How to Use Marijuana Without Smoking it
If you’re considering medical marijuana but you’re averse to the idea of smoking it, you have a range of other consumption options available. There are over 4 million legal medical marijuana patients nationwide, and this thriving marketplace has paved the way for a myriad of products and delivery systems, some of which are relatively new. If you don’t want to consume cannabis the old-fashioned way, consider just a few other ways to use marijuana without smoking it.
Eating is the classic consumption method for people who want to use marijuana without smoking it. You have to be extremely careful with edibles, though, as they’re far more potent than smoked cannabis. Unlike other marijuana delivery systems, edibles are digested and broken down by the liver. The liver converts the THC into various metabolites, including one called 11-OH-THC. This metabolite is extremely psychoactive because it crosses the blood-brain barrier as much as four times faster than THC. That’s why the potency is so extreme.
When consuming edibles, less is more. Start with a microdose, just 2 to 5 milligrams. It can take up to an hour for the effects to become noticeable, after which the effects can last from 4 to 8 hours. To learn more, check out our guide on how to safely consume edibles.
Powders are among the newer cannabis products to hit the market. They’re perfect for users who are turned off by marijuana smoke because they’re odorless and flavorless. Just add a serving to any food or beverage and enjoy. Because the servings are easy to measure, you can ensure more precise dosage than with other delivery methods.
While dissolvable powders technically fall under the umbrella of edibles, they’re not quite as potent and they can take effect within 20 minutes. The solubility of the powder means that the cannabinoids are absorbed in the mouth, intestines, and liver at the same time—so it’s like an edible and a tincture in one. Effects can last up to 4 hours.
A tincture is an oil product, usually contained within a glass or plastic vial, that you take orally. Although cannabis tinctures are still harder to find than straight CBD tinctures, they’re becoming increasingly popular for their ease of use and quick onset of action. Just fill the dropper, place the liquid under your tongue, and allow it to be absorbed into the blood vessels for about 30 to 60 seconds. Then swallow.
A tincture takes effect within 20 minutes, and the effects typically last 2 to 3 hours. While it may have a slight flavor and aftertaste, it doesn’t have the strong smell of plant matter that you would get with marijuana cigarettes or edibles. Best of all, you can carry it with you and use it discreetly in any location.
If you’re accustomed to taking your medication in pill form, marijuana capsules may be a comforting and familiar way to use marijuana without smoking it. They’re easy to take, and you can easily control the dosage to ensure consistent results. Just take them with water.
Because capsules are absorbed by the stomach and metabolized by the liver, the onset of action is similar to that of edibles. The effects should become noticeable within an hour and last at least 4 hours. Start with the lowest recommended dosage, as these are extremely potent.
The main benefit of vape oils is that they take effect almost instantly. The downside is that vaping isn’t for everybody. There’s an entire culture to vaping; it has its own tools, techniques, and terminology. For the average patient just looking to treat their chronic inflammation, the whole process can feel overwhelming.
Still, if you’re interested in vaping or you already have some experience with it, you’ll just need the right vape pen. Most seasoned vapers rely on reusable, portable vaporizers, but disposable vape pens are available as well. While there has recently been some concern regarding lung injuries and deaths resulting from vaping, the CDC notes that the majority of these injuries appear to be triggered by vitamin E acetate, a common thickener in black-market vape oils. Always purchase cannabis vape oils from trusted manufacturers who back up their products with a certificate of analysis from a third-party laboratory.
Topical Cannabis Creams
If you’re looking to treat localized pain or discomfort, you may find some benefit in using topical cannabis creams. They’re great for medicinal users because they have little psychoactive effect, but they’re not ideal for every condition. Consider trying topicals if you’re looking to address chronic pain, inflammation, or a skin condition like acne.
These creams work just like standard lotions. Apply it to an affected area and work it into the skin. You should notice the effects within an hour. Make sure to read the directions carefully and always use as directed.
Transdermal cannabis patches represent one of the newer innovations in the medical marijuana market. Just apply the patch to a venous area of the body, and the cannabinoids are absorbed into the bloodstream.
One advantage to using patches is that they’re often customized for various conditions. For example, if you suffer from inflammation, you can use a patch that contains the precise cannabinoid ratio to treat that condition (based on existing clinical research). Another advantage to using patches is that they’re extremely discreet. Just apply the patch to your skin and go about your day.
It’s easy to use marijuana without smoking it. Whether you’ve already obtained your medical marijuana card online or you’re still considering whether cannabis treatment is right for you, it’s important to know that your treatment options aren’t simply limited to smoking. You’re in full control of how you receive your medication, so don’t let outdated stereotypes hold you back from getting the relief you need.