The raw cannabis plant can be consumed in a number of different ways. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks and while many people are aware that different forms of cannabis exist, they don’t know or fully appreciate how different they can be in their effects upon the body. With cannabis use, both medically and recreationally, becoming an increasingly tolerated part of American life, now is a good time for us all to brush up on our knowledge and make sure that we understand as much about cannabis as we can.
Below is a quick guide to the most common preparations of raw cannabis, how they are taken, and how they differ to one another in terms of effects.
The Problem with Smoking
Smoking is the most common way that marijuana is ingested overall. The principle is simple; by burning the raw cannabis plant, the active ingredients within are released and become airborne within the resulting smoke. Consequently, inhaling this smoke allows for the active compounds to enter the user’s bloodstream.
Although smoking cannabis alone has not yet been conclusively linked with the development of cancer it has been suggested that it has some effects that benefit in the treatment of cancer-related side effects.
Cannabis smoke contains higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than cannabinoid (CBD). These two chemicals are important because the ratio of THC:CBD has a dramatic impact on many of the subjective effects of cannabis. We also now know that CBD mediates the majority of cannabis’s medical benefits. When cannabis is heated to the point of combustion, the heat converts come of the CBD in the plant into THC.
THC is responsible for the noticeable psychoactive effects of cannabis, what people refer to as ‘being stoned’, whereas CBD acts as a moderating force. In particular, CBD is effective at reducing anxiety, which is a common side effect when THC is administered alone and limits its clinical use.
A vaporizer offers numerous benefits over smoking cannabis. First and foremost, it is a much more efficient delivery system; a vaporizer heats the plant material until it is hot enough for the THC, CBD, and other compounds to boil off the plants when they can be inhaled as a vapor. There are no nasty by-products from this process and so vaping currently has no known health drawbacks.
When smoked, the heat required is enough to destroy some of the active compounds in raw cannabis. Smoking is roughly 30% efficient. If we measure efficiency as the percentage of compounds released that are actually absorbed by the body, vaporizing is close to 80%.
Eating is the way that connoisseurs consume their cannabis. Cooking the plant yourself requires practice, look online for a guide. There is a reason that dispensaries like this dispensary in Las Vegas offer an extensive range of edible products; it is the most efficient way of consuming cannabis and offers the longest experience.
There are a number of good reasons to stop smoking cannabis; other more effective alternatives will save you money and give you a better experience. Ask your local dispensary for more information.