Alternative Ways to Consume CannabisWritten by Chris Weatherall on Aug 24, 2022
Cannabis continues to prove itself as a viable option both medicinally and recreationally.1 Constantly increasing acceptance has allowed cannabis growers and enthusiasts to continue to develop different ways for cannabis to be consumed and enjoyed. The many ways to consume cannabis, make enjoying it both easy and user-friendly.
While mainstream media might lean heavily on the most traditional ways to partake, namely smoking, there are plenty of smoke-free, discreet options available for those who enjoy cannabis. Whether you are new to cannabis or are a regular consumer who wants to try a different method of consumption, you’ll be able to find something to love among this list of alternative ways to consume cannabis.
Edibles are one of the best ways to consume cannabis. They are discreet, provide a clear, fixed dosage, and are available in a variety of options. Edibles are consumed orally and pass through the digestive system. Like anything else, this process has both pros and cons.
When consuming edibles, it is important to remember that it can take time to feel any effects associated with the edible. The amount of time that elapses from first bite to your desired outcome can vary depending on a number of factors, including your tolerance level, your size, and whether you are taking the edibles on an empty stomach. For example, you may experience quicker, more intense effects on an empty stomach than you would after taking an edible following a meal. In general, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to experience the full effects of the edible. While you may have to wait a while for the edibles to kick in, the effects of taking the edibles can last much longer than other methods of consumption. For those with less patience, there are rapid-reacting edibles that can cut down reaction time to 15 minutes.
Edibles are also clearly labeled when it comes to their particular dosages. This allows greater control over the extent of the effects. Edibles also range in dosages, allowing you to easily raise or lower your dosage amount by consuming more product or choosing a stronger edible. If you are newer to edibles, it is helpful to start with a lower dose to see how they affect you. It is typically recommended to start at 5mg and work up from there to see how you feel. It is better to have to take more than take too much and potentially not enjoy yourself.
When it comes to today’s consumer market, it’s clear that edibles have diversified well beyond the old-school pot brownies.2 You can eat and even drink your cannabis in many forms. Better yet, with advances in flavorings and production techniques, many products available at your local dispensary don’t have that earthy taste some can find undesirable.
Edible options include:
- Chocolates. Cannabis-infused chocolates are a great way to treat yourself to something delicious. You can find chocolate bars in a wide variety of flavors, sizes, and dosages.
- Mints. Mints are discreet and easy to consume. They also leave your mouth feeling minty fresh.
- Soft chews. Soft chews are extremely popular due to their ease of use and variety of options. These are a great option for those who want something sweet, but not as decadent as chocolate.
- Drinks. You can often find cannabis-infused waters, sodas, and juices. These are great to enjoy on their own, or you can use them to create a fun and creative cocktail.
Edibles allow you to tap into your creative side. Edibles are a fun experiment to try at home as well. For example, there are several recipes available to create your own cannabutter that can be used in endless recipes. Additionally, cannabis can be infused into any meal, whether it is an appetizer salad, your main course, or a tasty dessert.
Another great way to consume cannabis is via tinctures. Tinctures are extremely user-friendly and are a discreet option for those who prefer to be subtle. A tincture is a liquid form of cannabis that is typically created with the help of an alcohol-based solution. You’ll commonly see tinctures in glass jars with a lid that has an attached dropper. Tinctures are a highly popular option because they are easy to consume and can be added to any food or beverage.
Additionally, there are a few different ways you can enjoy a tincture. A tincture is designed to be consumed orally, much like an edible. The main difference is that a tincture is a highly potent liquid and can be taken sublingually, or under the tongue. A small drop placed under the tongue can be quickly absorbed through the delicate skin and enter the bloodstream via a network of capillaries.
Tinctures can also be added to any food or beverage. Using tinctures in this way is a popular option since it doesn’t affect the taste of the food. You can simply add your desired dosage to any meal. You can even place a drop in your morning coffee for an added boost of focus that also helps to offset any of the undesired side effects of caffeine intake. Finally, many people simply swallow a few drops of tincture, allowing the liquid to proceed through the digestive system.
Tinctures are best enjoyed gradually until you have a better understanding of how they affect you. The dropper is clearly labeled, making dosage easy. It is recommended to start at .5 ml and increase your amount from there.
