It might come as a shock to those who love smoking weed that not everyone enjoys the ritual of rolling a joint or packing a bowl. For some, smoking can feel too harsh on their lungs. Others can’t seem to nail the proper inhale technique at all. Of course, there’s also concern about how marijuana smoke affects the body.
Regardless of whether we like to acknowledge it, marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxicants and carcinogens as cigarette smoke. It’s not the marijuana itself, but rather the combustion that releases the yucky stuff. Chemicals, including ammonia and hydrogen cyanide in marijuana smoke can cause irritation to the bronchial passages and lungs and lead to chronic cough, wheezing, and bronchitis.
If you’re among those who don’t like smoking pot but love the feeling of getting high, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to reap the benefits of marijuana that don’t involve lighting anything on fire.
If your first experience with marijuana wasn’t smoking a joint while watching “Pineapple Express” in college, it was probably eating a pot brownie or another tasty treat. Edibles are usually made with cannabis-infused butter or oil, or a tincture, all of which can be used to make everything from cookies to banana bread.
When you legally buy edibles, the THC and CBD contents will be labeled in milligrams. A standard dose for regular users is 10 mg of THC. If you’re a newbie, go with 5 mg until you familiarize yourself with how edibles affect you. Keep in mind that it can take up to a couple of hours for the body-melting effect of edibles to kick in.
Tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts that come in glass bottles with droppers. It’s easy to get a precise dosage with tinctures, making them a great entry point for the marijuana-curious who don’t enjoy smoking.
Like edibles, tinctures are consumed orally. The most effective way to use a tincture is sublingually, or under the tongue, though tinctures can also be added to smoothies, soups, sauces, and just about any dish you could possibly want to eat. Start with a half-dropper-full for your first time, and work your way up to a full dropper once you know how a tincture will affect you.
Vaping is a portable and convenient way to get high without smoking. A vape pen consists of three main parts: the cartridge, the atomizer, and the battery. Some vape pens also have a push button if they don’t turn on automatically when a user inhales through it. The cartridge contains cannabis oil, which is heated by the atomizer to create vapor that is released into the air.
There isn’t much research on cannabis vaporizing, but the studies that are available show that vaping produces fewer carcinogens than smoking because combustion does not occur. Vaping works quickly, and it’s easier to control your dosage than with edibles. Plus, there’s hardly any odor, which allows you to be discreet.
Other ways to benefit from marijuana without smoking
If it’s not the high you’re going for, there are even more ways to enjoy the benefits of marijuana without smoking. Topical cannabis comes in the form of lotions, balms, and oils that can be used for localized relief of pain and inflammation. Cannabis-derived transdermal patches can be placed on a venous area of the body, such as the inside of the wrist, to deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream for relief from pain or insomnia. And then there’s juicing, which is literally putting raw cannabis in a juicer to extract a green liquid high in cannabinoids. Don’t worry about the THC, though; THCA decarboxylates into the psychoactive THC through the application of heat. Drink up!
Smoking a joint or ripping a bong might be the most talked about methods of getting high. But, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to get the recreational and medical benefits of marijuana without lighting up.