stronger and longer-lasting effect than smoking it, according to reports.
Pro-tip: If you’re using the magic brownie medically, be sure to use marijuana edibles such as butters and oils that contain cannabis extract to get the therapeutic effects.
If you decide to consume brownies or other marijuana edibles, start with a low dose and eat slowly. It’s better to start with too little than too much. Even if you don’t feel an effect right away, give it some time. If you’re consuming edibles medically, keep in mind they may not be ideal if you’re suffering from nausea.
If edibles look delicious to you, they likely look delicious to everyone. Make sure you keep your edibles away from anyone (person or animal) that might accidentally ingest them.
4. Tinctures and oils
Marijuana oils and tinctures are often used for patients undergoing chemotherapy and dealing with nausea and vomiting. The oils are then often added to food or drinks, or placed under the tongue for ingesting. As with the brownies, oils can be easily overused, so it’s best to start off with a small amount.
Some conditions, such as joint diseases, spasms, and psoriasis can be helped with topical herbal medicines. These medicines come in the form of lotions, balms, and sprays. Don’t try using them if you want to get high—they aren’t psychoactive, so they’re only useful for treating physical conditions.
The bottom line: How you consume marijuana depends on your reasons for consuming it and your circumstances (it’s more difficult to light up a bong at Grandma’s house than it is to take a quick vape break).