Joints are a modern method of consumption. Smoking cannabis joints dates back to1865 when a Mexican University professor noted that his workers were mixing cannabis in with their tobacco. Thus, was born the legend of the cannabis joint.
Smoking a cannabis joint involves rolling finely ground flowers into papers, either by machine or by hand. Papers are available to suit any rolling and smoking style, including rice papers, fine organic hemp papers, and even flavored rolling papers.
Smoking cannabis joints remains one of the most popular and convenient consumption methods, as there is no need to buy expensive equipment, and joints can be rolled quickly and taken on the go. Joints are great for sharing with friends and offer a fairly discreet method of smoking cannabis.
The use of pipes for the consumption of cannabis dates back to 500 B.C. Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, was the first person to make mention of cannabis in literature, describing Scythians inhaling the fumes of burning leaves from a pipe-like object. Native Americans are also well-known for incorporating cannabis into their ritualistic ceremonies and have forever held the belief that there is a connection between the spiritual world and the cannabis plant. The term “peace-pipe” comes from Native American culture, and tribe elders would generally hold meetings while smoking cannabis from a pipe.
Pipes offer a convenient, mess-free way of consuming cannabis. They can be small and discreet or sizeable and bold, but whatever the aesthetics of the pipe, the result is the same.
Cannabis is consumed through a pipe by placing a small amount of ground-up flowers in the “bowl” of the pipe and inhaling the smoke. Pipes come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from several materials, including silicone, glass, metal, and plastic.
Vaporizers are a more modern invention compared to cannabis joints or pipes. The first desktop vaporization devices were introduced to the market in the ’90s, and the technology has seen rapid advancements over the last 30 years. Vaporizers now come in many different forms, including disposable, pre-filled pen-like vaporizers and portable, pocket-sized units. There are three main types of vaporizers: flower vaporizers, concentrate vaporizers, and hybrid units. The type of vaporizer determines the form of cannabis being consumed.
Vaporizers were created with the medical cannabis consumer in mind, as the cannabis material is only heated to the point of releasing cannabinoids and terpenes, rather than the point of combustion. Vaporization reduces airway irritation and eliminates then ingestion of carcinogens that are produced when cannabis flowers are combusted.
Vaporizers contain a coil element that gently heats the cannabis product, whether it be oil, concentrate, or flower, to release the cannabinoids and terpenes. This process is extremely efficient and releases more cannabinoids and terpenes than consumption methods which involve combustion.
Cannabinoid oils are quickly gaining popularity as they offer a smoke-free method of consumption. Cannabinoid oils are made by infusing a carrier oil (typically coconut oil) with cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN. One of the benefits to oils is that they can isolate specific compounds, such as THC or CBD, to produce a product with very specific applications. On the other hand, oils can be made as full-spectrum products that contain an array of cannabinoids and have a broader application.
Oils are used by spraying or using a dropper to administer the oil sublingually. The oil is placed under the tongue for maximum absorption, and it’s effects usually take full effect within 60 to 90 minutes. Dosing is more difficult with oils as they take longer to take effect; however, once you determine the appropriate dosage, the results can be replicated time after time.
Tinctures are similar to cannabinoid-infused oils in that they are a smoke-free consumption method. Tinctures are alcohol-based substances that incorporate different cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Unlike oils, tinctures should not be taken sublingually is it will cause a burning sensation. Instead, tinctures are meant to be added to drink or food. Just be cautious, the effects can take 60 to 90 minutes to kick in fully.
Tinctures are a popular way to make infused cocktails at home. All you have to do is add a few drops of the alcohol-based tincture to your favorite drink and enjoy it. As with oils, tinctures can be made in an isolate form or a full-spectrum format. Finding the right dose is a process of trial and error; however, once the appropriate dose is determined, the desired results can be attained repeatedly.
Capsules are a newer method of cannabis ingestion, similar to edibles. Capsules tend to be popular amongst athletic and fitness-minded consumers as they offer a smoke-free and sugar-free option for cannabis consumption.
Capsules are individual gel capsules (typically vegetable-based for vegan consumers) that contain a tincture, oil, or decarboxylated flower mixture. The effects are similar to taking a tincture, oil, or edible and are generally not felt for 60 to 90 minutes.
One of the greatest benefits of cannabis capsules is their discreet nature and specific dosing. Figuring out the correct dose can be a process of trial and error, however discovering that sweet spot will generate reproducible results for the consumer. Capsules are mess-free and easy to take to a yoga class or on a hike.
Edibles are the most enjoyable way to consume cannabis for the majority of people. Lighting up a joint or a bong can be great, but isn’t eating a brownie or cookie even better? Edibles are infused foods, such as gummies, cookies, brownies, honey, and other confections, which contain cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
Edibles are generally made with infused oils or tinctures but can also be made with decarboxylated flowers. Decarboxylation is a process in which the flowers are gently heated to convert THC to THC-A. This process activates the THC in the flowers and makes them bioavailable to the body.
The trick with edibles is to start low and go slow with dosing. Edibles take up to 90 minutes to fully kick in, so it is important to be patient. Finding the right dose is a process of trial and error, but once you have determined your optimal dose, you can attain the desired effects time after time.
Edibles are extremely discreet and can be taken anywhere. They are great before a night out or at the movies, where smoking and vaping are not an option.
Health and beauty topicals, pain creams, and CBD balms have become all the rage in mainstream America with the passage of the Farm Bill, but did you know topicals can include THC as well? Topical is a broad term for any cannabinoid-based product that is applied externally. The benefit of this type of product is that it will not make the consumer feel high, as with traditional consumption methods.
When cannabinoids are used topically, they do not cross the blood barrier and never enter the body’s bloodstream, which is why they will not make you high. A cream could contain 100% THC, and it still won’t have the psychoactive effects often associated with THC use.
Legal topicals come in a wide variety of products, including pain-reducing creams, lotions, face creams, body balm, gels, oils, and even intimate lubricating products. Using topicals is a different method of “consumption,” although the body still gets all of the benefits from the cannabinoids.