How do I smoke thee, Ganja? Let me count the ways.
It’s easy to get poetic about cannabis as there are so many different names for everything! Lyrics just roll off the tongue. Not only can the names get confusing, but the different methods of taking the drug vary across the board. Do you boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew? Don’t worry, we’ll clear it all up for you.
The method with which you ingest a cannabis product can make a big difference to its effects and health impact. Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll have a good idea of the right delivery method to suit your needs. Taking cannabis falls into two rough groups: inhaling or eating.
How you enjoy your cannabis is totally up to you, but we are here to inform and we’ll explore everything we can.
Inhalation is breathing in. There are various ways of getting cannabis from being a flower to a gas you can inhale. Some are safer than others, but when it comes to getting your cannabinoid dose, they all work very quickly.
The “traditional” method of using cannabis is to smoke it. Scientists have dug up really dead guys from tens of thousands of years ago and found they had cannabis on them when they died. It is believed they smoked their cannabis, although it’s likely they ate it, too.
Regardless, smoking cannabis has been around for a long time. Humans are a creative species, especially when it comes to taking stuff that gets them high, so it should be no surprise that there are lots of different ways of doing it. Here are some of the best:
- The Joint
Also known as a spliff (if mixed with tobacco), doobie (from scoobie-doobie-doo), J, fatty-boom batty, zoot, zuggie, Zep, marijuana cigarette, stick, natural vape pen, reefer, blunt (not quite), pinner, cone, stick, twizzler, puffer, bat, Dutch, doink, ting, Jeffery … the list goes on.
A zoot is a ground preparation of cannabis rolled tightly in a hemp or rice rolling paper, propped open at the breathing end with a roach or crutch, set on fire at the other, and inhaled from. Most joints in the USA are pure cannabis, but elsewhere, the cannabis is commonly mixed with tobacco, also known as a spliff.
Where to Buy a Joint
Most people make their own, but cannabis dispensaries and shops usually provide pre-rolled cones.
How Much THC Does a Joint Give You?
THC is the chemical that gets you high, so how much does a joint get you? It can vary enormously, depending on the strain and strength of your weed, how much you put in, and how you smoke it. Most doobies have between 0.25 and 1 gram of weed in them, and if you smoke the whole thing, you’ll probably be very stoned. Estimates vary, but you could be getting as much as 90mg of THC in a 1-gram marijuana cigarette. That’s a lot. It can also be as low as 35mg.
- Gets you really stoned, really quickly
- Doesn’t require batteries
- Some people like the taste and sensation
- Single use, no cleaning
- Smoking can give you dozens of diseases
- Smoking smells and colors your teeth
- Not very discreet
- Can taste horrible
Medical or Recreational?
Recreational, definitely. Giving yourself extra diseases by smoking is not what you need when you’re already ill.
- The Bong / Pipe
A pipe is self-explanatory: Add cannabis at one end, set it on fire, and inhale through the pipe. A bong is like a big pipe that can be filled with water, ice, Kool-Aid, or anything else you want to use to cool down your smoke before it gets to your lungs. Bongs and pipes deliver instant hits of cannabinoids, straight to the head.
Types of Bong and Pipe
The cheapest form of bong is a “shottie.” With a soda bottle or can with holes punched in it, you burn the cannabis over the holes and inhale through the mouthpiece. Do not do this. It’s horrible.
Usually made from glass, hand pipes are colorful and a discreet way of enjoying your cannabis wherever you go. Pack your herb into the bowl, light it, inhale. It’s a rougher hit than a water pipe but it gets the job done. They break easily, so be careful.
Water pipes have been used for thousands of years to smoke cannabis. The water cools and filters the smoke so you get a cooler hit than a hand pipe. Bongs are water pipes, but you can use shisha pipes, hookhas, and any of the other endless variations. The hit is cooler but is probably not as healthy as some people would like to think.
One of the traditional methods of smoking is the chillum, which is a huge clay tube where a mix of tobacco and cannabis is packed and burned at one end. You puff at the other end.
Fruit, Vegetables, and Other Strange Things
If you can make a cavity with two holes in it, you can use it as a bong. This includes watermelons, apples, bagpipes, children’s toys, and Pringles cans. Be creative!
