Marijuana 101: How should you consume cannabis?

Too many options? We break down cannabis consumption so you don’t have to.

Marijuana has changed. If you’ve never consumed cannabis or you’re just returning after legalization, the landscape might look very different. Legal dispensaries are clean, safe, and welcoming. You don’t have to purchase marijuana from a friend, and you aren’t limited to a few choices. With so many cannabis companies releasing new products all the time, the sheer amount of variety can be overwhelming your first time in a cannabis store. Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.

Smoking Flower: How strong is too strong?

You’ll hear a lot of people talk about the difference between marijuana in the 60’s and marijuana now. Marijuana in the 60’s and 70’s was just 1% THC. That means THC accounted for just 1% of the smokable plant by weight. That number has increased, and today’s marijuana plants average a THC percentage of 15 – 17. That’s a 1700% increase.

If you’re just getting back into smoking flower, take it slow.

A good way to start your journey is with a lower THC, higher CBD flower. Strains like Harlequin and AC/DC are commonly used to treat pain because they have a higher CBD and lower THC content. Strains that are engineered to produce higher CBD can help reduce the chance of negative side-effects like paranoia and anxiety. That makes them great when you’re easing back into smoking.

Choose outdoor flower instead of hydroponic flower. Outdoor grown marijuana provides a two-fold benefit to new and returning smokers: it’s cheaper and less potent. Outdoor crops command lower prices because the growing conditions aren’t optimal. Plants are exposed and their potency is dependant on the growing conditions at the time. This exposure reduces the potency of the flower, which makes it easier to pace yourself and avoid smoking too much.

Consuming Concentrates: Skip the combustion.

Marijuana is much safer than cigarettes, but you’re still inhaling smoke. Breathing in hot burning plant matter isn’t good for your body no matter how you look at it. Concentrates are just what they sound like. Marijuana is processed in order to extract the CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. The final product can be vaporized and inhaled, skipping the combustion and making consumption safer overall.

You have different options for concentrate consumption.

  • Concentrate pens: These come in two different varieties. You can buy concentrate cartridges that attach to a separate “battery”. The battery is rechargeable and vaporizes the concentrate in the cartridge. You can also purchase all-in-one disposable vape pens that are meant to be thrown away once you’re done.
  • Dabbing: Dabbing is definitely an advanced form of smoking. You’ll need a dab rig in order to do it. Dabbing involves super-heating concentrated THC distillates like wax and shatter.
  • Eat it: There is a cross-over between concentrates and edibles. You can purchase THC and CBD isolates (powders) as well as liquid vials. These can be eaten plain or used in cooking. You may need to separate out a dose by the mili or microgram level if you don’t want to add it to food before you consume it.

Eating Edibles: Tasty treats and more.

Edibles have come a long way. You aren’t restricted to brownies anymore. One of the biggest benefits of edibles is that there isn’t any smoking required. This is great for patients who have trouble swallowing or cannot smoke for medical reasons. Recreational users will also love how discrete edibles are. Modern packaging mimics candy, energy bars, and soda-pop. You can even purchase cannabis tea.

Make sure you give edibles time to kick in. Digesting activated THC takes time. If you’ve already got a full stomach, the typical 45-minute wait can extend to 90 minutes or longer. Edibles typically produce a full-body experience no matter what strain was used in the baking process. Just make sure you play it safe: give yourself room between activities, make sure you know how edibles affect you, and have some pure CBD handy in case the edibles are too intense.

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