An explainer on the various ways to consume cannabis aside from a traditional joint, with insights about the pros, cons, and unique appeals of each format.
Back in the day, consuming marijuana was basically synonymous with lighting up a joint, a la Cheech and Chong. Aside from dangerously potent weed brownies, there weren’t too many alternatives for people to enjoy cannabis beyond smoking it. And even though smoking flower is still a great method to get high, it can sometimes feel aggressive and uncomfortable for the lungs, especially for more casual consumers. Thankfully, people nowadays have plenty of options for experiencing the joys of cannabis without ever having to lift a bong if they don’t want to. Below, we’ll explore the various ways to enjoy weed other than smoking, from vaping to sublingual.
We all know that smoking weed is the most old-school, dependable, and affordable method of enjoying cannabis. You can simply roll a joint or blunt, or pack your favorite pipe or bong. Aside from flower, you can smoke a variety of concentrates like wax, hash, live resin, budder, kief, or oil. However, inhaling smoke can be harsh on your lungs, so if you have throat pain or breathing issues, you might want to try enjoying cannabis a different way.
Vaping is a method of heating cannabis without smoke. There are myriad types of vaporizers, from portable pens like Dosist to desktop devices like the Puffco Peak. Both flower and concentrates can be vaped. It’s a solid method that enables you to get high, and at the same time, it can be much easier on the body than traditional smoking.
Edibles used to be a more controversial way of ingesting cannabis due to the unpredictability of its effects—you couldn’t be all that confident about the exact dosage you’d get in a single bite. Now, edibles containing THC are properly dosed via state regulations, which means you can enjoy those weed cookies, marijuana-infused gummies, and cannabis brownies without fear of overindulging. Start with a low-dosed edible, like a Kiva Petra mint with 2.5 mg THC or a Kiva Camino gummy with 5 mg THC, and go slow, allowing the high to seep in. Then, wait for 1.5 to 2 hours before eating another. Unlike with smoking or vaping, ingesting marijuana edibles can take a lot longer to hit, and the effects can last longer as well—peaking occurs around two to four hours in. Cannabis beverages, like Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops or Sprig, are also another way to get high via ingestion. Just remember that the same dosing rules apply to cannabis in liquid form.
A tincture, or liquid extract, is another easy and effective way to ingest cannabis. With the rise of CBD as a wellness aid, many individuals who weren’t previously familiar with cannabis are now trying out tinctures as a means of pain relief. You can add a few drops of cannabis tincture to almost anything, from a bulletproof coffee, smoothies, or tea; or you can take it directly as a sublingual or administered under the tongue. Brands like Select, Allegiance Wellness, and Care by Design, offer THC, CBD, and 1:1 tinctures. (For the layman: 1:1 means the product has one gram of THC for everyone one gram of CBD—an equal ratio.) Alternatively, you can DIY your own tincture using alcohol or vegetable glycerin.