How to Get High without Smoking

How to Get High without Smoking: 9 Other Ways to Enjoy Marijuana

How to Get High without Smoking

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Cannabis is proving to have untold health benefits as the hundreds of compounds in cannabis are slowly proving to have vast, and even surprising, medical implications. And yet, one major issue we cannot ignore is that smoking is not good for you.

One issue with cannabis is that smoking weed can present the same health issues as smoking tobacco. Many can be turned off by the idea of smoking cannabis, however, if you wonder how to get high while sparing your lungs this post will have you covered.

Now that the stigma about imbibing marijuana is shifting and cannabis is proving to be a cash cow and potential panacea more people are curious about trying it. It’s slowly becoming a legal source of recreation without many of the pitfalls of alcohol.

If you’re new or curious about cannabis you may not know there are easier and healthier ways to use cannabis than smoking. Which of these fit into your diet or daily habits? This post outlines all of the simple ways to consume cannabis without smoking.


How To Use Marijuana?

There are two main ways of using cannabis. While there are different strategies of going about it you can really only either consume marijuana orally or inhale it. While the way you do so or the type of cannabis product you use may vary these are the two main delivery systems of cannabis.

While smoking is the most popular there are other forms of inhaling similar to smoking like vaping or inhaling different cannabis concentrates like dabs or rosin. They’re heated rather than burned which cuts down on carcinogens.

There are also countless edible options ranging from food to beverages to pure cannaoil. You can consume pure cannabis or concentrates or derivatives. There is even a form of pure distilled THC that can be inhaled or taken orally.

One important difference to understand is how these two strategies can affect your body differently. When you inhale cannabis whether it’s a vapor or smoke the THC directly enters your bloodstream. It has a shorter, more sustained high and can peak within 10 minutes of use. When you ingest cannabis in any form it can begin entering your bloodstream sublingually, i.e. under your tongue, but the bulk is often introduced to your bloodstream through your digestive system. It enters your stomach where it heads to your liver and then it hits your bloodstream.

This means that the high can take longer to fully hit you as the THC is slowly entering your blood throughout the digestion process. Also, it’s important to note that your liver converts THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. This can impact your “high” and is often why cannabis users may report a different experience when consuming edibles vs. smoking.

It’s important to find what delivery system, product, and even what strain of cannabis is right for you. Everyone’s body is different and luckily there are countless cannabis strains out there.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into cannabis edibles and explore the benefits of eating cannabis products.


ways to get high


Can You Eat Weed?

Many people new to cannabis may wonder, can you eat marijuana? This question has a twofold answer. You can consume raw cannabis although that will not get you high. It can provide you with a great dose of antioxidants but many of the active compounds in cannabis must be heated before they can become accessible to the human body.

Cannabinoids engage with the endocannabinoid system in the body but that’s only when they’re in their active form. Cannabinoids must be decarboxylated in order for our body to use them. They exist as an acid form that with the right amount of heat can be converted.

Their acid form can simply function like any other antioxidant. Some people may add raw cannabis to smoothies but again this will not get you high. You’ll simply enjoy some of the benefits of these raw cannabinoid acids and terpenes found in cannabis. It would be similar to adding acai or goji berry to your favorite daytime drink.

What makes all cannabis products different from gummies to capsules to cannaoil is that they have all been heated to the point where the acid form of THC, THC-A has been converted to bioactive and psychoactive THC. That’s what provides the high. Speaking of…


Can Smelling Weed Get You High?

Simply smelling cannabis cannot get you high. In its raw form cannabis cannot get you high even if you ate a ton of it or inhaled it for an hour. THC exists as an acid THC-A must be heated to a certain point in order to be able to be processed by the body. The same is true for CBD and other common cannabinoids.

Smelling decarbed cannabis can help you better understand the terpene breakdown and there’s something to be said for your body finding a strain pleasing it might be a good fit for you. That being said, simply smelling weed or inhaling the scent has no chance of getting you high.

What about cannabis smoke? How potent is cannabis smoke?


Can Secondhand Smoke Get You High?

There is a somewhat complex answer to this question as there are some variables that can affect your ability to get high. The short answer is that yes, exposure to secondhand smoke can potentially get you high because there can be active THC in the smoke that, if inhaled, can make you high.

There are also common forms of secondhand smoke exposure like shotgunning. This is where someone who has inhaled cannabis smoke exhales into someone else’s mouth. This provides direct mouth access to a full blast of smoke which can cause the recipient of the “shotgun” to get high.

Again, there are a few factors that impact the potential of a secondhand smoke high. It will vary depending on the potency of the cannabis. If there’s a small amount of THC in the cannabis this can cause a negligible risk of absorbing THC from secondhand smoke.

