Black market, grey market, legal—there is an ongoing explosion of new cannabis products being launched almost every day. How can you know that the products that you’re consuming and smoking are safe and giving you the right high?
First off, cannabis consumption can happen in many forms.
Dabs, shatter, edibles, vaping… your options are endless. You can choose a way of consuming marijuana that hits you fast, that lasts for a long time, that is easier on your lungs, that is more (or less) discreet, and so on.
So, which are the healthiest ways to get high?
The Healthiest Ways to Get High (aka. Skip the Joint)
If you’re looking for a way to get the medical benefits of marijuana without the smoke, edibles are a popular and fun alternative. Just remember that it takes a while (anywhere from half an hour to over an hour) for the effects to kick in, so if you don’t feel it right away, don’t have another brownie just yet—you’re going to regret it when it hits you all at once.
Edibles are also relatively long-lasting (six to eight hours or more), and some medical benefits of edibles include helping you go to sleep and reducing inflammation or chronic pain. Because its effects are so long-lasting—and unpredictable—you’ll definitely want to make sure that you know how much weed is in your edible. Not only because cannabis interacts chemically with different foods in different ways, but also because it interacts with every person differently.
If you don’t look closely enough, you might mistake someone who’s vaping for a smoker. They look pretty similar: inhale through the mouth, exhale through the mouth with a bit of smoke. Like with smoking, the effects from vaping hit you pretty quickly (within a few minutes) and can last anywhere from one to three hours.
However, there’s one big difference. Dr. Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University at Albany-SUNY, has done research that shows that “people who vape see fewer respiratory irritations than those who smoke.”
Also, because you’re not smoking, there’s technically no secondhand smoke—but the people around you will still smell the vapour, so you’ll probably want to be mindful of who you’re vaping around.
Whether you go with a portable vaporizer (the newer ones are looking pretty slick—some could pass for Apple devices) or a bigger tabletop model, you’ll still be heating your cannabis in a chamber where you’ll place your ground herb, oils, or hash.
Some models let you adjust the heat settings (different temperatures will give you different highs), but the whole idea of vaping is to apply enough heat to activate the cannabinoids, but not burn it. Once your weed reaches a certain temperature, its oils turn to vapour. Then, you can inhale this non-smoke substance. “Because the cannabis never really catches on fire, you don’t get those ashy irritants,” says Dr. Earleywine. “There really isn’t a smoke, so much as a mist.”
Remember nicotine patches? Cannabis patches: same idea. They don’t hit your system quite as quickly as inhaling weed (takes about five to 10 minutes), but the effects will last quite a bit longer up to 12 hours. Transdermal patches are relatively easy to dose, and convenient if you need to go to work or school.
Because the cannabis is absorbed through your skin, you don’t have the negative effects of smoking—but you also don’t get the fun (and yummy) aspect of trying different edible treats.
Tinctures and Drops
Tinctures and oils are becoming more and more popular as yet another smoke-free alternative to consuming cannabis.
The difference between tinctures and oils? Tinctures are suspended in alcohol, which means you won’t get that weird unpleasant taste that you can get sometimes when you’re dropping the oil under your tongue. Meaning if you’re in serious pain and you need relief fast, this will do the trick. It takes only a few minutes for your body to absorb the THC into the bloodstream because you don’t have to digest it—it just enters through the membranes in your mouth. Again, no lung damage, no secondhand smoke.
Are edibles healthier than smoking?
If you’re a non-smoker who’d like to take some health precautions (or if you’re a smoker who’d like to stop), edibles are a good alternative to smoking. Like tobacco, marijuana can be smoked, but it’s not exactly safe to do it. There are still carcinogens that cause most of the same harmful effects to your lungs, meaning there isn’t a 100% foolproof way to smoke cannabis safely.
With edibles, on the other hand, you can consume cannabis without any harm to your lungs or your body’s airway passages. The one thing you really have to look out for is the correct dosage—edibles are often labelled inaccurately (or not labelled at all), which makes it difficult for you to know how much weed is in them… which makes it difficult to gauge how much you should consume and the potential effects. If you’re health-conscious, then you’ll also have to take into account the type of edibles you’re having. Is it candy? Chocolate? Brownies? Gummies? Those types of food all have different levels of sugar, carbs, and fat. How are you measuring the “health” of your diet?
Regardless, weed’s rates of addiction are much lower than alcohol and smoking cigarettes (from what we know so far anyway), which may make it “safe” enough for some people. Ultimately, it really just depends on your definition of “safe.”
Top Sites to Read Trusted Reviews (They’re Not Hard to Find)
A key step when you’re searching online for healthy ways of getting high is to look at reviews.
The beauty of the internet is that, for many experiences, there are other people out there who have already tried it—and written about it. Same goes for cannabis.
From trusted review sites like Leafly to forums on cannabis-related subreddits (hint: there are many) to customer testimonials, there is a multitude of ways to find out what other people have said about certain edibles and brands of cannabis.