Delivery Methods: Find what’s best for you

The legalization of recreational marijuana has revolutionized the way people consume their herb. Many even seem to think that the days of simply smoking joints and doing bong rips are coming to an end. Instead, they believe the future of marijuana consumption lies in the form of new delivery methods including edibles, vaporizers, and lotions.

Whether you’re treating a medical condition or simply looking for a recreational buzz, you have an array of delivery methods when it comes to using cannabis.  Knowing the benefits and disadvantages of each, you can determine which delivery method is most suitable for you.

Smoking

Perhaps due to the availability of devices and their ease of use, smoking is the most popular delivery method associated with cannabis. There are a variety of ways to smoke marijuana whether you’re seeking the social interaction surrounding a hookah or wanting the simple portable convenience of a hand a pipe. Other smoking devices include rolling papers, bongs and bubblers. Some people like to get creative and construct their own disposable, one-time use devices out of household and even grocery items.

Many people choose to smoke cannabis as it’s the most expedient delivery method and offers the quickest onset of effects. Dosing is relatively easy to manage, as well.  But while not as carcinogenic and harmful as smoking cigarettes, smoking marijuana can lead to respiratory and bronchial damage.

If you choose to smoke, limit the number of hits you take. Choose a more potent strain with higher levels of cannabinoids to lessen the number of inhalations necessary for proper dosage. And contrary to popular belief, holding the smoke in does not intensify or quicken the effects of marijuana. Avoid inhaling too many tars and toxins by taking short, shallow hits then exhaling immediately.

Vaporizers

As an alternative, using vaporizers is the healthiest way to inhale cannabis. Similar to smoking, vaping involves slowly heating cannabis to a temperature high enough to extract cannabinoids, converting them to airborne vapors. Unlike smoking, the remaining plant material isn’t heated enough to cause combustion, reducing the number of harmful byproducts.

Vaping devices come in a variety of forms from tabletop devices to portable hand-held pens. Vaporizers offer the same benefits and convenience of smoking cannabis, while limiting exposure to toxins and chemical irritants.

Edibles

Ingesting cannabis is one of the safest methods of consumption and can provide some of the most intense full-body and psychoactive effects. Cannabis-infused products, or edibles, include baked goods, candies, sodas, and teas, most of which are prepared with about 6-10 milligrams of THC per dose.  However, edibles do not offer immediate results.

Your digestive system processes cannabis slowly and can delay the onset of effects for sometimes up to 2 hours. But once THC enters your liver, the cannabinoids metabolize into a more potent chemical, resulting in an exceedingly powerful and enduring high.

Use caution when eating an infused product as it’s easy to overindulge and accidentally overdose. Treat edibles as you would any other drug. Don’t consume them on an empty stomach or in conjunction with alcohol.

Tinctures

If you’re looking for a more dosage-controlled delivery methods, tinctures offer fast-acting results but without the harmful side-effects of smoking. Tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts that can be directly consumed by placing a few drops under your tongue. The cannabinoids are then quickly absorbed by the body rather than slowly digested, providing instant results.

Tinctures offer versatility of consumption in that drops can be added to any food or beverage. But if ingested in this manner, results aren’t as immediate since the liver needs time to process it, just like with any other edible.

Tinctures are also quite portable as the liquid is generally packaged in small bottles with dropper tops. A typical dose ranges from about 2-3 drops to no more than 2 full droppers.

Topicals

By applying these lotions, balms, sprays, and ointments, topicals are another safe and effective way to administer your marijuana. But while they are the best option localized relief, topicals will not provide cerebral stimulation or psychoactive reactions.

Topicals are made from cannabis extracts and oils that have been decarboxylated to active cannabinoids. They can be directly applied to and quickly absorbed by your skin. This makes it a perfect treatment options for joint pain, swelling, muscle soreness, and even sunburns.

Regardless of the delivery method you choose, remember to start low and go slow. Begin with a low dose of cannabis. Establish the potency of your product then be patient and allow time for the drugs to take effect. If more dosing is required, supplement as needed.