Not sure what method of cannabis ingestion works best for your noob rear end?
Here’s what you should know.
When it comes to consuming cannabis, the days of having no choice but to roll a joint and smoke it behind a building or inhale out of an antiquated bong are gone. Thanks to the thriving legal market in Colorado, there are constantly new innovations being made to improve the way we consume cannabis.
Need proof? Just take a look at how far edibles have come over the last few years. While we were once forced to choose between homemade weed brownies and, well, more homemade weed brownies, there are hundreds of options lining the dispensary shelves. Want a high-end chocolate truffle edible? You got it.
Or, would you rather have a THC version of Mio drops to infuse your water with weed molecules and flavor (or to just drop directly into your mouth)? Yep, they exist.
But the innovations certainly aren’t limited to edibles. There are tons of new technologies that have impacted all facets of cannabis products, from smoking to vaping and everything in between. And with that many options on the market, it can be hard to choose what works best for you — especially if you’re a new imbiber. Luckily, the cannabis lovers at DGO can help out. Here’s what you need to know about each option to help you choose. Or, maybe just do all three! We’re here for it if you want to take that route, you crazy kids.
Is smoking cannabis for you?
Smoking is the traditional way of cannabis consumption, and it’s one that many new users turn to when they initially return to cannabis use via legal channels. It’s familiar, simple, and there’s no learning curve. Really, no surprise there.
But while there are perhaps more modern and high-tech ways of ingesting cannabis, the benefit of smoking weed, the literal flower, is that it delivers the effects very quickly. When you inhale your THC, it passes directly from your lungs into the bloodstream, giving you a much quicker high. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll be able to feel relief from your ailments (or just get super stoned whichever tickles your fancy).
That’s a benefit for a few different reasons. Not only will you get high quickly, but you can more easily moderate the high. When you start to feel it creep up, you can decide whether it’s time to stop smoking or keep going and get blazed face to the absolute maximum.
That removes some of the risk of getting entirely too high by accident, which can be a risk with other types of ingesting.
The major downside is that you’re smoking, which can be tough on the ol’ lungs over time — especially if you’re sensitive to environmental allergens or have a condition like asthma to contend with. If that’s the case, you may want to skip this option and go for an alternative method.
With smoking, the effects also tend to taper off much more quickly. This is less than optimal for most people — especially if you’re using cannabis for relief from chronic pain or another medical issue. If you’re new to cannabis, though, the shorter half-life from smoking may also be a lifesaver because if you take too much and start to feel anxious or paranoid since you won’t have to wait long for it to stop.
What about edibles?
If you’re looking to avoid the consequences of smoking, edibles can be a great way to consume cannabis. Edibles are also a good choice if you just don’t like the smell of marijuana or if you need to consume it more discreetly. All you have to do is grab an edible of choice from the dispensary and pop one. Problem solved. No stench and no mess.
Another upside is that edibles are also much longer-lasting than both smoking and vaping, and the high can feel a bit different, too. A lot of people describe the high from edibles as being more of a psychedelic high, and the effects can last, on average, between four and six hours. If you take a very high dose or multiple edibles, though, that high could last even longer — and end up being even more trippy than it otherwise would be.
This, of course, can be a massive problem for some users. For starters, it’s not uncommon for new users to opt for edibles over smoking or vaping because they’re easy to take and there’s no learning curve. But if you take too much, it can get super hairy. Trust us. Like, “I don’t recognize my own kids/partner/family member” type of hairy. And your eyeballs may end up feeling like you’re an oyster that’s trying to turn a grain of sand into a pearl while you blink.
That alone can be pretty uncomfortable, but you’ll also have to wait out the high from your edible for a lot longer than you would if you smoked instead. This can be especially problematic for newer cannabis users who don’t yet know their appropriate dosage, so if you want to take this route, start slow. Maybe start with an edible that has a lower amount of THC in it — there are tons of options — or take a portion of a full edible instead. That way you can gauge what the right dose is for you without going overboard.
It’s also worth noting that edibles typically take much longer to start working than smoking or vaping does. These days, there are lots of fast-acting edibles on the market, but the average time for an edible to begin taking effect is 30 to 60 minutes. Plus, you’ll likely feel the peak of the effects about four hours in. That results in a lot of new users making the mistake of thinking that their edibles didn’t work after an hour or so. That prompts them to eat more, only to feel the multiplied effects shortly after — and with too many edibles, the effects aren’t always fun.
The biggest negative when it comes to edibles is that they are quite hard to dose accurately. This is because a lot of external factors come into play, including what else you’ve eaten recently and even how your individual body digests the THC. For this reason, some people prefer a delivery method with less uncertainty.
Vaping could be it? Maybe?
Vaping has gotten a bad reputation in recent years, thanks to numerous companies producing low-quality cartridges with unknown additives — which caused some injuries and made a lot of news headlines. And while that’s a risk if you’re buying carts or vapes on the black market, or outside of a legal state, Colorado is very, very tightly in control of the cannabis products that are on the market. Regulations exist — and they work.
And, if you are vaping using legitimate and safe products that are regulated, tested, and controlled, then vaping is actually one of the safest ways to ingest marijuana. Compared to combustion, which is what’s happening when you light a joint or a pipe and smoke it, vaporization contains less than 1/1,000th of the hazards associated with smoking. It can also be a very effective method of ingesting cannabis. According to a study from researchers at John Hopkins Medical, users reported stronger effects from vaping when compared to smoking. Plus, it works much like a happy medium between the high from edibles and the high from smoking. You’ll get higher quicker, and you’ll also be able to moderate your intake more easily than you would with an edible.
Your safest bet for avoiding nasty additives is to purchase a vape directly from a dispensary that offers high-quality products, or you can purchase a dry herb vape instead — which is a device that allows the ground flower to be put directly into the chamber. Rather than combusting the flower, a dry herb vape heats up the plant matter to the optimal temperature without burning it so it’s safer for your lungs.
It should be noted, though, that even using pure flower in a vape device can still be irritating to the lungs if you’re sensitive to it.
On the plus side, vaping offers quick relief for medical ailments in a similar fashion to smoking. That means you won’t have to wait as long as you would for an edible if you need pain or anxiety relief fast. However, vaping does still have a smell, even if you’re using pre-filled carts or a dry herb vape. So, while it’s a good alternative to some methods, it’s not as discreet as edibles.
In short, there are a variety of ways to consume cannabis, and there’s not really a wrong or right way to go about it.
However, finding the right way for you might take some trial and error, so load up on the products that interest you and then try ‘em all out. You’ll find what works for you — and you’ll certainly have some fun in the process.