Beyond Smoking: Modern Ways to Enjoy Cannabis
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If you haven’t kept up with cannabis innovations of the past few years, smoking flower and eating a brownie are probably the first two things that come to mind for enjoying marijuana.

While plenty of people are still smoking cannabis, industry innovation has brought about a plethora of new ways to enjoy marijuana. The quality and selection of edibles now span far beyond the humble brownie, too. 

As we know, smoking marijuana brings with it potential discomfort and risks. There's always the danger of causing harm to your airways by smoking. When cannabis is burned and inhaled, your throat may get irritated. And with long-term smoking can come more serious medical issues, including emphysema and even cancer. 

But thankfully, technology and creative minds in the cannabis industry have come together with the consumer’s health and safety in mind to develop many other ways for people to enjoy their cannabis without having to be concerned about the negative health effects of smoking.

In addition to smoking joints, you now have a number of other medicinal and recreational marijuana options to choose from — and you can still say, “I didn’t inhale.” 

Cannabis Pills and Capsules 

For cannabis beginners, or those who are looking for a measured experience, pills and capsules are a great starting point. Capsules are pre-measured in dosage, making it easy for you to know how much you’re consuming.

They're quick and easy to take and are very discreet, should you want to carry them around. Like any other types of capsules, CBD and THC capsules are swallowed with a glass of water to wash them down.

The effects of cannabis take a little longer from capsules than they would with smoking. That's because the marijuana must first pass through the digestive system, which can take at least 30 minutes to over an hour for effects to be experienced. But these effects usually last longer than smoking.

Like other edibles, it's important to make sure that you wait for this time period to pass in order to feel the full effects before taking additional cannabis pills, as this could potentially lead to overconsumption and stronger effects than desired. Nobody wants that. 

CBD-only capsules are often taken to help reduce pain and alleviate anxiety. They're also taken to combat the effects of certain diseases, including Parkinson's and epilepsy. CBD capsules can also be combined with other ingredients to target specific ailments and may simply be added to an overall wellness regimen and used as a dietary supplement.

CBD is typically the cannabinoid of choice for those who do not wish to experience any mind-altering effects but still enjoy the health benefits. 

If you’re looking for a more psychoactive compound, opt for THC capsules. These can have similar wellness benefits to CBD, but induce a high similar to what would be experienced when smoking THC-laden marijuana.

Cannabis Edibles

Edible cannabis is nothing new, as pot or hash brownies have been around for decades. 

Cannabis can be baked, cooked or infused into various food products and eaten like any other type of food. Whether you’re looking to enjoy cannabis for recreation, medical or both, edibles are a popular choice. You can find cannabis infused into just about any type of treat, including chewing gum, candy, gummies, cookies, and mints. 

Like capsules, the effects from edibles can take a while to kick in, but once the effects hit, they tend to last a few hours and can be intense. That's why it's so important to start small and be very conservative about the amount of cannabis edibles eaten before consuming more. Waiting for the full effects to kick in first is crucial to avoid a bad time. 

Edibles can be infused with CBD, THC, or both, and the type you choose will depend on the benefits you’re seeking. Of course, edibles with higher levels of THC will induce a high, while CBD-infused edibles won't. 

When it comes to creating these types of marijuana products, the cannabis must first be decarboxylated in order for any of the effects of THC or CBD to be felt. 

Cannabis Beverages

In addition to edibles, cannabis-spiked tea, water, wine, beer, coffee, soda, and juice are all widely available from your favorite dispensary. Companies make these drinks using specific brewing processes to infuse the THC, CBD, or both into the liquid. 

Many cannabis drinks contain enough THC to get you high, while others are heavier on CBD as the main cannabinoid to offer the user a more mentally-energized experience. 

Like edibles, the effects of cannabis drinks take a bit longer than they would with smoking. Anywhere for 30 minutes to over an hour is typical. However, the effects usually last longer. Further, the effects may not be as strong when drinking a cannabis-infused beverage compared to smoking a joint or vaping. 

