The different ways to consume cannabis

For people who don’t mind the smoke, smoking is the easiest and fastest way to consume cannabis and experience the expected effects. The cannabinoids are absorbed through lungs in seconds, avoiding first pass (the phenomenon of drug metabolism during which the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches the systemic circulation) with the effects peaking in 30-60 minutes lasting less than 3 hours. It is also the least health-conscious and the most wasteful method.

Vaping/Vaporizing follows the same method of administration but without combustion which makes it just as fast-acting but without the health risks of inhaling smoke and the toxins in it. Beside being easier on the lungs, it also gives a more pleasant taste and smell. New users need to be careful! The lack of smoke may give you the false sense that you’re not getting any of the cannabinoids and can lead to over-medicating. The effect of vaping cannabis is similar to smoking but not exactly. The temperature while smoking Cannabis is so high that almost all components in the plant are vaporized, some are degraded, go through incomplete combustion, creating many unwanted side-products. In vaping process, depending on the temperature set on the vaporizer, you are inhaling select cannabinoids and terpines. Now if your vaporizer allows for temperature control you may set it to achieve the effect you want.

Eating and drinking cannabis infused food and drinks would be the next obvious choice. Cannabinoids are fat-soluble so the easiest way to consume and experience their effects would be to dissolve them in butter or oil. That being said, if the intention is to get THC or CBD, you would need to apply heat to activate/decarboxylate your cannabis.

Ingesting cannabis is the slowest method of delivery. Depending on many factors (including your metabolism, the content of your stomach, your level of activity, etc.) it can take 1.5-2 hours or more for the effects to kick in but once it happens, it’s usually much more intense and longer than other methods thanks to your liver breaking down THC into smaller, more bioavailable metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC which passes the blood-brain barrier more easily.

Another form of taking cannabis by mouth would be Cannabis Tinctures. Tinctures are liquid cannabis extract, extracted using alcohol. They are usually made in high concentration so a few drops under the tongue would work. In this method the extract works much faster and avoids first pass. Keep in mind if tincture is made from non-decarboxylated weed it is not going to have the psychoactive effects you may desire.

To be continued…

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