Additionally, ventilation can impact your likelihood of getting exposed to enough THC to get high. You must be exposed to enough second hand smoke with enough THC in it to get high. Another form of secondhand smoke is “hotboxing” where you smoke cannabis in a less-ventilated area like a car or a room with little airflow.

This creates a “hotbox” where all of the secondhand smoke exposes you to a higher likelihood of getting intoxicated. Additionally, secondhand smoke may not get you as high as directly inhaling cannabis smoke.

So ventilation, the amount of THC in the product, and your proximity to the smoke will ultimately impact how you feel. Also, your duration of exposure and your body’s sensitivity to THC will dictate if you get a contact high.


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Is Contact High Real?

A contact high is when someone is in direct proximity to someone who’s intoxicated and begins to feel the effects. With cannabis, this is possible because exposure to cannabis smoke can contain some THC which gets you high.

A study out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that “extreme” exposure did result in “a mild sense of intoxication and mild impairment on measures of cognitive performance” and, in some cases, even a positive result in a drug test.

It’s also important to note that this study did specifically outline “extreme exposure” which is different from someone casually walking by you smoking a joint or smoking in another room.

Also, it’s important to note that this is only with people smoking or vaping cannabis and not with edibles. There is a potential for a psychosomatic response but this is not the same as the contact high you can get from actual THC exposure.


Can You Get Contact High?

Again, it is possible to get a contact high but there are some key factors to keep in mind:

There must be a significant amount of THC in the secondhand smoke or general area for you to be exposed to. Currently, many strains of cannabis can have as much as 30% THC which does mean that you can have a higher likelihood these days than you might have in the 1970s or 1980s when cannabis only had 1-4% THC.

In addition to THC, there’s also ventilation. In a well-ventilated room or open space your likelihood for a contact high is lower. If you’re outside there’s an even lesser chance of inhaling enough THC to become intoxicated.

There’s also the duration of exposure to keep in mind. For example, if you walk past someone smoking cannabis there’s not a particularly strong likelihood that you’ll be exposed to enough THC to feel. Whereas if you’re in a room with a group of people smoking you may be more likely to ingest THC through secondhand smoke.

There are other ways of inhaling cannabis besides smoking weed like vaping or dabbing and exposure to this vapor can make you more likely to get a contact high because those vapors are more concentrated. These methods often have higher THC content. Let’s dive deeper into some alternative ways to inhale THC besides smoking weed.


how to use marijuana


Alternatives To Smoking Weed

If you’re not sure just yet about edibles and want to be able to more closely monitor how high you get there are alternatives to smoking. Measuring how you’ll feel is not always possible with consuming cannabis in an edible form, if you’re feeling cautious you can try these alternatives for a concentrated, more quick and measured high. These can help.

Although not as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke, which can contain toxins and additives, smoking cannabis can expose you to carcinogens from burning plant matter. Many of the different forms of consuming cannabis are based on removing much of the plant matter to help mitigate the risks of smoking cannabis.

Here’s a few different ways to inhale without smoking weed that can provide a similar delivery system and high while not exposing you to as intense a health risk as cannabis smoke.

  1. Using A Vaporizer

Before the vape craze that’s taken over an entire generation, many used to cook rather than burn cannabis with herbal vaporizers. Vaporizers decarb the cannabis flower and creates a THC-infused vapor rather than a smoke.

By cooking rather than burning cannabis you mitigate some of the risks and intensity of cannabis smoke. By not burning plant matter you “can reduce the emission of carbon monoxide, chronic respiratory symptoms, and exposure to several toxins.” This makes it a healthier alternative to straight smoking.

  1. Vape Cannabis Oil/Concentrates

Vaping has become the modern alternative to smoking. With nicotine vapes it’s flavored nicotine juice. With cannabis, it’s often cannabis concentrates like cannabis oil, wax, rosin, or resin. Many dispensaries offer vape pens and cartridges that can often be mixed and matched.

This means you can find a pen or charger you like and use any cartridge to try different stains or products.

Your vape pen gets charged and when activated it administers heat to the concentrate in the cartridge. You inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece. The vapor can be chock full of THC and in some cases a full-spectrum of the compounds in cannabis. Again, by removing the exposure to burning plant matter you get less of the harshness of smoke.

  1. Dabs

Dabbing is similar to vaping. However, rather than using a vape pen you will use a dab rig or water pipe. Also, the products you use to dab will often have a higher concentration of THC like wax, shatter, rosin, resin or pure THC crystalline.

Your dab rig or water pipe allows you to heat a “dab” of concentrate then you inhale the vapor you’ve created.