That said, many manufacturers are using innovative nanotechnology to emulsify the cannabinoids to be infused in the beverages. In this way, they mix better and even make the cannabinoids more bioavailable. If nanotechnology is used, the effects of THC or CBD can be felt quicker.

Companies make these drinks using specific brewing processes to infuse the THC, CBD, or both into the liquid.

CBD Oils and Cannabis Tinctures

CBD oil features concentrated levels of CBD that is derived from hemp. It's very low in THC and contains more CBD. Many people use these products to treat pain, inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, and seizures without inducing any psychoactive effects. 

Of course, if you want psychoactive effects, there are a variety of THC-heavy tinctures for you, too. 

Tinctures are typically consumed using a dropper to place the oil under the tongue. It can also be added to drinks and foods as well. The effects usually take about 20 minutes to up to an hour as the cannabinoids travel into your system and work their magic. 

Cannabis Sprays

Similar to cannabis oil or tinctures, cannabis sprays are also applied into the mouth to deliver the effects of the cannabinoids within the cannabis plant. They come in various concentrations of THC and CBD, depending on the exact effect you’re after. They're also available in different flavors for a more pleasant taste.

Cannabis sprays are great for those who like the idea of taking advantage of cannabis - whether for recreational or medical purposes - without having to smoke or vape their cannabis. 

They're especially helpful for those who are particularly sensitive to smoking or have specific respiratory issues that would hinder their ability to smoke cannabis.

While the effects may take up to an hour to kick in, they'll last much longer than actually smoking. You can expect the effects to last as long as four hours after consumption.

Cannabis Vapes and Pens

If you like the idea of being able to feel the effects of cannabis quickly, vaping may be a good option. Similar to smoking, vaping allows the THC or CBD to quickly pass from the lungs into the bloodstream without having to go through the digestive system, making the cannabinoids more bioavailable. 

This allows the user to feel the effects very quickly, though the effects don't last as long as they do through other modes of consumption, such as capsules and edibles. 

As an added bonus, vapes are significantly more discreet. The smell is also far less potent with vaping compared to smoking flower. 

This mode of cannabis consumption requires the use of a vaporizer, which draws out the activated cannabinoids to create a vapor, which is then inhaled. Vaping can also be done using a pen, which looks much like a typical pen. A vape pen is small, discreet, and gives off very little scent. 

Cannabis Topicals 

Different cannabis products may be better suited for different applications, and topicals are a great product for anyone looking to target areas of pain, inflammation, and discomfort. 

Whether the pain is a result of chronic overuse, an acute injury, recovery from surgery, or a debilitating disease like arthritis, cannabis topicals can help alleviate the pain and discomfort you feel.

Topicals can be applied directly to the area in question, after which the components of the cream or lotion is absorbed into the skin. Once the CBD is absorbed, it interacts with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system to help regulate pain. Further, clinical trials have shown that CBD from topicals can also interact with and influence opioid receptors, which are also associated with pain regulation.

Many athletes - both active and retired - have been using CBD creams instead of traditional pharmaceutical pain killers because they’re effective, and do not come with the same risk of addiction. 

Transdermal Patches

One of the newest ways to consume cannabis is through the use of transdermal patches. These patches are affixed to the skin and release a steady flow of marijuana into the body.

The cannabinoids then make their way to the bloodstream to take effect in various parts of the body. Since they're attached to the skin and can be covered up with clothing, these patches are incredibly discreet. Further, the steady amount of CBD or THC that is released provides ongoing dosing, which is very helpful for those who require consistent relief from their ailments on an ongoing basis.

Transdermal cannabis patches come in a number of different cannabinoid ratios, and users can pick their patches based on the specific effects they’re looking to feel.

Final Thoughts

Modern technology has unlocked a variety of ways to consume cannabis and take advantage of all its marvelous effects. Thanks to the various modes of consumption, there's something for everyone, and those who worry about the safety of inhaling cannabis have plenty of options. 

Whether you’re an experienced user, canna-curious, or somewhere in between, there’s a marijuana product that’s perfect for your needs and comfort level.