Monday March 9, 2015

By Abby Hutmacher

The Many Ways to Consume Marijuana Education

There are many ways to consume cannabis far beyond the ol' bowl or brownie that many are used to. If the slang has got you scratching your head, then never fear; here are the most popular ways to consume marijuana so that you can decide for yourself the best way to enjoy this amazing herb.

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Combust your cannabis

The most popular way to consume cannabis is still to smoke it. This can be done using a number of common devices; from joints and blunts to bongs, pipes and pinch hitters. For those of you still learning, here's a quick run-down of the best ways to smoke marijuana.

  • Roll it up: One great way to smoke marijuana is to roll it into a joint (also known as a "doobie", "Doob", "Jay" or even "Fattie" if it’s a big one). Just pick up some papers at your local dispensary or smoke shop, grind up some tasty green and roll it up or ask your budtender to help. If you'd like something larger, or if you prefer a more familiar flavor, you could also roll a blunt using a cigar wrap (which is made out of homogenized tobacco) thus giving your smoke a distinct tobacco flavor.
  • Pack a bowl: There are many types of pipes you can use to smoke cannabis flower. Though glass pipes tend to be the most popular (because of a clean flavor and lack of corrosion upon cleaning), metal pipes are more resilient and often more affordable.

    Some different types of pipes include Bats (and their accompanying Dugout for storage), Pinch Hitters (or Pinchies), and Spoons. Some pipes also have a carburetor to help the user clear the pipe with clean air.

  • Load a bong: A bong, or water pipe, is another popular way to smoke weed. The device is typically pretty large and features a sliding bowl, a downslide (where the smoke meets the water), a chamber and a mouthpiece. Other popular bong features include a percolator (which filters the smoke a second time), an ash catcher and a carbon filter.

Consume edible marijuana

Here in Colorado, you will find a wide assortment of edibles ranging from drinks, baked goods and candies to cannabis-infused pizza and cooking oils. Rumor has it that World-Famous Ben and Jerry (of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream) may also hop on board the cannabis train with their latest flavor, a cannabis-infused treat called "Satisfy My Bowl". (I strongly support this move, guys.)

If you've never consumed legal, regulated cannabis edibles, however, there are a fewer important things you should remember. First off, these are not the weed brownies you ate in college; these are very potent products made from marijuana concentrates.

Per the demands of the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), these products are to be carefully labeled so that users can find an accurate dose. The recommended serving for any cannabis-infused product is only ten milligrams, though it is okay to consume more every hour or so until the desired results are reached. Just remember that it could take up to six hours to feel the full effects of marijuana edibles, and significantly longer for those effects to wear off. My best advice is to go slowly until you understand your dosing requirements.

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Vaporize your herb

Vaporizing cannabis (either flower or concentrate) is a popular choice of consumption for those concerned with their over-all health; cannabis can be vaporized without causing excessive toxin or caloric intake.

Vaporization works by heating the product to a temperature between 300 and 400 degrees -- hot enough to cause cannabinoids to evaporate but cool enough to avoid combustion.

Vaporization occurs through either convection (heated air) or conduction (direct contact with a heating element). Because different products vaporize at different temperatures, however, it is important to find a vaporizer with an adjustable temperature setting if you plan on vaping multiple types of medium.

Dab concentrates

Dabbing refers to the process of consuming cannabis concentrates through a device called a "rig" which is similar to a water pipe or bong. There are a fewer major differences, however, aside from the substance used.

First, the components needed to hit a dab rig are a bit different. For example, instead of a bowl on a stem, a dab rig will feature a nail, usually made out of titanium or glass (though ceramic nails are gaining in popularity). The heating method is also different; a blow torch is used to heat the nail prior to the concentrate even touching it.

When heating a nail, may people will wait until the piece is glowing red hot. Though this may be ideal for shock value, it is not the safest temperature at which to dab. That's because a red-hot nail can reach temperatures of around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit; a temperature that will cause combustion and thus emit excess toxins. To avoid this, make sure that you let the nail cool down for a few seconds before taking your hit, especially if its heated to the point of red glow.

But it's not just toxins and blow torches that make dabs seem dangerous. Because dabs require concentrated forms of cannabis, it can be easy to consume too much at once. This may cause extreme drowsiness and an uncomfortably high feeling. If you have never taken a dab before, exercise extreme caution until you know how they will affect you.

Though dabbing has gotten a bad reputation from some, it is actually a very safe method of ingestion, combining the nostalgia of a bong with the health benefits of a vaporizer (provided that the nail does not get too hot and cause combustion of the product).

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Topical cannabis

Finally, there is topical cannabis. Though applying cannabis topically will not create the same stoned feeling that other forms of ingestion will, it can still be very effective in relieving joint and muscle pain, headaches and skin irritations. And, because it does not penetrate the blood-brain barrier, using it will not result in a positive urine analysis.

For those who prefer a bit of a body high, Mary's Medicinals has created a transdermal patch which assists cannabinoids into the bloodstream using a proprietary carrier agent. Users can expect to experience effects similar to oral ingestion, but with a higher concentration of cannabinoids because the product doesn't need to metabolize. Those who have used one of Mary's transdermal patches or gels report reduced feelings of anxiety and over-all pain relief. The effects of the patch begin about 20 minutes after application and remain constant for up to 12 hours.

There are a lot of ways to enjoy marijuana, each with their set of experiences. From a simple doob to a fancy dab, cannabis can help you experience Colorado in a whole new way.

What's your favorite way to consume marijuana?

photo credit: Steven Schwartz (license)


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.



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