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Alternate Ways to Consume Cannabis

By Danyal Swan August 16, 2021
Alternative Ways To Consume Cannabis

Maybe you don’t like the sensation of inhaling smoke. Maybe you’re out and about and want to be discreet. No matter your reason, finding a smoke-less way to consume cannabis can be a challenge when you don’t know where to start. Most representations of weed-use in the media and pop-culture show flower being burned and smoke being inhaled. For those of us who are new to cannabis, or who are just looking for an alternative to smoking, it can feel like our options are limited.

But that’s just it —there are countless smokeless ways to consume cannabis that will deliver the same amount of relief (maybe even more) as lighting one up will. In fact, you might even be able to target pain and discomfort better, or simply get the high you really want easier, with these tried alternative methods.


Cannabis Edibles

You probably saw this one coming, but edibles are one of the most popular alternative methods of consuming cannabis these days. Brownies, beverages, syrups —you name it, and someone’s infused it with cannabis. Edibles have come a long way since the days of pot brownies —chefs make whole five-course meals with cannabis these days. For the casual consumer, you can find a wide range of edible (and drinkable!) cannabis products at your local dispensary.

One of the many appeals of edibles is the ability to dose precisely. If you’re new to cannabis, it’s best to start low, and work your way up. We recommend starting off with no more than 5mg, and going from there. A low dose may actually work best for you —many cannabis users microdose, or take the lowest dose possible to feel the positive effects without any side effects.

It’s also possible to make your own edibles at home. You’ll need to make your own cannabutter, and while very easy, you’ll want to be careful with dosing.

Remember: edibles take a little time to kick in. Depending on your body and dosage, it can take up to two hours for you to begin feeling the effects. Be patient! This also means that the effects from edibles will typically last longer, up to several hours. This makes edibles a great option for people who need sustained relief.


Cannabis Tinctures

Tinctures are similar to edibles in that they are consumed orally (most people take them sublingually, or underneath the tongue), but they pack a more immediate punch. These alcohol-based solutions contain highly concentrated MMJ extract and enter the bloodstream instantly, giving you quick relief. A 1 mL tincture drop will give you a light buzz within a few minutes. To realize the full benefits of tinctures, put a few drops under your tongue and hold it there, allowing the solution to absorb, then swallow any remaining liquid —any leftover cannabinoids will be absorbed through the digestive tract.

Tinctures have a slower uptake than smoking but kick in much quicker than edibles. The effects will last longerthan if you were smoking, but shorter than if you had taken an edible. In this way —tinctures are the best of both worlds. They’re especially popular with users who want fast, long-lasting relief.

Tinctures come in a variety of flavors, potencies, and CBD/THC balances. You can also incorporate them into any cannabis cooking you do.


THC Topicals

If you want more localized relief without the psychoactive high of smoking, topicals may be an excellent choice for your needs. Medical cannabis is well known for its pain-relieving qualities, which make topicals a go-to product for people looking for relief from a number of physical ailments from migraines and menstrual cramps to arthritis and skin diseases.

Topicals are known to numb and provide therapeutic relief to the areas they are applied. Topicals have exploded in popularity lately —you can find lotions, balms, even bath salts infused with CBD and THC at your local dispensary. Remember that you likely won’t get a head high from topicals, but some products, like transdermal patches, work like nicotine patches and deliver THC to your bloodstream.


Cannabis Vaping

If you’re not into smoking flower but wouldn’t mind inhaling cannabis vapor, vaporizers offer a comparable experience to your standard smoking experience. Unlike smoking, vaping heats the cannabis without combustion, making it a safer and healthier method of consumption than directly smoking bud as long as you buy from a trusted, verified source

It’s worth noting that the high from vaping won’t be the same as if you had rolled a joint; many vape oils have added chemicals to improve the high. It’s best to take it easy your first time vaping —whether you’re using adisposable pen or a distillate cartridge, vaping can be very potent. We recommend starting with a five-second draw and waiting ten minutes until you take another hit.

Vapes come in a number of forms and are popular for their portability, accessibility, and subdued odor. These are some of the vape products you may find at your local dispensary:

  • Disposable pens: Disposable pens are the size of a ballpoint pen and come ready-to-use and preloaded, making them attractive to people new to vaping.
  • Distillate: Distillate is the most pure and processed form of cannabis. Manufacturers will add terpenes back into the oil to mimic the taste and smell of the original strain. Distillate often comes in cartridges that you’ll need to attach to a battery to use.
  • Reserve: Reserve cartridges are similar to distillate, but different in that reserve is derived from strain-specific oil, meaning you can find vaping oil in your favorite strains!

People choose vaping for a number of reasons: it’s easier on the lungs than smoking, it’s discrete and virtually odorless, and you can enjoy your cannabis on-the-go with discretion.


Dabbing Cannabis

Dabbing is not for the faint hearted. Similar to vaping, dabbing produces vapor for the user to inhale, not smoke. But there are some key differences.

To dab, one needs a dab rig,which consists of a metal or glass ‘nail’ that is heated to a high temperature with a butane lighter (we said it wasn’t for everyone!), that the marijuana concentrate is dropped onto and inhaled for extremely potent effects

Most people who choose dabbing do so because itoffers a clean and pure way to consume cannabis while also getting a powerful high. There are many types of cannabis concentrates to dab with, and they each have their own consistency and form. Some of the most popular are shatter, wax, and budder.

If you’re new to cannabis, it’s very easy to overdo it when dabbing —make sure to approach with caution.

Final Thought

There’s no reason you can’t find a smokeless way to enjoy cannabis. Depending on your needs, there are a number of consumption methods that may be right for you. And with most states having legalized medical cannabis, it’s become easier for those who don’t smoke to find their fix. When in doubt, ask the care specialists at your local Zen Leaf dispensary! We’ll ensure you have the right experience.

Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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