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Alternatives to Smoking Cannabis

 December 05, 2019  Written by Mitch Greene
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You have probably heard of the many medical benefits of cannabis, but may be apprehensive to try it yourself. Many people think cannabis is only consumed by using a pipe, bong or joint. However, you now have more options than ever and it is up to you to explore and determine which works well for you.

There is no "best" way to consume your medicine — what works for one patient might not actually work best for you. It is important to take into consideration your health and the experience you are looking to achieve through using cannabis, but it is up to you to experiment and test the results. If smoking cannabis isn’t for you, here are 6 effective alternatives:

1) Vaporizing

Vaporizing or "vaping" cannabis flower or oil, is one of the more popular methods of consumption and replaces the act of smoking. Vaporizers are available in a wide selection of brands, sizes, and portability. You can purchase larger units for using at home, or discreet pens which fit in your pocket. Vaporizing typically delivers quick relief, is less harsh on the lungs, and doesn't emit as strong of an odor as smoking cannabis flower. 

2) Capsules or Pills

Some patients feel more comfortable taking cannabis in a pill or capsule form, as it feels more like traditional medicine. It is hard to determine exactly what dose will be most effective but ensuring products are made with whole plant cannabis extract is a great start. Starting with a low dose and slowly increasing your dosage is important to ensure you don’t overconsume. 

3) Tinctures

Tinctures are an alcohol-based, liquid concentration of cannabis and an excellent way to benefit from the medicinal properties of cannabinoids. Tinctures are similar to medicine droppers and are consumed by placing a few drops under the tongue. The effects usually occur very soon after using if they are absorbed sublingually. Tinctures come in various formulations and are also available in CBD-only for those looking for non-psychotropic effects. 

4) Topicals 

You don't need the psychoactive effects of cannabis to receive the plant's medicinal benefits. Topicals are lotions or creams that have been infused with cannabis oil that are used for pain relief and inflammation. Topicals are becoming increasingly popular among athletes, women and older patients who want to experience the medicinal properties of cannabidiol (CBD) and low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Topicals can treat symptoms such as eczema, psoriasis, joint and muscle pain.

5) Transdermal Patches

Cannabis transdermal patches are a patch that delivers cannabis straight into your bloodstream. Patches have a slow-release and can be targeted specifically for daytime or nighttime use. Just like other methods, you can choose a patch that utilizes different ratios of cannabinoids to produce your desired effect. If you're looking to reduce inflammation for example, you may opt for a CBD patch, while those looking to help with insomnia might choose a CBN patch.

6) Edibles 

 The key ingredient to medicated edibles is the cannabis infused butter or oil. Unlike vaping or smoking, you typically won't feel the full effects of edibles for up to a few hours. With all cannabis products, and especially with edibles, it is recommended to start low and go slow until you are comfortable with the outcome. When making edibles at home always remember less is more!

Disclaimer: The information presented here is meant for educational purposes only. Medical decisions should not be made based on advertising. Consult a physician on the benefits and risks of specific medical products.

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