There are alternatives to smoking cannabis. As unbelievable as that might seem, it is true. With cannabis getting legal in more parts of the world, people are looking for ways to adopt it into their lives. Many people choose to smoke it today, but you’d be surprised to know that some historians believe that cannabis was initially (we are talking WAY back in 5000 BC) not smoked at all!
During shamanic rituals, cannabis was either vaporized on hot rocks or was burned as incense, like sage. The smoke was then indirectly inhaled through these methods. It was only in the modern ages, post 16th century, when smoking cannabis directly gained fame.
Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, after realising the dangers of smoking, the idea of vaping over smoking started gaining traction once again. Vaping is a relatively new form of consuming cannabis for us and of our previous few generations. The market for cannabis vapes (also referred to as vapourisers) developed and spurted only a decade ago and has since then boomed into a billion-dollar industry.
In the present day, non-smokers are increasingly adopting cannabis vapes. The reason for this may be because vapes seem safer, and they look pretty damn sleek and cool. And yes, both of these reasons are true, but even though vapes are safer than smoking, they are still not entirely safe. People who are prone to lung diseases especially should not smoke or vape.
Also, vaping is illegal in India.
Thankfully, an upside to cannabis is that it is super inclusive. The young can consume it, and so can the old. To this end, people who do not want to smoke can enjoy the benefits of cannabis in many other ways.
This article lists three ways that are convenient, smoke-free alternatives to smoking cannabis.
Top 3 Alternatives to Smoking Cannabis
Edibles are ready-to-eat food and drink items containing cannabis extracts. Cannabis edibles are one of the simplest alternatives to smoking cannabis. These are available in the form of gummies, chocolates, candies, cookies, tea, and coffee, to name a few.
You can either make cannabis edibles at home or purchase them from a store. The effects achieved from eating cannabis edibles are fundamentally different from that of smoking/vaping. The time it takes for the cannabis to kick in is slightly more, ranging between 30 to 60 minutes. However, the effects stay for 2 to 4, and sometimes even up to 6 hours.
Edibles are a very discreet way of consuming cannabis. The cannabinoid THC that is present in cannabis induces a sense of calm in the body and thus helps in relaxing. It is also a primary compound that helps in relieving pain.
THC is psychoactive in nature. When THC interacts with our endocannabinoid system, it produces a feeling of euphoria.
CBD, another cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. CBD edibles calm the nerves and ease the mind. They reduce inflammation by interacting with our endocannabinoid system which helps with chronic and acute inflammation. Edibles also help with muscle spasms, improve sleep quality, and increase appetite.
How to administer dosage in CBD Edibles?
Sticking to an accurate dosage while consuming cannabis products is crucial. Edibles containing high amounts of THC have the ability to get you pretty high. Edibles that are store-bought usually come in pre-built forms and can’t be administered the way drops and tablets can be. The more the dosage, the stronger the effect will be. So make sure you start small. E.g., start with mints or small sips of cannabis-infused drinks instead of gummies.
An important thing to remember is that it takes time for the edibles to take effect when the route of administration is through the digestive tract, so make sure you wait instead of increasing the intake of the edible.
A question that is often asked is, “Can cannabis be eaten raw?”. The answer to that is a hard no. Raw cannabis needs to be decarboxylated to have the desired effects.
The second one on the list of alternatives to smoking cannabis is topicals. Topicals are products that one can apply to the skin. This method of application makes cannabis accessible just like any other skincare product. It balances the oil production of the skin while moisturizing it at the same time!
Hemp, (a type of cannabis plant), is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These compounds are essential for our body and have a lot of nutritional benefits. However, they aren’t naturally produced by our bodies and thus need to be supplemented.
Hemp topicals are great for our skin and are known to have anti-ageing properties. So the next time you are stressing about your wrinkles or just missing that youthful look, remember that hemp has your back.
Another common ingredient in cannabis topicals is CBD. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. When applied regularly, CBD Topicals can aid the treatment of various dermatological diseases, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. It does so by reducing redness, dryness, and irritation.
In today’s age of choices, a variety of cannabis-infused topicals are available. This includes balms, creams, serums, and lotions, to name a few.
Topicals are best for people who are seeking the benefits of cannabis without orally consuming it. It is great for people suffering from skin inflammation and looking to achieve long-term relief for their problems.
INGESTIBLE CANNABIS OILS AND TINCTURES
Perhaps the most popular one among the alternatives to smoking cannabis, CBD oils and tinctures can be consumed directly or added to foods and drinks.
CBD oils are made by mixing cannabis compounds with a carrier oil and are completely safe for oral intake. You can either consume it directly or mix it with your food. This method involves CBD going through the digestive system. It works similarly to cannabis edibles.
CBD oils can be adopted in the form of drops, tablets, and capsules. Since CBD oils are oil-based, they are mixed with butter and are baked into all kinds of epic desserts. Through this method of consumption, the effects are seen in 1 to 2 hours and they last for 6 to 10 hours.
CBD tinctures are made by soaking cannabis compounds in alcohol. They are mostly used sublingually. Through this method, CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream instead of going through the digestive system, as is the case with edibles. This way, CBD metabolizes faster and shows effects quicker. Effects may be visible in 5 to 10 minutes and last for 4 to 6 hours. Another perk of tinctures is that they’re easy to make and are relatively cheap.
Both oils and tinctures have the same benefits. They help with inflammation caused in the body, relieve cancer and arthritis patients of their pain, boost appetite, reduce anxiety and stress, etc.
How to administer dosage in Cannabis Oils and Tinctures?
The important thing to regulate while adopting these alternatives to cannabis smoking is the dosage. In the case of oils and tinctures, dosages can be variable—measured through the built-in dropper.
Oils and tinctures come in a glass bottle with an in-built dropper in the cap. The dropper has markings starting from 1ml. Depending on the strength of the oil or tincture, you should fill the dropper to the recommended level and then consume the extract either sublingually or by adding it to food.
To state an example, let’s say your dosage is 50mg CBD twice a day. If you have 20 ml bottle of 500mg, then each ml will have 500/20=25mg. Therefore, you need to draw 2ml of extract once in the morning and once at night.
Cannabis compounds take their own time to accommodate to the body of the user. Therefore, you may experience some side effects, especially at the beginning. Common side effects of CBD include dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, and nausea.
Smoking and vaping cannabis come with some negative effects and hesitations. However, the booming cannabis industry presents us with a lot of alternatives to choose from. Alternatives to smoking cannabis provide us with healthier, safer ways to adopt cannabis into our lives.
Cannabis edibles and topicals are just broad groups to choose from. Consult a doctor before diving into this array of options so that you can choose the cannabis product that best suits your need.