We’ve all heard whispers about the benefits of cannabis consumption. In the last few years, cannabis has exploded into the market and changed the way we view and approach medicine and wellness. As an alternative medicine, extensive research has found that cannabis can be helpful in easing numerous ailments, from stress to pain to insomnia. But can we really experience these benefits from smoking marijuana? Or are smokeless options the way to go?
For many, marijuana continues to be synonymous with smoking a joint. While this method of consumption may produce benefits for many people, it can be extremely inhibitive and harmful. Smoke inhalation can agitate the lungs, the smell can cause headaches, and there are numerous negative long-term health effects of frequent cannabis smoking. Luckily, smoking marijuana is not the only way to benefit from its use.
Numerous smokeless options have been developed and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Check out these three options that you can try instead of smoking!
Edibles refer to any food product infused with cannabinoids (the chemical compounds found in marijuana). The history of edibles is a very long one, with historians dating it back to 1500 BCE in India. There, a drink was made that combined marijuana buds and leaves with ghee and spices. Today, edibles have become one of the more popular methods of consuming cannabinoids and people have started to get very creative with it. Edibles are available as baked goods, candies, and even as savoury options such as pasta sauces and spice blends. There are countless ready-made edibles as well as make-it-yourself recipes available online.
- Inconspicuous – if you’re trying to be subtle, edibles are your best bet! They are commonly ‘disguised’ as common food items and are mostly odourless. This also makes it possible to be discreet when consuming in public spaces or when storing the product at home.
- Long-lasting effects – the main difference between ingesting marijuana and smoking it is the length of time it takes for you to feel the effects. Smoking marijuana gives you an almost instant high that lasts for a much shorter period than an edible high. Depending on your purpose, the longer lasting high can be more beneficial. This option can be most valuable for those suffering from insomnia, as the longer high allows the body to stay relaxed for a longer period of time.
- No other side effects – Smoking marijuana affects people differently. Some common side effects include dry mouth and skin, itchy eyes, and throat irritations. These are not as common when using edibles responsibly.
- Delayed high – As edibles need to be digested by your body, it can take a up to a few hours from when you eat it, to when you feel it. Inexperienced users tend to consume more in this time as they think their initial dose was not enough. This leads to the discomforts and dangers of overconsumption.
- Hard to measure potency – edibles are notorious for having an inconsistent potency. It is much harder to have an exact amount per unit of edible, especially when making a large batch. This can lead to over-dosing.
- Long lasting effects– although this can be positive, the long-lasting effects might become an issue depending on the user and his/her intention. As the high can last for several hours, making sure you have enough time to ride it out is essential for a pleasant experience.
Vaping is one of the newest methods of marijuana consumption that has become extensively available on the market and comes with an array of controversy. Vaping is the process of heating up the product to a temperature that releases the chemical compounds as vapor. Most vaping devices heat the product to a temperature just below combustion, eliminating the need to inhale smoke. Some sources say it is a healthier alternative to smoking due to the lack of smoke and tar entering the lungs while others tout the dangers related to vaping cannabis products. Since e-cigarettes hit the North American market in 2006/2007, a lot of funds have been put into researching the long term effects of vaping nicotine. As marijuana was not legalized until 2018, the same research has not yet been conducted on the potential dangers of vaping cannabis products.
- Potentially healthier than smoking – the theory behind this is that vaping reduces the amount of smoke, tar, and other carcinogens entering your lungs while still delivering the benefits of cannabis.
- Subtle – like edibles, the vaping of cannabis products is a lot more subtle than smoking as the smell is significantly less powerful.
- Dosage control – using a vape to consume cannabinoids can ensure more accurate dosages than edibles.
- Potentially harmful – due to the lack of research surrounding vaping cannabis products, it is still unknown if this method is a significantly healthier alternative or not.
- Initial cost – as vaping requires a vaporizer, the initial cost of vaping can be steep. Products come in a range of prices with different characteristics depending on what you are looking for. Research is recommended before buying a vaporizer or vape pen.
- Learning curve – to receive the full benefits for your specific needs, learning to vape can take some time and research. There is no “one-size fits all” measurement.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main chemical compounds found in marijuana. It is excellent for pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory. CBD oil is created using certain strains of cannabis that have been bred for a high CBD level. These oils do not contain the chemical compound THC, which is responsible for the psycho-active effects that many cannabis users desire. For this reason, many people who are interested in cannabis solely as an alternative medicine choose CBD oil.
- Little to no THC – if you are looking to consume cannabis for medicinal purposes only, CBD oil will eliminate the psycho-active and potentially hazardous effects of other options and deliver only the beneficial properties.
- Convenient – As CBD oil comes in a small, discreet bottle, it is easy to travel with and have available while on the go. It is also tasteless and odourless, making dosing very easy.
- Dosage accuracy – Once you figure out the right dosage for your needs, it’s easy to keep dosages consistent with each use.
- Small dosages – as CBD oil is a concentrate of the chemical compound, small amounts are needed to get the desired medicinal effects.
- Delayed effects – As the oil can take a little bit of time to enter your bloodstream, the effects will not be as immediate as inhalation.
- Learning curve – Not all people react to dosages and alternative medicines in the same way. It may require some experimentation to find the dosage that suits your body and provides the desired effects.