Not everyone enjoys smoking their medical cannabis, and thankfully there are several alternative options now for those that prefer a different approach. These additional options are especially beneficial for those with compromised lung health who aren’t able to smoke but still want to reap the many benefits medical cannabis has to offer. Below you’ll find the six major alternatives to smoking, and we’re confident there’s something for everyone! As always, remember to consume responsibly and do not operate any heavy machinery during or after use.
Edibles are one of the more popular alternatives to smoking, and one that’s easy for anyone to enjoy. Dispensaries typically offer a wide range of cannabis-infused food and drinks including:
- Herbal teas
- Citrus-flavored sodas
- Fruit-flavored gummies
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans or berries
- Beef jerky
- Candy and suckers
Typically any food or drink that can be infused with oil or butter can be adapted to include medical cannabis. There are even recipes available for how to do this at home. However, if you choose to make your own edibles it is important to be very careful with the dosing.
When trying edibles, it’s important to remember that the way your body processes the THC will be different than how it’s processed when you smoke. Those who make edibles recommend starting with doses no larger than 2.5 milligrams and increasing as needed from there. You can always take more, but you can’t really “un-eat” the edibles if you’ve taken too much.
While this is probably the most similar option to traditional smoking, vaporizing medical cannabis is still vastly different in many ways. The chemical compounds in cannabis require a much lower temperature to vaporize than to smoke, and as such, can be enjoyed this way without the burning sensation or lung irritation. As an added benefit, vaporized cannabis doesn’t carry the same smokey smell that tends to sink into hair, clothes, and skin, which may make vaporizing it a more pleasant experience for some. Vaporizers come in a multitude of sizes and options ranging from large table-top options with advanced temperature settings to smaller hand-held options that are portable so you can take your medical cannabis with you wherever you go.
Another similar, but still different option to smoking, is dabbing, which works by flash-vaporizing the cannabis. This is done by dropping medical cannabis concentrates onto a heated water-pipe attachment that resembles a glass or metallic nail. This nail is heated using a butane torch, which may sound daunting, but is actually a preferred method of consumption by those who learn how to do it. It is especially useful for those that need a fast-acting, higher dose for intense pain or extreme nausea.
While it’s not something we’d recommend for first-time consumers, it may be an option to explore in the future because it offers a very pure and potent cannabis experience. By reducing the cannabis concentrates to hash oil, you effectively eliminate the combustible plant material that isn’t necessary for you to benefit from the THC. With this method of consumption, it is highly recommended that you only purchase products that have been lab-tested to avoid potential contaminants.
Ingestible oils are essentially a cannabis concentrate to be taken orally. Most commonly, they take the form of capsules that can be ingested or added to your food or drink. Generally, any of the ingestible forms of medical cannabis will be slower to act but can have a more powerful effect, so caution should be taken, especially when trying for the first time.
Tinctures are cannabis-infused liquids that are applied directly under the tongue. The cannabis compounds have been extracted using an alcohol soak, and as such, get absorbed immediately into the bloodstream. Although tinctures may appear similar to ingestible oils or infused foods, they are quite different and should be used with caution due to their fast-acting capabilities.
Tinctures are typically available at dispensaries in a wide array of flavors, potencies, and profiles, which means they are an excellent choice for those looking to customize their cannabis to fit their specific medical needs.
Medical cannabis can also be infused into lotions, balms, creams, and gels, which are then applied directly to the skin. These topical applications are especially helpful for localized relief from pain, inflammation, and soreness. Additionally, it is an effective way to get the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects, if that’s something you’re looking to avoid. Care should be taken to avoid any ingredients to which you may be sensitive or allergic.