We have all evolved beyond the bong. As more cannabusinesses have been approved to operate in different states around the country, the country has seen a drastic increase in the types of cannabis products available. While smoking may be the most popular, there are a variety of alternative ways to use cannabis both medically and recreationally. The effect, duration, and onset time vary slightly with each consumption method. Many can be combined for synergistic, sustained relief.
The correct consumption method for you will be a matter of desired effect, intensity, duration, and personal preference and each person´s organism, tolerance, reason(s) for use, age, gender, weight and your all-important genetics will influence how you feel.
Patients can consume Cannabis is more ways than just smoking a joint. In short, medical marijuana can be inhaled, eaten, taken under the tongue, or applied via topical creams. Some of these methods are safer and more effective than others, so patients should consider their options carefully when selecting a route of administration.
Edibles vs. Vaping: Why Consumption Method Matters
Cannabis consumption is no longer limited to just smoking. The stoner stereotype is fading fast and as the negative stigma that once surrounded cannabis dissipates, consumers new and old are being presented with new consumption options.
An increasing number of cannabis businesses are opening their doors nationwide and customers are feeling overwhelmed by the choice of products on offer, from THC-laced edibles to CBD-rich vape oils. The edibles market is growing, putting it on par with the vape market. Combined, these cannabis products are emerging as some of the most popular new consumption options for medical and recreational consumers.
If you want to get your daily dose of THC or CBD, you’d better enlighten yourself on the benefits of vaping and edibles. So, read on to get the scoop about why consumption method matters.
Cannabis Methods of Consumption May Produce Unique Effects
Ingestion and inhalation are two common methods of cannabis consumption for both medical and recreational cannabis consumers. Tolerance, reason(s) for use, age, gender, weight and your all-important genetics will influence how you feel when you vape or chow down on a batch of edibles. Since everybody’s biological structure and mindset is different, it’s important to understand how cannabis reacts with your body by means of vaping and edibles.
Vaping Cannabis: What is vaping and will it suit my lifestyle/medical requirements?
Former cannabis smokers often turn to vaping as a way of restoring their health, all the while getting a delicious dose of potent THC or CBD-rich cannabis oil. Just like with smoking, the effects of vaping cannabis tend to kick in within 90 seconds. The ideal temperature for vaping cannabis oil is between 180-200 degrees Celsius.
Vape smoke will not have the same “smoke smell” stigma because you will be inhaling water vapor, not smoke. Compared to smoke, the vapor released from cannabis oil may be lower in toxins. Choose the right type of oil that retains its pure terpenoid profile and you can benefit from a tasty, pure and powerful vaping session.
Perhaps one of the major benefits of vaping cannabis oil is that you can use your vaping device on the move. There’s no need to worry about other people stigmatizing your habit/medication, since many vape devices emit an odorless vapor.
Cannabis Edibles: What are these products and how can they benefit me?
Cannabis edibles are basically an edible product (cookie, biscuit, beverage) that has been infused with naturally-occurring cannabinoids from the Cannabis Sativa plant or from the Hemp plant if it’s solely a CBD product.
Cannabis-infused drinks and foods are generally categorized as “edibles”, since they react with the body in the same way. Unlike with vaping, the onset of the effects of cannabis are not instant when you eat an edible. Instead, edibles tend to kick in approximately 60-90 minutes following ingestion. The effects can sometimes last for 4-12 hours, depending on the dosage.
Examples of common types of cannabis edibles include cookies, cakes, chocolates, hard candies, canna-oil, canna-butter and infused teas. Cannabis extracts, (when applied in tincture form for immediate absorption into the bloodstream,) may also be placed in the edibles category. Combining tinctures with your favorite recipes is a simple way of ensuring you receive your daily dose.
Avoid eating cannabis edibles on an empty stomach, as the effects may be more than you bargained for. Overconsumption risk can be higher with edibles, since 50% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is metabolized by cells inside the liver. This, in turn, transforms the THC into 11-hydroxy-THC.
The easiest and most common way consume cannabis requires little more than a vessel and a lighter. You can pack the cannabis into a pipe, roll it into a joint, or load it into a bong. Smoking cannabis involves inhaling the smoke released by the heated flowers or concentrate.
Smoking is popular because its easy and requires little more than a vessel and a lighter.
When smoking cannabis, the effects can be felt almost instantly and last from 90 minutes to 3+ hours depending on the individual, cannabinoid content, and potency of the strain. Because of the minimal onset time associated with smoking cannabis, dosage control is easy relative to other consumption methods. The downside is the potential for minor irritation of the respiratory system.
Edibles and Ingestible Oils
As the availability of medical and recreational cannabis has increased, so has the popularity of edibles (cannabis infused food and drink). The selection of cannabis infused food and drink is constantly expanding with dispensaries selling everything from medicated sodas to savory snacks. For those living in less tolerant states, you can make your own at home with surprising ease. Essentially any recipe that calls for oil or butter can be infused with cannabis. In the edible preparation process, the cannabinoids are combined with lipids (fats) and decarboxylated (heated) converting them from their acid forms into their activated states. The activated oil can also be ingested in pill form.
Edibles are ideal for those seeking sustained, strong relief throughout the day and don’t mind a delayed onset.
The effects associated with ingested cannabis last much longer than the other consumption methods (anywhere from 4 to 8+ hours) and can be significantly more intense. This is because THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, is converted to the more psychoactive 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver. This compound is approximately 5 to 10 times stronger than the original THC. Smoked/vaporized cannabis does not have the same effect as it does not pass through the liver. For those looking to avoid the ‘high’ associated with THC-infused edibles, we recommend high CBD edibles or juicing raw cannabis.
The downside to edibles is the delayed onset time, which can take anywhere from 20 to 90+ minutes. Onset time is directly related to digestive process – eating them on an empty stomach results in a faster processing and vice versa. The combination of delayed onset and variable potency make dosage control more challenging. For more on recommended edible dosages, click here.
A tincture is a liquid cannabis concentrate derived through alcohol extraction. Tinctures were once the most common form of medicinal cannabis in the United States, prior to their prohibition in 1937. Tinctures are typically administered sublingually – a few drops of the cannabinoid-rich liquid under the tongue is often a sufficient starting dose. Tinctures are available in a variety of potencies, cannabinoid profiles, and flavors.
Tinctures provide a rapid delivery without utilizing the lungs and allow for consistent dosing.
Topicals are cannabinoid infused lotions, salves, balms, sprays, oils, and creams. Topicals are applied directly to the skin for localized relief of pain and inflammation, making them perfect for treating muscle, joint, and surface-oriented pain.
Recommended for treatment of localized muscle, joint, and surface-oriented pain and inflammation.
One other benefit of topicals is that they are completely non-psychoactive. Topicals have been especially helpful in treating those with arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.