Are You Looking for Healthier Alternatives to Smoking Cannabis?
Are You Looking for Healthier Alternatives to Smoking Cannabis?
As cannabis consumers continue to trend towards putting down their blunts, bowls, and bongs in lieu of edibles, tinctures, and cannabis-infused drinks, you may find yourself questioning the potential health risks of smoking your cannabis. Combustion as a means of consuming cannabis dates back to the origins of cannabis use, but as more research is published around the health risks of smoking cannabis, more cannabis smokers than ever are putting down their lighters and accepting the — harsh — reality that inhaling any type of smoke probably isn’t the healthiest route. That said, there is a lot of misinformation around the topic, which is why we decided to take a moment to dispel some smoking myths and explore better, potentially healthier alternatives to smoking cannabis.
…But Smoking Cannabis Isn’t as bad as Cigarettes, Right…?
It is time to put this old argument to rest. First and foremost, it is generally accepted by the scientific community that cigarettes are, in no way, healthy. For ages, canna-consumers have quipped the argument of “well, at least I’m not smoking cigarettes…smoking cannabis isn’t as bad as those!” But this is akin to someone making the argument that a sugary drink is better than a candy bar. Ultimately, inhalation of any smoke from combustion isn’t the best choice, especially if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle.
This is based on the fact that smoke, regardless of if it is from cigarettes or cannabis, exposes our bodies to carcinogens [a substance that can cause cancer]. While the old adage of “cannabis smoke not being as bad as cigarettes” may hold some validity based on a study published by the Journal of Harm Reduction, it is often misconstrued. Although the study reports that “cannabis and tobacco smoke are not equally carcinogenic” , it is important to recognize that nowhere do researchers make the claim that cannabis smoke is not carcinogenic. In fact, the researchers explicitly state that “both types of smoke contain carcinogens”  but add that “components of cannabis smoke minimize some carcinogenic pathways.”
So, That’s It? Time to Give up Cannabis?
Not at all! Perhaps it is just time to reconsider your method of consumption. If you’ve spent any time in a licensed cannabis dispensary, you’ve likely seen the numerous intake methods available for canna-consumers. As with most things, each has their own pros and cons, but ultimately, all the alternatives are probably a healthier option when compared to smoking your cannabis.
Edibles have an infamous reputation by cannabis consumers. While most people associate cannabis-infused edibles with sweet treats that typically contain sugar and processed ingredients, there are certainly innovative ways to make your own healthier cannabis edibles. The pros of edibles are typically described as the ability to control your dosage and the ability to remain discreet about your cannabis consumption (canna-edibles usually don’t give off that distinct cannabis aroma). That said, you should be aware that infused edibles do come with some potential pitfalls. Aside from trying to steer clear of empty calories and simple carbs, many first-time edible users fall into the trap of re-dosing too soon because they “don’t feel the effects”. This mistake has almost become a rite of passage for edible users. Edibles, unlike other cannabis intake methods, can take up to a couple of hours post-consumption before the user feels the effects. This “lag” can be further amplified depending on your diet, metabolism, and other genetic factors. The rule of thumb with edibles — and frankly, all cannabis products — is to begin low and slow. This will help you establish your threshold and understand how your body reacts to various dosages.
The jury is still largely out — at least from a research point of view — around the potential health risks of vaping. That being said, there are methods available like dry-herb vapes which allow users to heat raw cannabis flower in a controlled manner, preventing combustion, but allowing the cannabinoids to evaporate and be inhaled. Other methods of vaping utilize concentrated cannabis extracts, which are heated by a vaporizer battery. While vaping has received some bad press in the past, it is important to point out that vaping products purchased in legal and licensed dispensaries should be any consumer’s only source. Black market vapes have no chain of custody which means you have no clue what has been mixed into that black market vape cart nor do you have the ability to review a third-party lab’s certificate of analysis, which allows you to determine if you’re getting what you paid for.
Tinctures usually consist of a liquid filled small glass bottle with a dropper attachment that allows you to control your dosage size in a relatively precise manner. Most cannabis-infused tinctures are simply a carrier oil like MCT with extracted cannabis concentrate mixed in. Users are typically directed to hold their desired dose under their tongue for a few moments before swallowing the tincture. While tinctures are great to keep around your home, they can get a little tricky in terms of carrying the bottle with you everywhere or explaining to others what you’re doing when you’re using them.
Cannabinoids were once viewed as hydrophobic, which means they do not mix well with water. However, this has changed recently with the onset of water-soluble cannabinoids. This movement combined with the fact that more people are giving up alcoholic beverages, social cannabis drinking is quickly becoming the new trend. Drinks like the Violet Butterfly are just one example of the new era of cannabis cocktails.
Social outings are not the only facet of cannabis drinks that have taken off. Many users are now microdosing their cannabis in their smoothies or morning coffee. As if your cannabis intake couldn’t be more convenient than walking around with your water bottle or coffee mug, Koan Cordials, which are available for home delivery, give consumers the ability to precisely dose their cannabis drinks. These cordials, which are available in doses that range from sub-perceptive like the Calm cordial to their Wonder cordial, which is designed to take you as far as you are willing to go, have revolutionized the convenience, predictability, and ease of supplementing your beverages with cannabis.
This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used as medical advice. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, medications, or daily routine. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.