Gone are the times when your legal weed options were limited to choosing between a pipe and a blunt. With the development of legal cannabis markets in several countries in the world, and in selected US states, people can pick and choose between plenty of ways to consume THC.
From the classic joint to percolator bongs to vaporizers to dab rigs and tinctures — it seems like the sky’s the limit.
Of course, smoking is the oldest practice among marijuana users, but it doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way to consume THC. In fact, technological advancements have now provided us with many tools to get yourself high and benefit from the therapeutic properties of the herb; all of this tailored to your personal preferences.
This article goes over the 5 most popular ways to consume THC.
Let’s see how people like to medicate.
How do People Consume THC?
For your convenience, we’ve selected the 5 most common marijuana consumption methods.
As we said, these are “methods” not “tools”, but worry not, as we’ve also devoted some part of the article to briefly describing the specific tools that are applicable for each method.
Most often, people deliver THC to their system through:
- Oral ingestion
- Sublingual use
Continue reading to learn more.
5 Ways to Consume THC
Smoking is the most common way to consume THC today. It’s also the quickest way to deliver THC, along with other cannabinoids, to your system. Because cannabinoids enter your body through the lungs, they make it directly to your bloodstream.
And since blood flows at an average speed of 3-4 miles per hour, once the THC starts circulating in your blood, it only takes a few seconds to reach the brain. A study published in the Journal of Chemistry and Biodiversity, which compared different ways to consume THC in terms of their onset time, concluded that subjects who inhaled marijuana reported noticeable effects within minutes.
Unfortunately, smoking is also the least healthy way to consume marijuana. When the buds are decarboxylated through combustion, you also deliver other plant and paper material with THC. Many of these foreign substances are harmful carcinogens that can have negative effects on the sensitive tissue in your lungs.
When you think about smoking marijuana, it’s much like eating fast food. It works fast and gets the job done, but it may have a negative impact on your health in the long run.
Marijuana can be smoked in:
- A joint: weed wrapped in a rolling paper;
- A blunt: weed rolled in a cigar wrap or tobacco leave;
- A spliff: weed in a rolling paper, mixed with tobacco (typical to European countries);
- A bong: weed put in the bowl of a large, glass pipe-like device;
- A pipe: the smallest and the most classic device to consume THC.
However, if smoking marijuana isn’t your pair of shoos and you’re looking for something healthier, you may want to consider vaping your greens.
Vaporization is a process in which marijuana is heated to a temperature that produces cannabinoid-rich vapor. It works much like smoking, save for the fact that your weed doesn’t get burned.
Therefore, vaping saves your lungs from the damage caused by the carcinogens released due to combustion. Moreover, vaporization helps you get the most out of your THC and other cannabinoids (along with terpenes) because it uses up to 80% of your marijuana’s content. And to put that in perspective, smoking causes around 50% of the cannabinoids when you light up, with another 25% being released into the air while you put your smoking tool on hold.
Finally, vaporization allows you to experience the entire aroma and flavor profile of your strain. Lower temperatures release terpenes — aromatic molecules in plants — which otherwise are destroyed when the plant burns. It takes some time to master the learning curve of vaporization, but once you do, the high will last longer and be more clear-headed than after smoking a bowl.
You can vape cannabis through a vaporizer, a handheld or tabletop device with a heating chamber dedicated for flowers. Some models allow for vaping concentrates, too.
3. Oral Ingestion (Edibles)
Edibles are arguably the most enjoyable way to consume THC. Since THC is fat-soluble, you can infuse it into any fat of your choice and cook literally any and every food with weed.
Yes, you read that right, you can make medicated meals in the comfort of your own home.
Or buy some ready-made goods if you don’t feel like cooking with the herb.
Marijuana edibles need some time to kick in, typically between 30 and 120 minutes depending on such factors as one’s weight, metabolism, tolerance to THC, and frequency of use. That’s because THC delivered this way must be first broken down by the liver before entering the bloodstream.
But once they do kick in… Oh boy, will you know it! The high from edibles is usually more potent and last longer than if you smoked the flower. Beware, though, as edibles can be difficult to dose; this applies to both DIY products and commercial goods, so it’s best to start low and don’t rush with another dose until you notice the first effects.
4. Sublingual Use
Sublingual cannabis comes in the form of oil or alcohol-extracted tinctures. The best part of consuming THC sublingually is how it works its way to the bloodstream. When you place a few drops of a THC-rich tincture under your tongue, all you need to do is wait for about one minute until the tincture gets absorbed by the mucous gland in your mouth. This allows you to avoid the “first-pass” effect and produces the first effects within 10 to 15 minutes.
Some people don’t like the distinct flavor of cannabis oil, so they mix their drops with food for a more comfortable experience. However, keep in mind that this way, the oil ends up in your digestive system and thus has a delayed onset time. Many companies offer flavored marijuana oils/tinctures, which is a great way to deliver THC to the bloodstream within minutes and still enjoy the taste of your product.
Dabbing is the high-end way to consume THC, and the “high” word has been used there for a good reason. Dabbing refers to flash-vaporizing cannabis concentrates, where a portion of a cannabinoid-rich extract is placed onto a red-hot “nail” and vaped in a special dabbing rig.
Dabbing is beneficial for both recreational and medical marijuana users. Those who use marijuana for its psychoactive high will be delighted with how fast THC begins to show its potency and how strong the high is. For medical users, it’s a convenient way of delivering high doses of THC without having to blaze a whole bag of weed. Dabs — the less scientific name for cannabis concentrates — contain upwards of 60% of THC, with some extracts reaching up to 99% of this cannabinoid.
Given this, one must be particularly cautious about dosing dabs because there’s a short path from getting the high of your dreams to getting razed from the ground.
What’s your favorite way to consume THC?