The continuing expansion of medical marijuana laws has meant that many people who have never had experience with using cannabis are looking for safe and effective ways to get the therapeutic effects. We will look at some safer ways to use cannabis so that whichever method you prefer you do it in the safest possible way.
The traditional way to consume marijuana is to smoke it in a cigarette, pipe or using a water filtering method like a bong. There are two areas of concern with these methods. The first is the smoke that is generated in burning the cigarette that the cannabis is in. This is similar in content to cigarette smoke and as such has similar effects on people that smoke marijuana cigarettes or other similar devices. Medical users generally smoke cannabis products much less often than cigarette smokers but there are no safe levels of smoking so this needs to be considered. The second problem is the lighting device used to fire the cigarette, pipe or bong. Lighters and in particular butane lighters can generate toxic fumes and should be avoided.
An alternative method is to use a vaporizer. These devices use a heating element to heat the marijuana to a temperature that vaporizes the THC and other cannabinols allowing them to be inhaled. They do not burn the plant material so no smoke and very little carbon monoxide is produced. This is a much healthier and more effective way to get the active ingredients into your lungs and metabolized without the chemicals contained in smoke and the carbon monoxide from the burning process.
The large market that vaporizers can potentially be supplied to has seen many models introduced with a large variability in their effectiveness. The main problems are, poorly controlled or designed heating elements and the use of low quality and plastic parts in the heated areas that may give off toxic fumes. Some units use a butane fueled heating elements instead of electrical elements. This can lead to a person inhaling butane directly, which is dangerous and can cause severe health consequences.
An alternative to inhalation is to eat food products that contain cannabis. There is a large range and they are easily transportable and can be used in places where you would not be able to smoke or vaporize marijuana. Edible cannabis products have two drawbacks. The first is that they can take some time to begin having an effect, where inhalation is almost instantaneous. The second is that the product is metabolized in a different way it is absorbed through the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. It then passes through the liver which changes the form of the THC which is one of the main active substances in the cannabis.
The changed THC can in some cases be more or less effective than THC that is inhaled and in most cases there needs to be a larger dose consumed for a similar effect. The positive is that the effect is usually much longer lasting.