The dizzying array of marijuana consume methods can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. Which of the different ways to consume cannabis works best? What will get you the most high? There is no one-size-fits-all approach – instead, it is a matter of trying different methods to see what best suits your needs. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of different ways to consume marijuana for the beginner just dipping a toe into cannabis culture, to the seasoned affecionado looking to explore something new. From thai sticks to transdermal, there is something here for everyone.
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis: Inhalation Methods
Inhaling marijuana is a time-honored and tested method for imbibing Mary Jane. Over the centuries, many tricks have been developed to enhance and perfect the smoking experience. Below are a list of different inhalation methods beloved the world over.
Bongs, also known as water pipes, are typically made of glass and are designed to deliver cooled smoke to your lungs. The way bongs achieve this effect is that they come equipped with a water chamber which lowers the temperature of the smoke down before it travels into your mouth. The result is a smoother, more buttery hit, and a less-scorched throat.
Bubblers are a type of water pipe similar to a bong. Where they differentiate is size – with bubblers being much more portable than bongs – and in design, with bubblers coming in intricate shapes. Bubblers tend to be glass, so they are delicate. They are regarded as a halfway point between bongs and glass pipes.
Dabs have become popular in recent years, although this doesn’t negate the dangers associated with this method of marijuana consumption. Dabs are made through an extraction process involving a solvent such as butane, which can be dangerous given the flammable nature of the solvents. The resulting oil can also contain high levels of chemical contamination due to an imperfect extraction process, leaving the contaminants to be absorbed by the body upon consumption. However, when done correctly, dabs can be a safe and effective way to enjoy cannabis.
The name “moon rock” hints at how high this pot product can get you. A moon rock is dried marijuana flower which is dipped or sprayed with cannabis oil and then coated with kief. This extremely concentrated cannabinoid bud is then used in joints, pipes, or bongs. User beware: a little goes a long way, so its best to start low and go slow.
Pipes and bowls are some of the more common ways to consume marijuana. Pipes come in a variety of different formats, including glass, wood, ceramic, and even metal. Dried marijuana and products such as hash and tobacco are packed into the bowl of the pipe and ignited, producing smoke which is then inhaled.
Joints and Blunts
Joints are perhaps the most classic form of smoking pot. Dried bud, tobacco and hash, kief, and other combustible products like moon rocks are rolled between papers and sealed, creating a cigarette-type shape which is lit on one end and inhaled through the other, sometimes through a filter. Blunts are similar to joints, only larger, composed of several rolling papers or specialty blunt rolling papers which are larger and more sturdy to support more product.
Thai sticks are a type of blunt, only much more potent. This ancient method of pot smoking involves cured marijuana buds which are wrapped in marijuana fan leaves and drenched with hash oil. The curing process – which can take upwards of a month – is said to increase potency and improve the terpene profile.
Of all the inhalation methods, vaporizers are among the healthier options for your lungs (although there has been some controversy around vape pens). This is because, with vaporizers, you aren’t inhaling smoke – which can be filled with carcinogens – but vapor instead. Vaporizers work by heating dried marijuana flower or a cannabinoid extract to a point just below combustion, which allows the cannabinoids to be released. This way, you are only inhaling cannabinoids, rather than burning plant material.
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis: Edibles
Consuming edibles allows you to avoid inhaling potentially carcinogenic smoke. There are a wide variety of edibles to choose from – and the selection seems to grow day by day. Below are a few edibles you may want to give a whirl.
Cannabis-infused beverages are blowing up grocery store shelves and market share, with some estimating the market to be valued at $3 million in 2020. In states that have legalized marijuana, CBD beverages have become common features in the specialty drink cases in stores such as Whole Foods, and some bars are beginning to embrace THC-infused cocktails.
If you’re not looking for a culinary experience, opting for cannabis pills is a great way to consume weed safely. Coming in pill or capsule form, this delivery vehicle can contain decarboxylated flower, single or full-spectrum cannabinoid oil, or even be a compacted power similar to a Tylenol. Cannabis pills and capsules can be immediate or time-release, and have the same effects as any other edible.
The pot brownie is a classic when it comes to weed snacks. Candies, gummies, and lollipops are other commonly-found products lining the shelves, from coffee shops in Amsterdam to legalized dispensaries across North America. To really amp up the nutritious boost you can get from weed snacks, there are even sugar-free cannabis snacks, providing a safe choice for folks with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis: Sublingual
Sublinguals are cannabis-laced products that are placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve. These products are similar to edibles, however, because their absorption into the bloodstream happens in the mouth, rather than the digestive system, the effects are felt faster than with other edibles. Sublingual absorption also prevents delta-9 THC from being converted into its more potent form, 11-hydroxy THC, which occurs in the digestive system.