Where to Buy
Pick up a bong or pipe from the internet, your local head shop, or marijuana dispensary. Pay between $10 and $1,000, depending on size, quality, and design.
How Much THC Does a Pipe Give You?
It depends on the strength and strain of your weed, but you get most of it. If you have strong weed, it’ll be in the range of 14 to 18 percent THC. You’ll lose about half through burning, so you can expect about 16 or 18mg of THC from one bowl.
- The quickest way to get totally baked
- Can be creative as you want
- Can be very cheap
- Smoking can give you cancer
- Glassware is easily broken
- Other forms of delivery can seem weak in comparison
- Easy to get too stoned
- Tastes like burned weed
- It will make you cough a lot
How Long Does It Last for and Do I Need to Clean It?
Your bong/pipe should keep working until you break it. Cleaning a pipe or bong is unpleasant and difficult.
Medical or Recreational?
Vaping is the healthiest way of inhaling cannabis. Instead of setting the flower on fire and inhaling the smoke, you are turning the THC and other cannabinoids into gas, which you inhale and leave all the nasty crap behind. It tastes incredible, too, if you have nice weed. Studies from nicotine vapes have shown that they are about 95 percent less harmful than smoking.
Vapes vary from handheld pen devices to desktop behemoths. There are medically approved vapes on the market for delivering cannabis therapy safely. Vapes work by adding ground-up cannabis to a heating chamber, which vaporizes the cannabinoids in your herbs. You inhale. Simple. It can take a few minutes for the effects to kick in and they are more subtle than those from a bong or a spliff, but they’re really good.
Different Types of Vape
Two main types dominate the market: portable and desktop.
A dizzying range of portable vaporizers are on the market. The main types are dry herb vaporizers and extract/concentrate vapes. Dry herb vapes only take ground-up weed, while concentrate vapes can sometimes take both extracts like dab and herbs, but most are just for extracts.
Features like individual degree temperature control, long vapor pathways, and long battery lives are now common even on cheap vapes. Some are very discreet and can be carried in a shirt pocket, while others are bulkier and less discreet. The more you pay, the better quality vape you’ll get.
A cool recent invention is the concentrate capsule vape. Pre-prepared cannabis capsules are plugged into your vape to get consistent, delicious hits.
Built for heavy stoners and medical marijuana patients, desktop vapes deliver the highest-quality vapor but cost a lot and you can’t carry them around. The Volcano is the undisputed king of the vape world.
Where to Buy
Your local head shop will have a range of vapes, but the best place to find vapes is online. Good prices, return services, and discreet packaging are all there if you look for them.
The Storz and Bickel Volcano Digit is the best desktop vaporizer, no question.
For portable vapes, there is a lot of competition. The Storz and Bickel Mighty is indeed mighty, offering desktop-quality vape from your pocket. Other notable contenders include the Arizer Solo II, PAX 3, and the Boundless CF Vaporizer. The market is incredibly competitive. For about $200, you can get high-quality vape and several sessions of intense vaping.
How Much THC Do You Get?
Vaporizers can deliver almost all of the THC in your weed, straight to your lungs. Depending on your weed, the quality of the vaporizer, and the temperature you vape at, you’ll get different concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids in your vape. One of the advantages of vaping is the control over the high you get from altering the vaporization temperature.
Recreational or Medicinal?
Both. For medical marijuana patients, it’s the safest and easiest way of getting your cannabinoid dose, especially with a bag from a Volcano. Recreational users will enjoy not poisoning themselves and the pleasant flavors and sensations.
How Long Does It Last?
That depends on the vaporizer. Some cheap vapes only last a couple of sessions before you need to recharge them. Others can last for half a dozen or more. By that time, you’re too baked to care. Cleaning is an issue but isopropyl alcohol does wonders.
Eating cannabis has taken off since legalization and decriminalization has spread across North America and Europe. A huge range of cannabis edibles are available, which can be a risk. Currently, packaging regulations have not caught up with the market, so you can get some extremely variable results. A space cake can range in strength from a nice, manageable buzz to feeling like you have suffered a traumatic brain injury. An edible’s effects can last 4 hours or more, so be prepared. Edibles are the safest way of enjoying cannabis but caution is advised.
