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Ways to use marijuana: How many do you know?

Marijuana has been consumed in various forms throughout history. Native to Central Asia, the plant has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes for millennia. Today, the prevalence and legality of marijuana use varies widely, being legal in some regions and prohibited in others. With its increasing acceptance, the ways of using cannabis have diversified significantly.

Traditional Methods of Consumption

Smoking

Smoking marijuana is perhaps the most recognised and traditional form of consumption. This method involves inhaling the smoke produced by the combustion of the cannabis plant. There are several ways to smoke marijuana:

  • Spliffs: These are marijuana cigarettes made by rolling the shredded weed in rolling paper. Often, marijuana is mixed with tobacco, a practice common in many parts of Europe and known as a "spliff". This mixture can make the joint burn more evenly and moderate the effects of THC.
  • Pipes: A more direct way to consume cannabis without the additives of a cigarette. Pipes can vary greatly in design and material, from simple wooden pipes to elaborate glass pieces.
  • Water pipes or bongs: These devices filter and cool smoke by passing it through water before it is inhaled. Many users prefer this method because they perceive that the water filters out harmful particles, and the cooled smoke may be less irritating to the respiratory tract.

The act of smoking marijuana is often appreciated for its ability to provide almost immediate effects, allowing users to adjust their consumption according to the desired effects. However, combustion of the plant can release tar and other carcinogens, leading some users to seek alternative methods of consumption, such as vaporisation.

Steaming

Vaporisation has become popular as a healthy alternative for consuming marijuana without smoking. Instead of burning the plant, a vaporiser heats the cannabis to a temperature that is sufficient to vaporise, but not burn, the cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, along with other active compounds.

  • Reduced exposure to toxins: Vaporisation significantly reduces the inhalation of harmful substances such as tar and carcinogens produced during combustion.
  • Temperature control: Modern vaporisers allow for precise temperature adjustment, which can influence the quality and effects of the vapour. Lower temperatures tend to produce a smoother, less dense vapour, ideal for savouring the terpene profile of the herb, while higher temperatures can intensify the psychoactive effects.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness: Vaporising can be more efficient than smoking. By not directly burning the cannabinoids and terpenes, the amount consumed is maximised, reducing wasted material and increasing the potency of the effects.

Oral and Digestive Methods of Consuming Marijuana

Groceries

Edibles are one of the most popular and versatile ways to consume cannabis. They include a wide range of cannabis-infused foods and beverages, such as the iconic marijuana brownies, biscuits, jelly beans, chocolates and teas. When cannabis in edible form is ingested, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive component of marijuana, is processed in the liver where it is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC, a metabolite more potent than inhaled THC.

The onset time of the effects of edibles varies depending on individual factors such as metabolism and stomach contents, but they generally manifest between 30 minutes and 2 hours after ingestion. Because of this delay, it is common for users to consume a larger amount than recommended, which can lead to unpleasant experiences.

Dyes and Oils

Tinctures and oils of cannabis are concentrated extracts that can be consumed in a variety of ways, the most common being the oral and sublingual routes. Sublingual administration involves placing a few drops of tincture or oil under the tongue, where the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the sublingual tissues.

This method allows the effects to be felt more quickly, usually within 15-30 minutes after administration, and bypasses the digestive system, which can lead to a more consistent and controllable experience.

Tinctures often come in small bottles with droppers, making precise dosing easy. These products are particularly useful for those seeking quick relief from symptoms such as pain, anxiety or insomnia, without the risks associated with smoking. They also offer considerable discretion, with no odour and no special preparation required, making them a favourite among medical cannabis users and those who need to administer doses throughout the day.

Topical Consumption Methods

Topical Products

Topical products, such as creams and ointments, are applied directly to the skin. They are ideal for users seeking the relaxing effects of cannabis without the psychoactive effect.

Transdermal Patches

They offer a steady release of cannabis into the bloodstream, providing long-lasting relief without the need for repeated use.

