There are more ways than ever to ingest marijuana, and opinions vary on which way is best. Different delivery systems will give you different results, and since people have a wide array of reasons for ingesting marijuana, they may prefer different methods for specific reasons.
When you ingest marijuana through smoking or vaporizing or consume it in edible form, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reacts with your brain. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis sativa plant that gives you that “high” feeling. When THC enters your system, it stimulates the part of your brain that responds to pleasure.
Depending on how you choose to ingest marijuana, your “high” may feel and function very differently from another method.
How Do These Methods Compare?
Smoking or vaping marijuana will get the cannabinoids into your bloodstream and to your brain much faster than consuming edibles. Not only does THC ingested through smoking or vaping affect your brain faster, but its full effect is usually felt about 30 minutes after ingesting. In addition, those effects usually last one to three hours.
Edibles take much longer to enter your system, which means it will take a little longer to feel the “high” than if you were to smoke or vape. On average, edibles consumed on an empty stomach can start to take effect within one hour of consumption. If edibles are consumed on a full stomach, the effects could take up to two or three hours to appear.
When you use the smoking or vaping methods, the smoke or vapour delivers the THC right into your lungs. From your lungs, it passes into your bloodstream and then to your brain, which is when you start to feel the effects.
When you consume an edible, the cannabis travels into your stomach and your liver before reaching your bloodstream and eventually your brain.
With all forms of ingesting marijuana, the residual effects can last up to 24 hours after using, but the feeling of being “high” will usually last around six hours if you smoke or vape and about 12 hours if you consume an edible.
By the end of 2019, smoking was still the most common method of ingesting marijuana.
More than 80 percent of people surveyed by Health Canada say they smoked marijuana sometime over the past year. In addition, 46 percent of people surveyed said they had consumed some form of edible, 27 percent used a vape pen or e-cigarette, and 15 percent used a vaporizer. Those numbers are expected to continue to change drastically in response to vape pens being cleared for legal sale in Canada at the end of 2019.
Smoking marijuana is not only the most common way to ingest marijuana but also one of the cheapest.
You can smoke using a one-hitter pipe, bowl, bong, or a joint, and you need to use marijuana flowers that have been finely ground. If you decide to smoke a joint, you’ll also need rolling papers, which you can find just about anywhere and a grinder. Another way to smoke marijuana is by rolling a blunt using blunt wraps, which are larger than joint rolling papers.
The average joint holds between 0.63 grams and 0.44 grams of marijuana. As with any form of ingesting marijuana, take it slowly if you start with a joint. The effects will set in pretty quickly, so regulate your intake so you can gradually reach where you want to be.
One-hitters and bowls are commonly referred to as pipes, and they work in a similar way. Both require marijuana flowers that have been finely ground to be placed inside the receptacle.
A bong is another option for smoking marijuana, but it is not as portable as a pipe. It also requires water to use, so you’ll have to prepare for that ahead of time if you’ll plan to take it somewhere. Bongs have a history of being a little more intense and complicated to use than a joint or pipe, and they aren’t usually recommended for beginners.
Another problem you may find when looking for a bong or pipe is that some of them can get pretty pricey. Glass bongs are often considered the most sturdy and trusted device among bong users, but they can run you more than $300 for a top version with all the bells and whistles. Don’t let that scare you away because you can find quality bongs for closer to $20.
Smoking and vaping work by heating up the product and creating an inhalant source for you. There are several similarities between the two methods, but there are also plenty of differences. One of the biggest things that separate these two methods is the smell. With smoking, you’ll have the residual marijuana-smoke smell, whereas with vaporizing, there’s almost no smell at all aside from the smell that comes from those flavoured concentrates.
Vaporizing marijuana has become more popular in recent years, but it hasn’t had the best track record. Cannabis vape products, including edibles, extracts, and topicals, weren’t federally regulated in Canada until October 2019, one year after recreational marijuana use was legalized. These weren’t sold legally until December 2019, and products were slow to appear in the market.
Vaporizing isn’t new technology, but THC vape pens are relatively new, and with them have come some concerns related to cheap, low-quality products. In August and September 2019, the United States saw a rapid rise in the number of vaping-related lung injuries. By February 2020, more than 2,800 Americans had been hospitalized with some type of lung problem that was eventually linked to vaping. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration linked the problem to batches of vape cartridges that had been altered to include something called Vitamin E acetate, which damages the lungs.
Those cases led to new manufacturer requirements that prevent the cartridges from being tampered with and to keep unwanted additives out. The key here is to always buy your products from a reputable and licensed dispensary.
