Beyond Smoking: Other Ways to Consume Marijuana

Beyond Smoking: Other Ways to Consume Marijuana

While smoking flower remains the most popular and well-known way to consume marijuana,  some people are looking for something a bit more discreet, others are turned off by the smell, and health-conscious users may be cautious about what they put in their lungs.

Luckily, as the demand for legal marijuana has grown, so have the number of ways you can consume it. Which method — or methods — you choose depend on your lifestyle, any conditions you might be seeking relief from, and which physical and mental benefits you’re looking for.

Here is a quick breakdown of the other most common consumption methods:

Vaping

More popular than smoking among more health-conscious cannabis users — yet providing the same impact — vaping not only reduces the odor produced by smoking, but most vapes are portable and can be discreetly carried in your pocket.

Vaping works via a vaporizer that heats up cannabis oil or flower, but not hot enough to burn it. Once the heat releases the medicinal compounds of the cannabis, you inhale the vapor.

Vaping has become so popular that there are several options to choose from: 

  • Similar to e-cigarettes, vape pens are typically small and thin. They can cost between $15 to $200, and are available in disposable varieties, as well as rechargeable and refillable models.
  • Replaceable oil cartridges (or “carts”) are made of glass, and come pre-filled with a gram or half-gram of cannabis oil. They are very convenient, especially when it comes to controlling your dosage.
  • Similar to refilling your printer ink, refillable oil cartridges allow you to use a syringe to add more oil to your empty vape pen cartridges.
  • Flower-only vaporizers feature a heating chamber (or “oven”) where you insert finely ground cannabis flowers and heat them to produce vapor.
  • While most vapes are designed to use either flower or concentrates, some can be used for both, providing you with the ultimate in versatility. 
  • The original way to vape cannabis and cannabis concentrates, table-top vaporizers are stationary and produce a superior-quality vapor. You can use a table-top model to inhale cannabis via two different methods, a silicone tube (or “whip”) or a heat-resistant and vapor-filled balloon.

Edibles

A delicious and long-lasting option, edibles are available in numerous varieties. Although edibles started with the classic pot brownie or cookie, today’s edibles are much different and much improved. You can now choose from cannabis-infused suckers, gummies, caramels, chocolates, beverages, mints, gum and more. You can also use cannabis in countless cooking recipes by infusing it with a high-fat ingredient like olive oil or butter that best extracts the flower’s therapeutic properties. 

While it can take up to two hours to feel the full effects of edibles, they make it very easy to ingest a precise dosage, and serve as a great alternative if you don’t wish to smoke. Edibles also produce noticeably different effects — and are typically more potent and longer lasting — than other ways of consuming cannabis. 

Dabbing

Arguably the fastest-growing method of consuming cannabis, dabbing involves the use of a bong-esque dab rig and a small blowtorch or electronic nail (enail) to heat a small amount of cannabis extract to an extremely high temperature.

Cannabis extracts are a wide variety of products made by passing a solvent through finely ground cannabis or fresh flower material, or by using heat and pressure to extract the flower’s oil.    

Instead of a bowl, dabbing involves a rig with a nail which you heat up. Once the nail reaches the desired heat, you place a small piece of concentrate on it, and inhale it as it burns. 

Although you still inhale, dabbing produces a cleaner smoking experience because all plant material is removed from cannabis concentrates, isolating the THC and CBD compounds. On the other hand, some concentrates can contain residual solvents — so make sure the products you purchase are tested like LivWell’s. 

Dabbing allows you to feel very smooth and strong effects of THC very quickly — often as soon as the vapor leaves your lungs. (Some compare the effect to smoking as many as 12 joints at once.) This is especially helpful if you’re seeking quick relief from significant pain or extreme nausea.

Note: Dabbing can be complicated and potentially dangerous. Not only have some users caused fires or explosions while using dabs, but new users might not be prepared for the intense high. Ask an experienced user or budtender for tips.

Sublinguals

An increasing number of recreational users, as well as medical patients seeking relief, consume cannabinoids sublingually — or under the tongue. 

Available in dissolvable strips, sprays, medicated lozenges, and tinctures, sublinguals are absorbed via the large number of blood vessels under your tongue, bypassing your stomach and delivering the effects of each dose in as little as 30 seconds.

Topicals

A full cannabis extract — or thick oil — of activated cannabinoids, topical marijuana is absorbed by your skin to provide localized relief for numerous conditions, including muscle soreness, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis, eczema, minor burns, swelling, and chapped skin.

Topicals are commonly available as lotions, ointments, sprays, and salves, among other forms, and can typically be applied multiple times since they are for external use. They provide specific, localized relief for a wide variety of conditions, and while most topicals allow you to maintain a clear head and full brain function while using them, transdermal patches do produce a psychoactive effect.

Note: Not all products work for everyone. For example, topicals are not effective for people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD. Consult experienced users or a budtender for specific recommendations.


It can be a challenge to select which cannabis delivery method(s) are a good fit for your specific needs, comfort level, and lifestyle. Check out our blog for more helpful content or contact us for advice about which products might be best for you.

LivWell makes no claims regarding the health and medical benefits of cannabis.

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