The exploding recreational market for marijuana has rapidly popularized many methods of consuming cannabis that was decidedly part of the fringe just a few short years ago. Smoking marijuana remains the most widely embraced method, due to the greater accessibility of marijuana flower. But legal recreational cannabis is introducing many marijuana users to new forms of the drug, especially concentrates and edibles. Here’s a brief overview of the major methods for consuming marijuana.
Smoking marijuana is hands down the most widely used method of consuming cannabis. It’s also the simplest: a rolling paper and some dried marijuana flower are all you need. Other, more technological methods of smoking marijuana may be rising in popularity. But for many people, the social experience of passing weed around with some friends is what cannabis is all about.
Over the ages, countless innovations have attempted to improve on the basic experience of inhaling the smoke of combusted cannabis. As a result, there are numerous ways to smoke marijuana. The rolling technique is at the root of joints, blunts, and spliffs. On the other hand, glassware and other devices are essential for smoking weed out of a pipe, bong, or bubbler.
Vaping Cannabis Oil
The onset of legal recreational markets for marijuana has led to a dramatic upsurge in the method of vaporizing cannabis, aka “vaping.” In many ways vaping cannabis has quite a bit in common with the process of vaping tobacco, such as the use of “e-cigarette” batteries and heating elements.
Concentrates used in vaping are almost always in was or oil form. Vaporizing herbaceous cannabis is also possible, though less efficient and portable than hand-held vaporizing methods.
It’s easy to see why vaping has become such a popular method for consuming marijuana. The method is remarkably discrete and produces none of the telltale “weed smells” that often betray cannabis users. Vape pens and other hand-held devices are portable and convenient. They’re free of many of the harsh marijuana plant compounds that can harm your lung health, like tars. And companies are getting better at crafting high-quality, flavorful vape cartridges with a wide array of cannabinoid profiles.
Eating and Drinking Cannabis-Infused “Edibles”
Cannabis culture has always taken pride in its epicurean delights. From the old standby of the “special brownie” to advanced gastropub techniques, culinary cannabis has attracted amateur and professional “cannachefs” alike.
Eating cannabis, however, does not involve simply ingesting dried marijuana flowers. Instead, the process involves activating and then extracting THC and other cannabinoids from ground marijuana flower using fatty substances like oils and, well, fat.
After decarboxylation, which is the process of “activating” marijuana’s cannabinoids with heat, THC and other cannabinoids become soluble in fats. Hence the enduring power of the “pot brownie;” the fats in chocolate and butter excel at sucking up the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant matter.
It’s also possible to drink cannabis. Again, drinking marijuana involves the use of oils, tinctures, or other concentrates, which are added to the consumer’s beverage of choice. From lemonade to coffee, drinkable cannabis is an easy and smoke-free way to dose.
One important thing to note, however, is that the metabolic pathway of THC is different from that of inhaling. Digestion adds another “stop” on THC’s path to the brain and produces a special form of THC, called THC-COOH, that’s longer-lasting and more potent than THC’s other metabolites.
Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates
Dabbing is the process of rapidly sublimating cannabis concentrates and inhaling the ensuing vapor. Since users are inhaling concentrates with upward of 90 percent THC, dabbing produces highs unmatched by any other method of consuming cannabis.
The somewhat crude method of dabbing has evolved over the years thanks to its rapid rise in mainstream cannabis culture. As methods have been refined, the fits of coughing, blasted out lungs, and the infamous “dab sweats” are becoming the purview of only the most diehard dabbers.
Keeping a clean rig and learning how to dial in the perfect temperature of the heated element are essential to a pleasurable dabbing experience. With practice, dabbing can produce smooth yet intensely flavorful experiences that lead to incredible and long-lasting highs.