Vaping marijuana involves a process where the cannabis plant or buds or cannabis concentrates are heated to just below the point of combustion. Those temperatures range from 180 to 190 degrees Celsius. That process turns the cannabinoids into a vapour that is inhaled through a vaporizer. Many users choose this method because they can use these devices without the smell of combusted marijuana smoke.
There are three main methods of vaporizing marijuana, and those are tabletop vaporizers, portable versions, and vape pens.
Tabletop vaporizers are the least common devices, but they do in fact sit right on your tabletop. You can find a wide variety of these products, but they will always have a temperature dial, heating element, heating chamber, and an attached mouthpiece. These devices heat the marijuana and create a vapour, which is then inhaled through the mouthpiece. Although they are less common than other devices, they do give you more control over the temperature of the heating element, which leads to a more even burn. Despite small differences in these devices, they all operate in a similar fashion.
Portable vaporizers are smaller versions of tabletop vaporizers that can be carried with you. There are a few major differences between a portable vaporizer and a vape pen. The biggest difference is the fact that vape pens require cartridges that contain cannabis oil and vaporizers do not. Instead, portable vaporizers include a chamber for you to put your cannabis flower or oil.
These also come in different types, including dry vapes, wax and concentrate vapes, and a third type that allows you to vape dry, wax, or concentrate. You’ll want to make sure whichever device you choose works with your preferred product.
Portable vaporizers have become quite small in recent years, and in many cases, they are even smaller than a normal-sized vape pen. These devices tend to be popular with people who plan to use them on a more regular basis because you aren’t replacing the entire device every time.
Vape pens are growing in popularity mainly because of their convenience, and they are in fact usually the size of a standard pen. You can either buy a reusable pen and cartridges that fit it or an individual-use pen, and there are a wide variety of cartridges on the market.
Although there was concern about these products in the beginning, Canadian regulators have taken steps to avoid a situation like was seen in the United States. Those problems were eventually linked to vape pens being sold illegally across the United States. Since then, many pens have been redesigned to avoid any tampering. These products are easier and easier to find and can be used by regular and casual vapers. And even though smoking marijuana has historically been the cheapest method, the price gap between traditional smoking and vape pens is quickly closing.
Ingesting Marijuana with Edibles
There are countless different edibles on the market, including gummies, chocolates, cookies, and even beverages. Edibles do often at least feature a hint of marijuana taste, so if that’s something you’re not crazy about, this method may not be your first choice.
Regardless of any potential taste, edibles are also growing in popularity like vaporizers mainly because they are easy and convenient. They are also relatively inexpensive and great for the casual user. These days, you can find a huge variety of not only sugary sweets but healthier options, too.
The high you feel from edibles will be much different than what you feel from smoking or vaping. The THC from edibles has to travel through your entire digestive system before you experience the effects, and that means the high can be more intense and last longer than other methods.
Some of the most popular edibles are gummies and hard candies. There are all types of flavours on the market, but it may be confusing to know what to look for.
Dosing can be tricky with edibles since it’s tough to know how something might affect you, so when it comes to these products, you may want to start slowly. Doses range from about 1 milligram, which is a microdose, to about 500 milligrams, which is considered a very high dose. Starting between 2 milligrams and 15 milligrams and working your way up with edibles is a good idea, especially if you aren’t sure how you’ll be affected. A typical gummy candy is usually around 250 milligrams, so you can calculate how much of that you may use per sitting. You can also measure out your doses by cutting the candy or gummy into pieces that fit your desired dosing amount.
Not all edibles come with that potent marijuana taste. In fact, many people choose chocolate products and baked goods because the taste is almost undetectable. You can also find other edible products, like honey and cooking oils, that can be added to food and often lack that strong taste.
Another type of edible you may be familiar with is tinctures. These products come in liquid form in a dropper bottle. They are meant to be taken sublingually, which means by placing the liquid under your tongue. Many of these products use a combination of CBD and THC, which can change the effect it has on you.
Remember to also give it time after you consume any edibles because the effects of the THC don’t show up right away, like they do if you were to smoke or vape.
Many people use marijuana for recreational purposes, but there also are many medical marijuana users now. The method you choose to ingest marijuana should depend on what you’re looking for in terms of potency, convenience, effects, and timing. Smoking may be harsher for some users compared to vaping or consuming edibles. A bong will give you the strongest hit, and you can oftentimes taste the marijuana in edibles, so choose accordingly.