Vaping is a great option for those who enjoy smoking their cannabis but want something that is more mobile-friendly and discreet. When vaping, cannabis oil is heated without open combustion, which can be a safer and healthier option when compared to smoking flower. This heated, activated cannabis then enters the body the same way cannabis smoke does.
Vapes are available in disposable options that come preloaded with cannabis oil, or there is also a wide range of rechargeable batteries that can be used with purchased cartridges. Most cartridges are essentially universal, making it easy to mix brands. Choosing rechargeable batteries can also be a better environmental decision since disposable vapes can’t be recycled. You can often spend less with the rechargeable option as well.
Vapes can come in simple options where all you need to do is inhale, or more complex options where you can control your heat level and turn the pen off and on through the use of different buttons. This largely depends on personal preference. Some feel that having greater control allows for better flavor and smooth inhalation. Cannabis vape cartridges come in a wide variety of options when it comes to taste and potency. You’ll commonly see a wide range of your favorite strains, including indica-forward, sativa-forward, and hybrid vape cartridges. This allows you to choose your vape experience based on the qualities of the strain, whether you want a boost in creative energy or a relaxing night in.
Dosage can be a bit more complex than with clearly labeled options like edibles or tinctures. This is because you can largely control how much you dose yourself depending on how much you inhale. Vaping allows for quick activation time, so effects can be experienced within just a couple of puffs. If you are new to vaping, it is best to start small. Take smaller hits and wait for the effects to set in before going back for more.
Cannabis topicals are a great option for those who enjoy the medicinal benefits that cannabis provides. Cannabis has been shown to help with inflammation, muscle pain, and body aches.3 Topicals are available in a variety of creams, lotions, body washes, oils, balms, patches, and more. You can even find fun bath bombs to create the perfect relaxation experience
Topicals can provide focused relief when applied to certain areas of the body. These on-the-go products are great for migraines, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, and even arthritis relief. Topicals tend to be available in lower dosages, gentle numbing and providing relief to the target area. Topicals typically don’t provide a head high, but they can be great for relaxation.
Dabbing is a popular form of cannabis consumption, but it is generally not recommended for beginners. This is because dabbing can provide the intense, immediate head high often associated with cannabis use. Dabbing is similar to vaping, as the process produces vapor to inhale, not smoke. While vaping can be relatively basic, dabbing does require more tools and work to enjoy.
If you are interested in dabbing, you’ll need a dab rig. This is a shallow metal or glass dish, called a nail, that is heated with a butane torch to a high temperature. This part of the process can feel a bit much for a newer user, or one who isn’t a fan of direct flame. Once the rig is properly heated, the cannabis concentrate is dropped onto it, and the vapor is inhaled.
Dabbing provides a clean, pure way to consume cannabis that provides a powerful high. It can be easy to overdo it when dabbing, which is why it is best to do so with caution.
Traditional Smoking Options
Smoking flower is a tried-and-true method of cannabis consumption. Flower has come a long way with the increase in legalization, and it is cleaner and more potent than ever before. Cannabis growers experiment with different cannabis strains, creating hybrids that provide more desired effects while minimizing undesired effects. When you visit a dispensary, you can purchase flower, or you can purchase pre-rolls that make consumption convenient.
Then, all you’ll need to do is land on a preferred way to smoke your purchase. Many users prefer bowls of all shapes and sizes, but you’ll find glass water bongs, silicone bubblers, straws, pipes, and many more ways to smoke. Fortunately, you don’t need to choose just one—experiment with several until you develop a routine that suits your needs.
Explore Your Options
The best ways to consume cannabis are the ways that you enjoy the most. If the traditional method of smoking flower is not your ideal choice, there are several other options. These options range in ease of use, potency, discretion, and affordability. Half the fun of partaking in cannabis consumption is experimenting with the different ways to do so. No matter what method you try next, it is beneficial to understand dosage, activation time, and effects. This ensures you know what you are getting into so that you can fully enjoy yourself.
When it comes to learning more about your options, you can always turn to the professionals at your local dispensary. At Kind Meds, we love helping our customers explore their different options. We can answer any questions you have and offer advice when it comes to choosing the best alternative ways to enjoy cannabis for you.