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THE 411 ON HOW TO CONSUME CANNABIS
With marijuana now legal for adult-use in Arizona many people are curious to try it for the first time, but often put off by the idea of smoking. If your idea of marijuana is smoking a joint, you might be surprised to know that there are multitudes of additional ways to enjoy the benefits of cannabis.
In general there are three distinct ways to consume cannabis. In our primer to marijuana we explore the different options for you to find your ideal method.
The traditional, most well-known way to use marijuana is through inhalation. When you use this method all of the active compounds of the plant are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. This means that it’s the fastest way to feel the effects that you can find.
The traditional smoking a joint is the more common inhalation method. You simply light the flower and inhale the smoke. Smokers can opt for joints/pre-rolls or blunts that use cigar paper instead of rolling paper. Blunts will contain more cannabis than joints. Smoking can also be done using a pipe or a water pipe.
In recent years vaping has become a popular, alternative inhalation approach. Using a vape device, cannabis flower or a concentrate is heated to right below the combustion point, turning the active compounds into a vapor that is inhaled. Because this process doesn’t release tar or carcinogens the way smoking does, some believe it may be healthier than smoking.
If you want to try vaping you would use a vaporizer, which can be used with flower or concentrate, a vape pen designed for oils or distillates or a dab ring, where you heat a glass, ceramic, or titanium “nail” and apply concentrate directly to the hot surface, which turns it into vapor.
There are a variety of concentrates used for dabbing that should be on your radar. Shatter is a butane extracted concentrate and because of this can produce THC percentages as high as 99 percent. Dosing with shatter can be tricky so proceed with caution. Wax or budder concentrate is easily manipulated onto a dab tool because of their texture making dosing much easier, especially for a novice. Honeycomb concentrate goes through a complex series of post-extractions and there is a lot of variability in products. Like Wax, Rosin’s glue-like texture makes it easy to manipulate with a dab tool, so it is also good for beginners.
The edible market is hotter than hot right now. 2020 was a record year for edibles. We are long past the days of “special” brownies with edibles coming in gummies, hard candy, beverage and baked good form. For many newbies, edibles are an easier and more palatable pathway to use marijuana. But because the cannabis is absorbed through the digestive tract there is a delay in effect ranging from 20 minutes to three hours. For inexperienced edible users this can lead to them eating more without realizing the hit doesn’t come until later and then when it does, it’s too much.
Tinctures are another way to orally consume cannabis. A tincture is made by steeping cannabis in alcohol. Simply place a few drops under the tongue and hold it allowing the cannabis to absorb sublingually before swallowing. The sublingual absorption is through the blood causing immediate effects like smoking and whatever liquid is swallowed is absorbed via the digestive tract producing a delayed reaction like an edible. This dual absorption method means you get both an initial effect and a lingering effect.
Using cannabis creams and salves allow cannabis to be delivered topically through skin absorption. This method is great for targeting sore muscles or chronic pain points. Topical absorption eliminates any psychoactive effects experienced with other delivery methods.
The right way to consume cannabis boils down to what you’re hoping to achieve and what you feel most comfortable with. With a multitude of different delivery methods, there’s something for everyone in the cannabis space.