Scientific research and numerous studies have established the considerable therapeutic value of cannabis compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in recent years. Public interest in the legal cannabis industry is at an all-time high, which has pushed product innovation to new places — most notably into a series of multi-billion dollar global markets such as sports medicine, beauty and vaping.
There’s arguably never been a better time to tap into the therapeutic potential of THC and CBD as a means of supplementing healthy diet regimens, as even newer consumers have a variety of convenient methods to put cannabis compounds to use in their day-to-day lives.
As is illustrated by five decades of media in popular culture, smoking cannabis is the oldest popular method of cannabis consumption. However, this certainly isn’t to say it’s the safest, or even the most practical. Marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke, and marijuana smokers are at risk for the same kinds of lung cancer and respiratory problems as tobacco smokers.
Smoking marijuana can also lead to other health problems, such as:
- Damaged blood vessels
- Difficulty with memory and learning
- Increased heart rate
It goes without saying that the harms of smoking don’t negate the medicinal and therapeutic value of cannabis compounds. Luckily, these days cannabis consumption goes well beyond simply buying flower or weed online and lighting up. In this post, we go over every popular method of consuming cannabis extracts today, along with their respective pros and cons.
Consuming Cannabis-Derived Tinctures
Cannabis tinctures are concentrated liquid forms of cannabis extracts (e.g. THC, CBD) that can be taken orally or added to food or drinks. Cannabis tinctures are made by extracting the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant using a solvent, such as alcohol, and then evaporating the solvent to leave a concentrated extract. They come in isolate, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum formulations.
Cannabis tinctures offer convenient and easy ways to take CBD, and they’re also one of the most effective methods of delivery. That’s because when CBD is taken orally, it’s absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach, bypassing the liver. This allows for higher bioavailability of cannabis compounds that enter the system. Cannabis tinctures are also fast-acting, which means you’ll feel the effects more quickly than some other methods of delivery.
If you’re interested in trying cannabis tinctures, it’s important to start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed. Also be sure to use a tincture that’s been tested for purity and potency by a third-party lab.
Using Cannabis-Infused Topicals
A number of industries have begun to incorporate cannabis component compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes into products designed for direct application to skin, such as lotions, balms and night creams. These infused topicals have enjoyed not only significant success in terms of sales, but user reviews online and on social media as well.
The success of cannabis-infused topicals isn’t hard to understand, as they provide a means to enjoy targeted relief from a variety of symptoms. The sports medicine industry, for instance, uses CBD in balms and icy-hot patches to provide localized relief from joint pain or muscle soreness. The cosmetic industry infuses cannabinoids into deep skin cleansers and cold creams to nourish dry, flaky skin. Even the skincare industry utilizes terpenes like citronellol to increase the skin permeability of insect repellent lotions.
Companies are currently evaluating experimental products to determine the viability of cannabis compounds in soaps, body washes and scrubs, as CBD and specific terpenes like alpha-bisabolol and humulene have demonstrated notable antimicrobial activity in laboratory testing.
Vaping Cannabis Extracts
Of the various methods of cannabis consumption on the market, vaping is one preferred by newer users, as well as individuals prioritizing convenience and ease of use. Affordability and portability aside, vaping is also arguably the most popular method of consuming CBD in particular.
Vaping CBD oil is a great way to get its therapeutic effects quickly and efficiently. When you vape CBD oil, the cannabidiol is rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream through the lungs, delivering its benefits within minutes. This makes it an ideal option for those looking for quick relief from anxiety, pain or other health issues.
Vaping is also a very efficient way to use CBD oil, as you can get the same therapeutic effects from a much smaller amount than you would need if you were taking it orally. This means that you can save money in the long run by using less CBD oil overall.
This is one of the most beginner-friendly methods of consuming cannabis extracts, as all you need is a vape pen or e-cigarette and some cannabis oil. As with tinctures, if you’re new to vaping, start with low dose ranges and gradually increase the amounts you use until you find the right dose for you.
Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates
Dabbing is a relatively recent phenomenon in the legal cannabis industry, providing a practical means of consuming more novel forms of cannabis concentrates like rosin (i.e. resin), budder — which is a wax with consistencies ranging from that of cookie dough to maple syrup — and shatter, which resembles sheets or shards of glass. Users can use a portable dab tool or tabletop rig depending on their desired use case.
The single most notable advantage of dabbing cannabis concentrates is that it’s the consumption method that provides the most CBD in a single hit. It’s also considered healthier than using a joint or dry herb vaporizer, as there is no degrading plant matter involved in the inhalation process. On the other hand, dabbing does require a more involved process to set up, regardless of if you’re dabbing on the go or using a tabletop rig.
Time and increased market innovation may yet introduce even more methods of cannabis extract consumption. But it’s safe to say that even now, there’s no shortage of options for cannabis consumers of all levels.