Maybe you don’t want to inhale cannabis because you’re concerned with your lung health. While these are less risky than smoking. They are better for you than smoking cannabis because there’s less exposure to toxins and carcinogens but are there options if you don’t want to inhale cannabis?


Different Ways To Get High

If you’d rather not inhale cannabis there are actually quite a few different ways to consume cannabis orally. These can vary but as products evolve there are countless options hitting the market.

  1. Edibles

The ever-growing cannabis market means that there’s an almost unlimited supply of cannabis edibles. The only limit is a delivery system and your imagination. There are baked goods, gummies, savory products like chips and other snack foods and some even use cannabis in cuisine.

Cannabinoids like THC are oil-soluble so fattier foods tend to provide a better delivery system. There usually needs to be some oil or fat for the THC to bond to. Then whatever that main oil or fat base is is often the cannabis element to a dish or edible.

  1. Cooking With Cannabis

The limits for edibles are only your imagination. If you want to control your THC intake and the ingredients in your edibles consider making your own. You can use cannabis oil or cannabis butter. They’re simple enough to make and you can use them to dose yourself or make a batch of fresh edibles.

Those linked posts contain simple, easy to follow recipes so you can make your own cannabis oils or butter.

  1. THC Oils and Extracts

If you don’t want to cook yourself, you can dose yourself simply with cannabis oils or extracts. Cannabis oil can be in anything from edibles to vape cartridges to capsule form but you can often purchase THC extracts or oils that allow you to administer your own dosages.

There are different strategies for extracting cannabinoids. The bulk of many of the innovations in the industry are finding new ways to administer THC and cannabinoids. Also, different strategies for extracting the cannabinoids and even the terpenes from cannabis

  1. Cannabis Beverages

As cannabis expands into recreational legalization, alcohol brands are branching into cannabis space with products like hard seltzers or beers that provide you with a single dose of THC and a subtle buzz.

Brands like Pabst and Anheuser-Busch are entering the space. There are also coffee beverages or teas that contain cannabis. Again, the only limits are your imagination as there only needs to be a simple syrup or oil base that contains cannabinoids.

  1. THC Capsules

If you’d prefer to treat your cannabis like medicine, you can simply dose yourself with capsules. There are capsules of cannabis oil, decarbed cannabis flower or even just distilled THC. These capsules allow you to take your cannabis without having to bother with eating something that’s THC infused.

This also allows for simple and discreet dosing. You can take a single dose and have cannabis whenever you need to.

  1. Tinctures

Tinctures are similar to concentrates but often contain a small bit of alcohol. The process of making tinctures is simple enough and that link contains a simple recipe you can use.

What makes tinctures different is they can be administered sublingually, under the tongue, which circumvents some of the major digestion processes. Rather than having to wait a long time for the cannabinoids to hit your bloodstream some of them can begin entering your body more quickly.

The tincture exposes you to an initial burst of cannabinoids and the rest of them get processed by your body throughout the digestive process.


alternative to edibles


Best Way To Consume Cannabis

There are multiple ways to consume cannabis from edibles to concentrates that can be not-quite-smoked. Finding the right fit for you can vary on a few factors. It’s important to know what you want from the cannabis product.

If you value discretion, you may want to opt for easy-to-dose options like capsules or tinctures. If you prefer to be more involved in the process, you can make your own cannabis oils or butters from your cannabis strain of choice. This lets you make your own cannabis edibles.

If you prefer simplicity, you can purchase your own edibles or cannabis beverages at your local dispensary.

Another key factor to consider is do you want to know how high you’ll be? Vapes, dabs, and other inhalable forms of THC mean you are more immediately aware of how much the cannabis will affect you. This may be more advisable for people who use cannabis for pain management.

Over time, you can get a general awareness for how strongly edibles will affect you. Cannabis regulation is establishing testing and standard dosages where the standard single-serving dose can be anywhere from 2.5 to 10 milligrams of THC. This can offer a more measured awareness of how high you may feel.


Final Thoughts

The entire cannabis industry is offering new and healthier alternatives to smoking weed. There are countless options that can fit your lifestyle, health goals, and preferred delivery method. If you want organic edibles, high potency dabs, or the simplicity of popping pills the option is there.

When selecting a delivery method it’s important to know that there may be a certain amount of experimentation to familiarize yourself with how you’ll ultimately feel. If you’d like to try cannabis consider getting your medical marijuana card with Green Health Docs. The process is simple, quick, and seamless.

This will give you access to medical dispensaries in your area and you can find the delivery system that best fits your life.


Dr. Anand DugarThis article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.