For a very long time, the cannabis joint was by far the most common way that people consumed cannabis. Cannabis joints are easy to use, and easy to transport, so it makes sense why they were so popular.
These days, there is a seemingly never ending list of ways to consume cannabis, with more things being added every day. Many people I know are transitioning to electronic devices (both plug in and portable) and consuming more concentrates, but also many other people I know are sticking with tried and true methods like joints and pipes.
Below are some of the ways that I consume cannabis, along with the potential drawbacks and benefits of each route. It is my hope that newbies or people that are coming back from a hiatus get a better idea of what is out there, so that they might find the most suitable form of consumption for themselves.
The joint, as previously described, is incredibly convenient in many ways. If you know how to roll joints, you can keep all of your gear in one pocket and roll one up just about anywhere, provided it is not too windy.
There are two drawbacks to joints though, and although slight, they are the reasons why I don’t consume more of them. The first is that it smells a lot more than other methods, and the other is that sometimes I have enough cannabis to consume via other routes, but not quite enough for a joint.
A third consideration that I would offer up as a drawback would be that smoking is not the healthiest form of consumption. Cannabis is not as bad as tobacco or other substances when combusted and inhaled, but it’s not as good as other methods from a health perspective.
My best friend Jay pretty much only consumes cannabis out of a spoon shaped glass pipe. That is not to say that he will pass on other methods, because if they are presented to him he will surely partake. However, when it’s just him consuming in the privacy of his own home, it’s almost always out of a pipe.
The benefits of a pipe are that it is convenient, although it does have the same drawbacks as a joint, except you need less cannabis than with a joint. Any amount of cannabis flower above a flake is usually enough to get at least one pull off of a pipe.
Bubblers are not as common as they used to be in the 1990’s and 2000’s, but they are still around. For those that don’t know what a bubbler is, it’s essentially a more elaborate pipe with a chamber that holds water for the purpose of filtering smoke through it.
A bubbler is not as convenient to carry around as a pipe because of the water factor. Spilling used bubbler water on something is never a fun thing. With that being said, a bubbler is better than a pipe in that it filters the smoke through water, which makes the smoke less harsh.
A bong is another classic device that most people are familiar with. If not, Google it and you will know what it is. And if not, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org because I would love to chat!
Bongs have the same benefits as a bubbler, and also with the same drawback of involving water. Bongs tend to be larger too, which makes them harder to tote around.
The biggest benefit of a bong over previously described methods is the size of dosage. You can really get a sizeable hit off of a bong, which I have found to be necessary from time to time.
Vaporizers have become very popular lately because they are healthier than smoking cannabis. In many newer medical cannabis states, vaporizing cannabis is the only method of inhalation consumption legally permitted.
I like vaporizers because I feel that it provides a distinct type of euphoria. Not necessarily a better or worse euphoria than other methods of consumption, just different.
Vaporizers operate at a temperature that is high enough to convert the cannabinoids into vapor, but low enough that it doesn’t burn the plant material. There are desktop versions, handheld versions, and more recently, pen versions.
Torch and nail
If you consume concentrates via the torch and nail method, chances are you already know the benefits revolving around high cannabinoid dosage. If you are not familiar with the torch and nail method of ‘dabbing,’ it is probably a bit too strong of a method, and you may want to wait a bit.
This process involves heating up a nail with a torch until it is hot enough to drop pieces of cannabis concentrates on it, which then melts the concentrate allowing it to be inhaled. This method is a bit much for many people, especially newbies, but if you are looking for some serious punch, this method does the trick.
E-nails are becoming more popular. It’s the same concept as a torch and nail, except the torch is replaced by electricity. Some people lump these in with desktop vaporizers, which is fine by me. The first e-nail I saw was at a Cannabis Cup many years back, but they are very common now.
Not all of them are created equal, and some cost a lot more than others. You will have to pay a decent price for a solid one, but they will last a very long time. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to know my personal experiences with the ones I own.
Edibles are a tricky business. On one hand, they are the most likely form of cannabis that a newbie will want to try, but on the other hand they can also be the most potent form of cannabis out there, with effects lasting a long time.
Fortunately more and more companies are making it very clear how much cannabis is in an edible, and people are able to learn what the appropriate amount is to eat for their personal preference and tolerance level.
My advice is to start slow, and go from there. You can always eat more, but once you have crossed the threshold of getting too high, only time will help bring you back down, which is not always the most pleasant experience for some people.
Capsules are a great way to measure your dosage. They are not available everywhere, and even where they are available, it’s tough to say which ones are good and which ones are not.
My advice is to purchase a small amount of different kinds and find one that suits your needs. Ask around in your area and do your homework.
Topicals are my favorite form of consumption at the moment. I have arthritis in my foot, in addition to the other aches and pains that I experience. A good topical rub goes a long way.
I have seen trans-dermal patches popping up at dispensaries in my area, which I would lump into this category. I haven’t tried one yet, but I plan on doing so soon and will report back to readers what my experience was like. I definitely like the idea of it though.
Soaking bath salts are a very effective form of consumption, and one that I think will catch on a lot more in the near future. If they have infused soaking salts in your area and you haven’t tried them yet, I strongly suggest that you do so.
Tinctures may be the most underrated cannabis consumption method out there. Tincture is incredibly easy to make if you have the cannabis and patience. Check out my article that I recently posted about tinctures.