Is There a Safer Way to Smoke Cannabis?
If you’re looking for the healthiest way to smoke cannabis, keep in mind that there’s no totally safe way to do so — even with the purest, most pesticide-free bud. Cannabis smoke contains most of the same toxins and carcinogens that make tobacco smoke harmful to your health.
There are, however, methods that may be slightly less harmful than others. Here’s a look at how different methods compare, plus some smoke-free alternatives to consider.
To vape or not to vape?
The dangers of smoke inhalation are well known, so it’s not surprising that a lot of folks assume vaping is the healthier alternative to smoking. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
There’s mounting evidence that vaping can have serious health effects. Much of the concern comes from inhaling vitamin E acetate, a chemical additive found in many vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
The additive has been linked to thousands of cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.
However, this risk seems to apply only to vaping concentrates, not flower. A 2006 study suggests that vaping actual cannabis, not concentrate, is less harmful to your respiratory system than smoking. Still, research on vaping cannabis is pretty limited.
Lung health aside, there’s also a matter of potency. People who vape cannabis reportTrusted Source experiencing stronger effects — regardless of the amount of THC in the product — than they do when smoking. This means a higher chance of overdoing it, or greening out, when vaping.
Don’t bongs filter out the bad stuff?
Maybe a teeny, tiny bit, but nowhere near enough to make a difference.
Bongs offer a smoother toke because you don’t get the dry heat from smoking cannabis rolled in paper. Though it feels less harsh when you inhale, your lungs don’t know the difference.
What about joints and blunts?
Well, both still involve inhaling smoke, so there’s that. But if you had to choose the lesser of two evils, joints are probably the better option. This is because blunts are made with hollowed-out cigars, and cigars and their wrappers are highly toxic.
Even after removing all the tobacco from a cigar, cancer-causing toxins, such as nitrosamines, can remain. Plus, cigar wrappers are more porous than rolling papers, so the burning is less complete. This results in smoke with high concentrations of toxins.
Then there’s the matter of size. Blunts are a lot bigger than joints, and they hold way more pot. Smoking an entire blunt is like smoking roughly six joints.
Where joints and vapes may fail your personal litmus test, edibles should do the trick for everyone but the staunchest pot opponents. Available in gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, and even kosher formats – if you can eat, edibles may be your answer to the cannabis question. Where smoking and, to an extent, vaping aren’t absolute booms for human health, edibles offer a much lighter entry point for cannabis consumers.
They’re also an opportunity to get creative if you’re making your own. Typically made with canna-butter, the process of making edibles is as fun as it is rewarding, as countless cannabis chefs have proven. You can also find plenty of delicious edibles at Toronto cannabis dispensary.
It’s worth noting that because weed is metabolized differently through the digestive tract rather than through the lungs, those chowing down on a cookie can expect a longer-lasting high than they would with inhaled cannabis. For that reason, it’s important to measure your dosage correctly and allow your first dose up to two hours before reaching for another.
The raw elements responsible for pot’s medicinal and recreational effects are captured and perfectly preserved in cannabis oils and extracts. While different extraction methods can yield different effects (methods that use solvents may dilute the plant, for instance), oils are mostly well-received by the human body, lest you’re one of those poor souls with an allergy to cannabis. Unlike other methods, they don’t require any faffing about with vapourizer knobs, oven settings, or lighters to achieve the desired effect.
Materially, they’re the simplest means of consuming as well. The most common mode of consumption is sublingual: placing the oil under the tongue so that it can seep into the blood vessels beneath it; one of the fastest ways to the bloodstream, short of injection of course.
…don’t inject cannabis.
Put it in coffee, tea or juice
Much like the edibles, throwing the above cannabis oil into your beverage of choice is a method available to most everyone with a mouth. If cannabis oil/extract on its own just doesn’t feel exciting or new age enough, adding a measured amount of your cannabis liquid to your non-cannabis liquid is a single-step process that turns any drink into a drink. Most of the rules applied to a weed edible follow here, with the excepted caution against consuming cannabis and alcohol liberally in the same session – they don’t always compliment one another.
With the advent of the smoothie, this may be the single healthiest way to consume the cannabis plant. Toss your preferred mix of apricots/kale/cranberries/more kale into a blender, top with oil, and enjoy.
Oh, and bonus points if you throw in a mango.
Rub it in with topicals
While some companies offer cannabis topicals with questionable science to back them up (re: weed-based acne creams and the like), consumers with chronic pain know better than anyone the benefits of cannabis-derived balms, salves, and creams. Generally higher in CBD than other cannabinoids, topicals allow cannabinoids to interact with targeted areas in the body through contact with the skin. They’re mostly used by people looking to treat a spot-specific condition rather than achieving a full-body high, and are by far the least invasive consumption method as they don’t need to be inhaled, eaten or drank to take effect.
The “high” felt from topicals is usually minuscule or non-existent given the prominence of CBD-heavy products, so it may be a better choice for those who want a clear head after consuming.
The science is still young on this one, but many users have attested to relief from pain and varying types of inflammation after smoothing it in.