Cannabis is a big business. Consumer spending in the U.S. is set to rise by $13 billion between 2018 and 2022 as legalization hits more states and the medical cannabis sector continues to thrive. Analysis of this booming trade indicates that medical marijuana dispensaries are turning over more money per square foot of retail space than Apple Stores and Tiffany’s.
One consequence of this incredible increase in activity is the innovations and advancements in how marijuana is consumed. These new consumption methods have opened the doors of the marijuana world to a whole new audience, especially those who are consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes.
For those new to cannabis, and even for seasoned users, these new methods can be confusing. As a whole new host of devices and modes of delivery hit the market, they bring new questions. So read on as we breakdown some of the most popular ways to introduce THC into your system.
You may already be familiar with vaping and e-cigarettes from the craze that took hold a few years ago touted as a healthy alternative to smoking tobacco and a stepping stone to quitting nicotine altogether.
Hot on the heels of nicotine vapes are cannabis vaporizers. There are many different ways to vape cannabis and a whole host of devices to match. One of the most popular is the dry herb vaporizer, a device that heats cannabis flower just enough to release THC but not so much that the bud combusts and releases toxin-filled smoke. Brands like Pax continue to push the boundaries of the dry herb vaporizer technology, such is the case with their new Pax 3. This dry herb vaporizer allows the marijuana to be heated up in just 15 seconds and is roughly the same size as an average cigarette lighter.
Some vaporizers are specifically designed for concentrates like shatter and wax, and some devices use cannabis e-liquid, similar to nicotine vapes.
Like smoking a joint, the high from vaping hits almost instantly, and many users have reported that the feeling is more crisp and clear than highs from other consumption methods.
Joints and Bongs
The cannabis industry can develop a million consumption innovations, but joints and bongs are here to stay. Smoking weed in a joint is the most iconic and well-known way to get stoned. A joint consists of ground cannabis flower wrapped in cigarette paper and smoked like a traditional cigarette. They can be made with or without the addition of tobacco – this is down to personal preference. Many cannabis uses love the ritual of sitting down and rolling a joint and the tactile experience it provides.
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The bong is another popular and age-old way of getting a marijuana hit. Sometimes known as a bowl or water pipe, a bong is a device where the user burns the marijuana and inhales through a mouthpiece. The smoke is pulled down through a tube and bubbles up through water at the bottom of a chamber, which cools it down and makes it easier to inhale.
Although both of these methods are as old as they get, they are increasingly thought of as the most unhealthy way to consume cannabis, as many toxins and chemicals are released from the weed when it burns. The high from joints and bongs is instantaneous.
Edibles have exploded onto the cannabis scene in recent years. An edible is a food or drink that has been infused with cannabis. Edibles come in all shapes and sizes, everything from brownies, cookies, chocolate bars, soft drinks, and even potato chips and maple syrup. The opportunities here are endless; anything you can eat can be infused with cannabis in one way or another.
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Edibles are a great alternative to smoking and vaping, as there is no risk of lung damage. They are a common entry point for cannabis newbies as they are seen as one of the softest forms of consumption. Because the food must be broken down in the stomach before the THC reaches the bloodstream, the effects can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours to kick in.
Tinctures and Topicals
Tinctures and topicals are relatively new forms of administering cannabis that have been borrowed from the sister world of CBD. Tinctures are oil dissolved with cannabis extract. The oil can be dropped on food or in a drink or simply applied under the tongue. The effects are not as instantaneous as smoking and vaping, but not as delayed as edibles, usually around 15-20 minutes.
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Topicals refer to any method where a product is applied to the skin. Topicals are mainly associated with CBD products designed to give health benefits such as clearer skin, relief from muscle pain, and stronger hair.
This article originally appeared on Green Market Report and has been reposted with permission.