A Beginners Guide To Using Cannabis
As medical cannabis becomes an increasingly popular option for patients and other therapeutic users, one persistent question has become more common: what’s the best way to take it? Many people new to cannabis don’t know what do to with it once it arrives. The methods of consumption have always been diverse and versatile depending on dosage, preference, and intended effect, and as the userbase for cannabis grows, some basic facts and techniques should become more available and well-known to first-time buyers. In an effort to help you on your journey, here are some essentials for how to prepare and consume cannabis.
Methods of Consumption
Inhalation of the dried flowering portion of the plant or extracts/ concentrates by heating up the substance.
Cannabis oil commonly in spray or bottle dropper format with effects that can be long-lasting.
Capsules are a discreet and dose-controlled method of ingesting cannabis.
Topicals are oils, salves and butters that are applied to the skin and absorbed transdermally which are meant for therapeutic use and typically do not get a user intoxicated.
Edibles are any foods, candies, baked goods, or drinks that contain cannabis that can be ingested. Effects take longer to be kick in but are longer lasting than smoking/vaping.
STEP 1: PREPARATION
Smoking the flower, whether in a pipe, a rolled joint, a vaporizer, a bong, or some other inhalation device is the most recognizable and efficient technique. Preparation and usage might not be as simple as other methods: the flower will need to be ground to the right size, packed (whether into a pipe or rolling papers), and lit, though using a pipe or a bowl is the simplest way to get started. For the new legal product category of concentrates like shatter, wax, oil, BHO, rosin, etc. there are some tools you will need to “dab” (flash vaporization) like a water pipe and torch among other things. For a complete list of tools and how-to see this article on Leafly.
Edibles are also a perennial favourite, particularly for those who may not be used to the distinct flavours of cannabis and prefer a discreet way to take their dosage. The options are practically limitless — everything from the old standby brownie or cookie to more recent developments like gummies and chocolates — and it’s often a fun way to treat yourself (in both senses of the term). Try these recipes. For ready made edibles, that product category will be available late 2019 in the Canadian market with upcoming changes in legislation. One edible that is currently available in the market right now is capsules and is the easiest and most predictable consumption method. Capsules are filled with cannabis oil that has a precise dose, so one can expect similar results each time. They are also odorless, tasteless, and discreet. Cannabis oil via a bottle dropper is also available, an easy option to take sublingually or use for making your own edibles in baking, cooking, etc.
STEP 2: CONSUMPTION
Choosing raw cannabis in smokable form will allow users to more easily parcel out and negotiate the precise amount to take, and the availability of different strains will be at its broadest. It’s also the most instantaneous and direct: it only takes a moment after inhalation to begin to feel the effects, will hit a peak within half an hour, and typically takes anywhere from one to three hours to fade. However, this method is not recommended for patients with lung or immune system issues.
Edibles are far easier to consume, but the downside is the notorious unpredictability of the effect’s onset, and you’ll need to get the dosage just right (though regulations do make it clear on all legal-market products). Depending on metabolism and other factors that go with food consumption — such as whether it’s taken on an empty stomach — it can take anywhere from 15 to 120 minutes for the benefits to take effect, and you should never be tempted to take another one if the onset takes a while. While the effects last longer than smoking or other methods, the time-delayed nature of it means it’s not recommended if you need to feel it immediately. You might also want to lean towards pill form if you want to keep your dosage consistent and predictable.
Topicals require no preparation by the consumer. Once allowed in late 2019, topicals will be one of the easiest methods of using cannabis. Consumption is as easy as rubbing the topical into the skin paying particular attention to areas of soreness or pain.
Other methods like tinctures and dabs are better suited for experienced users. Just start simply, with a knowledgeable guide if possible, and don’t feel tempted to overdo it if the effects don’t fully kick in soon enough.
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