It’s that time of year when many people will traditionally take a look at how they live their lives and resolve to change up some of those bad habits for the new year. We all know smoking is bad for the health. Nobody is disputing that. Most popular cannabis consumption methods involve some kind of combustion and inhalation of smoke – from the ubiquitous joint to pipes, bongs and dab rigs (which combine smoke and vapor). However there are healthier alternatives you can try.
Vaporizing For Smoke-Free Cannabis Consumption
Cannabis smoke releases a number of toxic chemicals and more carbon monoxide and tar than a comparable amount of tobacco, due to the fact that plant material is being combusted. On the other hand, a vaporizer will heat the plant to the point before combustion (200°C) and the vapor it produces contains none of the harmful substances that are included in smoke.
Vaporization (or vaping) has become an increasingly popular method to consume cannabis, particularly for medical users who are looking for a swift and instant effect. This is the safest way to inhale cannabis (dried flower) as you are ingesting vapor - not smoke - and has been the health switch that many cannabis users have made.
Research has highlighted the danger caused by some vape designs where the heating element’s proximity to the electronics can cause issues with metal off-gassing. There’s also a word of caution about firing up that vape to highest temperatures in order to achieve a hefty vapor cloud to exhale, as burning dried flower at temperatures of 365°C will produce higher levels of the carcinogen, benzene.
One of the other downsides, for those making the switch from smoking, is that, although your body is getting a strong dose of THC (and other cannabinoids), the effect is often more subtle than that derived from smoking. Therefore, many new to vaporizing often talk of having to re-calibrate their cannabis experience in order to find the balance between healthier distribution and optimum effect.
Edibles – Remove Smoking from the Cannabis Equation
The most obvious health benefit is that, with cannabis edibles there is no smoke to ingest at all! By orally consuming cannabis, THC becomes stronger (having been converted by the liver into 11-hydroxy-THC) and lasts longer, which can be an advantage, especially for medical patients, as one daily dose gives long lasting endurance.
For consumers living in a country/state where cannabis is legalized, edibles are plentiful. For those consumers who don’t have that luxury, putting cannabis into edible form requires some refinement of plant matter. It takes a bit of work to produce a base material such as budder, but once prepared it can be stored and used in cannabis cookery recipes.
This cannabis based medium can also be the most unpredictable. Unlike smoking, vaping or dabbing the effect takes time to kick in (anything up to two hours) and a strong dose can last a long time (even up to 24 hours). Therefore, extreme caution is advised when it comes to sampling home prepared cannabis edibles (likewise, it’s always a good idea to check the effect of commercially sold products). The best recipe for a rewarding edibles experience is to start slow and low and work your way up.
Cannabis Extracts and Tinctures, One Drop at a Time
As with edibles, cannabis extracts and tinctures can provide a hefty dose of cannabinoids to the body without any of the smoke. They have become particularly popular in recent years and with the rising popularity of CBD, tinctures have gone positively mainstream. In parts of the world where recreational cannabis is legal, the market is crammed with tinctures containing THC, CBD and also other lesser known cannabinoids (such as CBC and CBG).
This delivery device is often more desirable to those ingesting cannabis because the effect is not so long or intense as that which accompanies edible consumption. It is easier to regulate dosage too, as tinctures come with a pipette to aid with measurement.
As with any cannabis based product it’s important to trust the reliability of the source. Therefore it’s important consumers do their research before buying (over the counter or online) and ensure following guidelines for making a safe product if preparing their own.
For many different reasons, cannabis users make the choice to switch from smoking to less harmful alternatives. Of course tuning into the health side runs right the way through the process, from selecting organic cannabis seeds with a proven breeding history to organic cultivation processes.