Concentrated Methods of Consuming Marijuana

Dabs

Dabs are highly concentrated extracts of cannabis, which include forms such as shatter, wax, and budder, among others. These names describe the texture and appearance of the concentrate. The process of consuming dabs is called dabbing, which involves vaporising small amounts of these concentrates on a heated surface, usually a dab rig or oil rig.

This method is especially efficient in terms of quantity due to its high concentration of THC and other cannabinoids, which means that a small dose can be very potent and produce intense and fast effects.

Dabbing is particularly popular with more experienced users because of its potency and the speed with which the effects come on. However, it also requires specialised equipment, such as a torch, a rig specifically designed for dabs and a piece of equipment called a "nail", which is heated to vaporise the concentrate.

Concentrated Oils and Crystals

Concentrated oils and crystals are other potent ways to consume cannabis. These products are characterised by their high purity and concentration of cannabinoids, offering an effective option for those in need of quick and potent symptomatic relief, such as patients with chronic or severe conditions.

Concentrated oils are often consumed using vaporisers or can be incorporated into foods and drinks. Some oils are designed to be used sublingually, where a few drops are placed under the tongue for rapid absorption directly into the bloodstream.

On the other hand, CBD or THCA crystals are the purest form of cannabinoids available, reaching a purity of almost 99%. These can be dissolved in oils, vaporised, or even consumed directly. Crystals are particularly valued in medicinal use because of their purity and the ability to use them in very precise doses, which is crucial for specific treatments.

Recent Innovations

The world of cannabis continues to evolve, and with it, new and sophisticated forms of consumption are appearing that offer greater control, convenience and discretion. These innovations include capsule and tablet systems, as well as infused beverages.

Capsule and Tablet Systems

Capsule and tablet systems represent a significant advance in marijuana consumption, offering a modern and meticulously controlled method. These products are ideal for medicinal and recreational users seeking precise dosing and predictable effects, eliminating the uncertainties typical of traditional consumption.

Cannabis capsules and tablets are manufactured with exact dosages of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, allowing users to manage their consumption with pinpoint accuracy. This form of consumption is especially valuable for those who require specific dosage treatments for medical conditions, as it provides a constant and controlled release of its active components.

In addition, capsules and tablets offer a discreet and convenient alternative, ideal for consumers who prefer not to inhale or prepare edibles. Their dosage form is familiar and easy to integrate into daily medication routines, facilitating monitoring and treatment management.

Infused Drinks

Cannabis-infused beverages, on the other hand, are gaining popularity as a more social and refreshing way to enjoy marijuana. These drinks range from coffees and teas to sodas and flavoured waters, providing a drinking experience that can easily be shared at social gatherings or enjoyed alone as part of a relaxation routine.

The advantage of infused beverages lies in their ability to offer a more controlled and faster onset experience than solid edibles. This is because liquids are processed more quickly by the body, allowing the effects of cannabis to be felt more immediately. In addition, beverages allow the relaxing or stimulating effects of cannabis to be combined with other beneficial ingredients, such as antioxidants in teas or electrolytes in sports drinks.

These drinks also represent an evolution in the way society perceives and accepts cannabis use. By presenting cannabis in more familiar and socially acceptable formats, infused beverages can play a crucial role in normalising cannabis as part of a healthy and conscious lifestyle.

Security Considerations

It is crucial to start with low doses and increase gradually, paying attention to recommended doses and the effects of long-term use. Responsible use is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Legal and Ethical Aspects

The legal status of cannabis use remains a topic of intense debate, with discussions differentiating between recreational and medicinal use. These debates impact the regulation and public perception of cannabis.

Conclusion

The ways of consuming cannabis are varied and continue to evolve. From traditional methods such as smoking and vaping, to modern options such as edibles and concentrates, the choices available reflect the diversity of users and their needs. As society moves towards greater acceptance, we are likely to see even more innovations in the way marijuana is consumed.

With increasing availability and acceptance, the ways to consume cannabis continue to adapt and diversify, offering users numerous options to enjoy marijuana safely and responsibly.


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