Dissolvable strips, including THC strips, are meant to dissolve rapidly when they come into contact with moisture – so the area beneath your tongue is the perfect environment. These small strips resemble paper in thinness and texture and are a subtle way of consuming cannabis. To any untrained eye, putting a THC strip beneath your tongue looks the same as putting a breath-freshening strip into your mouth. Let it dissolve, and enjoy the effects!
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis: Tinctures
A marijuana tincture is an extraction of cannabis using alcohol as both solvent and final product, usually administered with an eye dropper or as a spray. They can be added to food, drinks, or taken sublingually. One of the biggest advantages to marijuana tinctures is that this consumption method allows for the most precise dosing.
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis: Topicals
Cannabis topicals are a delivery method for cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, which are applied directly onto the skin. Said to have beneficial effects for conditions such as inflammation, swelling, arthritis, muscle soreness and skin irritations such as eczema, topicals are site-specific, meaning they are most effective when applied directly to areas on the body which require treatment. Despite certain products containing psychoactive cannabinoids, no topical will get you high.
Cannabis creams are similar to body moisturizers – just spread them onto the skin until they absorb, and enjoy the effects. Here is a list of creams, lotions and salves to try out.
For many women, sex can be a painful experience. Marijuana lube can help by relaxing vaginal muscles, providing a relaxing, pleasant body buzz, and of course, extra lubrication. Weed lubes are available in CBD or THC extracts, or a combination of the two.
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis:
Although patches are applied to the skin, they are not technically topicals – rather, they fall into the category of transdermal. Unlike topicals, patches can produce psychoactive effects, and are ideal for discreet medicating over long periods of time. Patches do not have to be applied to a particular site in order to have an effect. They are designed to release cannabinoids into the bloodstream over a long period of time, and generally last for eight to 12 hours.
Different Ways to Consume Cannabis:
Cannabis suppositories can be used as a weed lube alternative, and when administered rectally, can deliver high amounts of cannabinoids without getting you extremely high. Suppositories are said to be helpful with menstrual cramps and other muscle pain. Here’s a DIY recipe for creating your own cannabis suppositories.
Anytime you are consuming a drug, it’s important to do so safely and responsibly. Although its exceedingly rare for marijuana to cause death,
Buy Only From Certified Dispensaries
Not only is buying from certified dispensaries the law, it’s safer – especially when it comes to manufactured cannabis products like extracts or edibles, which can be contaminated with residual solvents or other ingredients that may not be the best for your body. Buying products from a trusted source that is beholden to certain guidelines and standards helps ensure that you are consuming the safest product possible.
Don’t Hold The Inhale
While it might be tempting to believe that holding the inhale allows more of that psychoactive goodness to penetrate your lungs, this is actually an urban myth. THC becomes absorbed into the body almost instantaneously, so the length of time you hold your breath doesn’t actually affect your high. Plus, holding your breath could make you lightheaded and unsteady on your feet. So how do you get higher instead? Simple: smoke more weed.
Don’t Share Mouthpieces Or Pass Joints
Although sharing is caring, this adage doesn’t necessarily apply when it comes to smoking. Diseases such as herpes often lurk on people’s mouths and lips even when no breakouts are detectable. It’s safest to roll personal joints or carry your own mouthpieces when smoking with friends and especially strangers.
Keep Your Accessories Clean
Many bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for extended periods of time. Especially in an age of COVID-19, hygenic habits are important to adopt. All your weed accessories – including objects like grinders, pipes, bongs – deserve a good scrubbing on a regular basis.
Use Glass Pipes
Pipes come in all different sorts of materials – but the safest among them is glass. Besides delivering the best flavor, since glass isn’t porus and won’t retain any lingering scents from previous sessions, glass pipes don’t offgas any toxic materials. Plastic pipes are especially to be avoided, since they can leach materials like BPA and Polystyrene when heated.
Use Rolling Papers Approved By FDA
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires that all rolling papers submit their list of ingredients to the agency for approval, in order to safeguard people from consuming unecessary toxic materials. Some companies will attempt to incorporate dangerous ingredients into their products; in 2006, a Spanish rolling paper company was found to be using an illegal material, called esparto, which is carcinogenic. This is why it’s always wise to stick with FDA-approved rolling papers.
From topicals to moon rocks, vaporizers to brownies, there is a marijuana consumption method to suits every individual. With the weed industry becoming increasingly accepted, it’s likely that novel ways to eat, drink, apply or smoke ganja will continue to be invented. In the meantime, we hope you get around to trying everything on this list and deciding on your favorite way to safely consume marijuana.