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  • Sara Fotheringham

How to Use Cannabis

So you’re interested in trying out cannabis for the first time. You’ve gone out to the dispensary or bought some from your licensed producer and now you’ve got it home and asking yourself ‘now what?’ How do you use cannabis? If you’ve unfamiliar with cannabis and how to go about using it, this part might be rather difficult. There are so many methods for using cannabis and they all have benefits and disadvantages. There may be special health conditions that need to be taken into account when you’re deciding and there is also the issue of accessibility. Not everyone can afford all the bells and whistles nor can everyone use them. So let’s take a look at some of these methods of ingestion.

Joint

Pipes, one-hitters, and dugouts

Water Bong

Edibles, juicing, and teas

Tinctures/Glycerites


Joints

Ah, the classic. This is cannabis in its most basic form and the one that people are most familiar with. Joints, or cannabis cigarettes, are when you take the dried flower and bust into smaller bits and then roll it inside a thin piece of paper with glue. It is then sealed, lit and smoked this way. This is excellent for getting cannabis into your system immediately as the effects are felt almost instantly. It’s also super cheap as rolling papers, even really high quality or fancy, are going to max out at around $6 for a pack. There are lots of kinds of papers out there and next week, we’ll dive into those. For now, though, joints are a nice, easy way to use cannabis. The downside is that you’re inhaling the smoke. While cannabis smoke is not nearly as toxic as cigarettes, inhaling any kind of smoke isn’t great. If you’re going to be using cannabis a lot or needing high doses, joints might not be the best method for you.


Pipes, one-hitters and dugouts

A smoking pipe is also pretty classic and most people are familiar with them. Cannabis pipes might come in all crazy kinds of styles, but they are all pretty much the same. Some have a little hole that is called a Carb that’s between the bowl and chamber. These require you to seal it with your finger so that the smoke when you’re inhaling goes through the chamber and not out the carb. One-hitters are basically pipes but only big enough to hold enough for one or two hits. This is great for those who are micro-dosing and just taking a couple hits every few hours as needed. For those who are needed to get a large number of cannabinoids into their system though, again this isn’t going to be the greatest method. A dugout is a one-hitter that comes with a spot to stash your stash. You fill the storage part up and then push the one-hitter into it and fill it.


Water Bongs

Here is the other most well-known method of taking cannabis. “Taking a rip off the bong” is possibly something you’ll hear as you get more familiar with cannabis and the culture around it. A bong is a device that has a few parts to it. There is the bowl, like in a pipe where you put the cannabis. There is the stem that the bowl attaches to and the stem goes into the base. The base is filled with water about halfway. You smoke through the mouthpiece which causes the smoke to travel through the water and release as it bubbles. This is good because the smoke is given the chance to cool off in the water, which makes it significantly better for your lungs. However, they are notorious for making people cough. So it might not be the most ideal starting point.


Edibles, Juicing and Teas

A lot of people who are new cannabis will decide that the best way for them to try it for the first time will be to eat it. Smoking is a bit intimidating and can be a concern for a lot. The thing is that people don’t realize that edibles and smoking are two different worlds. Edibles can take several hours for you to start feeling any of the effects. This means pain relief takes longer and it also increases your chances of accidentally taking too much and having a bad trip. Number one advice with edibles of any kind is starting low and slow. Especially now that they are legal and going to be readily available. Juicing is taking the fresh leaves and mixing them into your smoothies or juices. These are not decarbed so they do not have active THC in it, however, you can decarb them and use them in edibles. Juicing though is about getting the other medicinal benefits of cannabis and the various vitamins and minerals without worrying about the high. Cannabis is loaded with healthy compounds and juicing is a great way to get it.

You can make tea with decarbed cannabis or with non-activated cannabis. You can mix it in with your herbal tea and have a delicious cup of tea. Like edibles, it can take a few hours for you to really feel. Even if you don’t use decarbed cannabis, depending on how long you allow it to steep and the temperature of the water, some of the THCA will probably convert to THC.


Tinctures/Glycerites

Lastly, let’s look at tinctures and glycerites. These are liquid extracts made from decarbed cannabis and are in a tincture, glycerin or oil base. You take it by applying a few drops or mL’s under your tongue, holding it there for 30-60 seconds and then swallowing. They are an excellent way to measure out your exact dosage. They’re easy to take, have no smell, and are pretty discreet. They are a favorite among medical patients for these reasons. The only downside is that like edibles, they can take some time to be felt (though significantly less) and the effects are not as immediate as smoking.


There are a lot of different methods to take cannabis and it’s important to take the time to figure out which works best for you. At the end of the day, the best method for you is going to be one that you feel you get the most benefits and that your doctor is on board for.

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