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Cannabis Consumption: Inhalation vs Ingestion

May 28, 2024

Cannabis can be considered an ancient remedy for all sorts of ailments. Its medicinal uses can be traced back around 12,000 years, with uses appearing in places like ancient Greece, Egypt, and China. With such a lengthy history, society has had plenty of time to explore the different methods of consumption and even different forms of cannabis. Here, you can learn the basics about the different methods of consumption in a short and to-the-point way. 

Inhalation (the old-fashioned way)

As cannabis and history have progressed over the past 12,000 years or so, one thing we can all agree on is that smoking is a surefire way to guarantee the effects of cannabis quickly and effectively. Of course, long-time cannabis consumers will already know this, and it’s the first thing that comes to mind, thanks to pop culture and the rising legal market. We think of cannabis; our minds wander almost immediately to an image of a joint that’s perfectly twisted at the end. Smoking doesn’t stop at the classic joint— there are several different ways to enjoy flower through glass pieces and other smoking tools. Some people may even prefer to smoke through a hollowed-out fruit of choice!

Other forms of inhalation have surfaced alongside the traditional method of smoking flower, such as dabbing or vaporizing cannabis. Dabbing doesn’t use ground flower like traditional forms of inhalation; instead, dabbing uses a concentrate extracted from the cannabis plant, referred to as “dabs” or “wax.” A consumer places the concentrate on a heated surface, typically a glass banger, and inhales through a specialized glass piece or electronic device. This method has a fast-acting effect on the endocannabinoid system and is often referred to by consumers as a potent, intense, and euphoric experience. 

Vaporizing cannabis, on the other hand, is much closer to traditional smoking as it uses ground flower as opposed to dabbing. However, vaporizing is a form of inhalation that doesn’t rely on combustion— which enhances the flavor and potency of the plant while minimizing the harmful byproducts that arise from smoking. Health-conscious consumers may lean more towards this method for that reason. Vaporizing also provides a smoother, cleaner experience that is far less harsh than traditional smoking or dabbing. 

Ingestion (Edibles)

You can’t talk about consumption without showing love to another classic: edibles. You may remember hearing about “special brownies” in movies or TV. Extracting oils from the cannabis plant allows consumers to infuse treats like gummies, cookies, brownies, and even drinks! This is a more discreet method of consumption, as it doesn’t entail lighting or heating anything (if you aren’t making them in your kitchen, of course). This method also takes the longest to kick in as opposed to smoking, sitting at a 30 to 90-minute time period before take-off for traditional edibles and 15 to 30 minutes for water-soluble methods such as infused drinks. Considering how long it takes for edibles to kick in, it’s important to dose with caution. You may want to think twice before saying, “This edible ain’t sh*t.”

Ingestion also causes the longest-lasting experience of all the consumption methods. Ingesting cannabis can cause effects that last anywhere from 6 to 8 hours, as opposed to the 1 to 3 with inhalation methods. The effects of edibles can also be intensified by eating certain foods after dosing, particularly ones that are high in fat. This is because cannabinoids are fat-soluble, and eating them with a high-fat meal helps do their job much more efficiently. 

In Conclusion

Everyone’s body chemistry is different when it comes to cannabis. Some consumers prefer the effects and process of inhalation, while others prefer the discreet sweetness of edibles. It goes without saying that each method will affect consumers in a different way. Regardless of whichever method you prefer, there is definitely one for everyone and their needs. Cannabis is largely a trial-and-error experience across the various blends, product types, and body chemistries. Trying a little bit of everything will only benefit your end experience, giving you knowledge of how your particular body chemistry works with the various consumption methods.

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