There are various cannabis consumption methods depending on the reason for consumption and desired effect dictate which method is best for you.
There are many ways to consume cannabis, first we will look at why we want to consume and the desired effect we are looking for. We will talk about the various methods of consumption and the benefits of each method.
People consume cannabis for a multitude of reasons. Below are just a few:
- to aide in sleeping
- stimulate appetite
- pain relief
- counter the effects of chemotherapy (nausea and boost energy)
- stop taking harmful prescription medications
The most common way to consume cannabis is by smoking. There are a few different ways to consume cannabis by smoking. You smoke dried flower that has THC, CBD or a combination of both.
THC short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, it is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. When we smoke cannabis with THC is goes into our brains and makes you feel high. The higher the THC percentage the stronger the effect. Cannabis with a THC level of 2% – 9% is considered low. A THC level from 10% – 15% is medium. 16% + is in the high range. Cannabis over 23% is considered very high.
CBD short for Cannabidiol, it is the non psychoactive compound in cannabis which is being recognized as being an anti-inflammatory as well as having a multitude of health benefits. When we smoke CBD alone we do not feel high. There may be feeling of being uplifted, happiness and well being.
When CBD is combined with THC it is both uplifting with minimal high, unless the percentage of THC is in the high to very high range. Many of the health benefits of CBD can also be found in oil form and can be taken daily. A little know fact is that CBD can counter the effects of THC. CBD will help in recovery from Greening out, something to keep in mind of you ever find you have consumed too many edibles. Smoking CBD will work the quickest in that situation.
This is a hand rolled cannabis “cigarette” using ground up dried flower in either a rolling paper, a preformed cone with a filter or by purchasing pre rolled joints at a dispensary. There are rolling machines you can purchase for making rolling joints at home very easy. Inexpensive they can be found in smoke shops and dispensaries along with rolling papers and cones of various sizes. Onset of effects is within minutes and can last from 1-2 hours.
Pipes & Bongs
Pipes and bongs can come in may shapes and sizes and are made of various materials from glass to silicone. They often have a spot for water or ice to help cool the smoke. They are used with ground up dried flower. Like smoking a joint the onset of effects is within minutes and can last from 1-2 hours.
There are 2 ways to vape cannabis products first is dried flower and the second is cannabis oil that comes in cartridges you buy at the dispensary.
Dried Flower (bud)
This method is using a dried flower vaporizer which you can purchase online or through a dispensary. Ground flower is added to the chamber of the vaporizer and is set to a select temperature. There are many benefits to vaping cannabis. The flower is heated through convection, which means it is activated by hot air not flame. It will be a cleaner less harsh vapour with the best flavour and the terpenes are being taken at the best possible temperature for maximum benefit.
Very different than smoking in the heaviness of vapour compared to smoke and is the preferred method by Doctors if you choose to smoke cannabis. It is more discrete and when cannabis is consumed by a vaporizer there is minimal odor. The onset of effects is within minutes and can last 1-2 hours.
Something to note is when you vape cannabis it can be used for cooking or extraction to make edibles. The process of vaping activates the psychoactive compound in the cannabis (decarboxylation).
Cannabis Oil Cartridges (extracts & concentrates)
There are many different extracts and concentrates available, today we are discussing cannabis oil cartridges. Available in dispensaries these are oil filled cartridges that attach to a battery, usually sold as a kit to get you started and also comes in disposable options. Once you purchase the battery you only need to replace the cartridge.
Available in THC, CBD and Balanced blends it is an easy to dose discretely with minimal odor. These are concentrates of THC and CBD so it is much stronger than when you consume dried bud. Start with a single does for your first time trying concentrates, take one pull and see how you feel in 5 – 10 minutes. That will give you a good idea of how you are affected so you can enjoy your concentrate experience.
Edibles can be purchased at the dispensary or you can make your own at home infusing oil with decarboxylated cannabis. Be aware that consuming cannabis through edibles is very different than smoking. The effects can take up to 2 hours to appear.
You may have heard the term, start low and go slow and it is for good reason. Because the onset of effects can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the individual many will think they need to consume more because it is not working. Be patient, it is working. The effects may last up to 12 hours so do plan ahead.
Oils, Capsules and Sprays
THC, CBD and Balanced blends are available in oil form sold as a liquid, a spray or gel caps. People will take cannabis in oil forms mostly for the health benefits.
Gel capsules are usually quite low in THC and CBD levels and are meant to be taken daily for easy dosing.
Oil comes in liquid and spray form as THC, CBD and a Balanced blend of both.They can range in low to high percentages. THC oil when consumed will make you high. Like the dried bud the higher the percentage of THC the stronger the affect. CBD oil when consumed will not make you high. You could consume the entire bottle (though not recommended) and you will not be high in any way. There are no psychoactive ingredients in CBD.
The sprays are considered micro dosing. 1 spray is approximately 1/10th of a ml. To achieve a full 1ml dose you would use 10 sprays. The oil comes with an eyedropper and it is recommended you start low and increase the dosage every 4 days.
It should be noted that when you take CBD oil orally you will not feel anything. What many people report is once they stop using the oil for a few days they notice their aches and pains returning. CBD oil is meant to be taken long term. As it builds up in our system it we begin to feel the full benefits. The onset can be 15 minutes – 1 hour and can last from 4 – 10 hours.
There are a few topical options on the market. They come in THC, CBD and a blend of both, in cream and serum formulas. Used on the skin for targeted relief.
If you have any medical concerns it is always best to talk with a medical professional. If you are not comfortable able asking your family Dr. about cannabis you can access one of the many cannabis friendly medical clinics in every major city. They can answer any medical questions related to cannabis that your GP may not have the answers to.
One Final Note
If you are new to cannabis or wanting to really understand what cannabis works best for you starting a cannabis journal is a great idea. It is helpful to keep track of what kind of cannabis product you are trying and specifics about the cannabis such as the terpene profile, the consumption method, how you felt before and after as well any other information that is important to your cannabis journey.
With a good understanding of what cannabis can do, you can tailor your cannabis experience to make it beneficial to you and have the desired effect you are looking to achieve.