Types of Edibles
Edibles are made by cooking ground-up cannabis in oil and then making something with that cannabis-infused oil. If you can put butter or cooking oil in it, you can make the cannabis edible. Cakes, brownies, cookies, drinks, yogurt drinks – there are so many options to choose from it can blow your mind.
Where to Buy
First of all, you can easily make your own. It will make your apartment smell like ganja for days, but it is a lot of fun.
Depending on where you live, you can buy legally produced edibles from head shops, dispensaries, or from the internet. We do not condone you committing a crime to get high, but you can easily get edibles in any major city.
Range of THC
The heating process used to create cannabutter or cannabis oil effectively hydrolyses most of the THCA into THC in your weed, so you are getting the maximum dose. Cooking causes some of it to vaporize but you still get almost all of it. Do not buy edibles unless they tell you how much THC is in them.
Recreational or Medicinal?
Both. Recreational users who do not like to smoke or vape choose to eat instead. For people who are ill, eating cannabis can deliver pain and nausea relief over extended periods, which can be ideal.
If you are planning on eating edibles, make sure you know how much THC is in there before you eat it. This helps you compare doses to find the right dose for you. It will reduce the chance of you getting far too high to function, too.
Cannabis edibles can take up to two hours to kick in, so wait for an hour and a half or more before you take some more to up the dose. There is nothing like the first edible kicking in five minutes after you just ate a top-up dose and that one edible was far too much. It’s a good way to ruin an evening.
Medical Marijuana in Its Different Forms
Of course, aside from the types of marijuana that we have already mentioned, there are the other forms of marijuana that are principally used for medicinal purposes. These forms include tinctures, pills, gummies, topical creams, and dissolvable strips.
Medicinal Marijuana Tinctures
Marijuana tinctures are one of the least controversial ways of consuming marijuana. In fact, tinctures are somewhat underrated in terms of what they can offer medically. Sure, they’re not necessarily as fun as lighting up a spliff or eating cannabis brownies, but if you’re after the medical benefits, then that doesn’t matter so much. Tinctures can work even better than other methods of consuming cannabis.
Tinctures are not new. They were the first known medical form of cannabis right up until 1937 when they were banned. CBD tinctures are the prime medical cannabis forms where HTC is stronger and will give you a pleasurable hit. With a tincture, the effects are felt quickly, thanks to its super quick absorption under the tongue.
Furthermore, it’s easy to control how much you are taking. They’re also discreet, meaning that you don’t need to worry about what others will think. Finally, they last a long time and are safe to consume, too.
Living with chronic or acute pain is immensely tough. One solution is using CBD creams. They’re not addictive and work topically, which is a great plus. So, how do they work? Well, it’s no surprise. It’s just cream but with CBD (cannabis) extract mixed with it. You can even make it yourself.
It is used to treat a specific part of your body, be that a muscle or a joint (no, not that kind of joint!), for example. If you consume CBD or hemp oil, it would work on your whole body, but a cream would focus its efforts on a specific area. It is a bit like taking pain killers for a pulled muscle versus having a deep-tissue massage on that muscle.
Another way of consuming marijuana for medical reasons could be gummies. Quick, easy, and tasty, they are discreet enough to have in your pocket. However, you need to be careful as they look identical to normal gummy bears. Definitely not one you want to be having around if you have kids!
The Latest in Cannabis Trends
The cannabis market has evolved a lot in recent years. As people who had avoided the drug due to its illegality start trying and using it, the market has changed to accommodate them. Smoking poses a lot of risks, and starting to smoke just so you can enjoy cannabis is not the best way to do it. For this reason, most new cannabis users are using edibles, which is as it should be.
Vaporizers continue to get smaller and more powerful. Even five years ago, we did not expect pocket vapes to be as good as they are right now, and they keep getting better. The best thing in vapes at the moment are the pre-prepared capsules you can buy that give you discreet, easy hits from your vape.
Fewer and fewer people are smoking and the new generation of vapers don’t use bongs or smoke spliff. They just vape or eat. It’s a healthy cannabis culture.
Prices of cannabis are falling around North America as huge corporations pile into legalized states. This is good for customers who want consistent and quality weed at good prices, but a disaster for local and independent weed growers. The market is still developing. This is not how it will always look – hopefully!