One of the best things about taking cannabis is the variety of ways to smoke cannabis. In this article, I will highlight methods of using cannabis through the three consumption methods- inhalation, topical, or ingested use.
Ways to Smoke Cannabis
1) Inhalation Methods:
Likely the most widely known method of ingesting THC is through inhalation to the lungs, resulting in a smoke or vapor cloud upon exhalation. THC is absorbed into your bloodstream through your lungs, taking about 20 minutes to hit your system fully. A common smoker’s myth is that the longer the user holds the smoke in their lungs, the more intense their high is- however, limited research on this does not indicate this to be true. There are many methods to smoking- hand pipes, water pipes, joints, blunts, and hookahs, to name a few.
Probably the most common inhalation method due to its simplicity and convenience. Hand pipes are typically small and compact, allowing the user the advantage of portability and ease of use. They have three parts- the tube/mouthpiece, carburetor (a hole allowing the user to clear the smoke), and bowl (where the marijuana is ground up and placed before smoking). Hand pipes come in a variety of shapes, characters, or symbols and can add an artistic flair to any smokers’ house décor.
The main difference between hand and water pipes is the involvement of water. Water pipes include bongs and bubblers and are slightly more complicated than hand pipes. Size depends on the user’s preference- small and compact like a hand pipe, or larger and more customized. There are five parts to a bong- the bowl, carburetor, downstem, base, and tube. The bowl contains the ground weed and is removable along with the carburetor, or ‘carb,’ typically removed through a pull or slide motion. The downstem is a tube that allows the smoke to travel to the base, where the smoke percolates through.
Another prevalent way to consume cannabis includes rolling joints. Joints are cannabis rolled into a thin rolling paper, usually made from hemp, rice, paper, etc. A filter can be added to the end of the joint to allow users to smoke to the very end and keep from burning their fingertips.
Like joints, blunts also consist of rolled cannabis and a cigar or blunt wrap instead of paper. The addition of tobacco into the wrap adds not only a sweet flavor but also an additional buzz. Blunt wraps come in a variety of flavors and can be bought at the local gas station or specially ordered online, depending on the user’s preference in flavor and availability.
A less common way to consume cannabis involves using a hookah, a type of water pipe typically used in the Middle East to smoke shisha, a blend of flavored tobacco. Smoking with a hookah is typically a very social activity, and it is not uncommon for one hookah to have multiple mouthpieces for use by several people at a time. A “dirty” or “special” hookah is smoked by combining ground marijuana with the shisha, which is then heated by the charcoal, which percolates the smoke through the water at the base and comes out of the tube/mouthpiece of the user as a smooth, flavorful-tasting smoke. You can smoke a hookah with only marijuana, but this is not commonly practiced as it is way more complicated. Smoking a weed-only hookah is best using hash, a concentrated form of weed made. You can make your hash using a decent amount of kief from your grinder or purchase it from your local dispensary. Lets now move on to other Ways to Smoke Cannabis or other Ways to consume Cannabis.
2) Topical Use:
Topical use, meaning direct application to a part of the body, is also a popular, indiscreet form of cannabis use. Cannabis extract is made from decarboxylated oil that activates the cannabinoids in marijuana, which can easily be absorbed through your skin. This method differs from the others because there is no “high” effect on the user of the absorbed cannabis. Instead, topical use is used mainly for localized relief on specific areas for muscle aches or soreness. Examples of topical products include lotions, creams, or oils.
3) Ingestion Methods:
Consuming marijuana orally, another widespread way of use is certainly the most diverse way to feel the effects of THC. Also known as ‘edibles,’ THC can be digested through an assortment of carriers- for example, infused baked goods such as brownies or cookies, gummies, or even drinks or tinctures. The THC works to bind with an ingredient high in fat, such as butter or olive oil, to create its 35% absorption rate and potency. Edibles can last anywhere from 6 – 12 hours and usually take at least 1-2 hours to fully break down the enzymes in your liver. Keep in mind that the potency of edibles ranges vastly. Hence, it is important for the user to consider the approximate dosage, time of effect(s), and personal tolerance into account before participating.