If you’re new to the world of cannabis, navigating all the different strains and consumption options can be overwhelming. It’s not unlike the wonderful world of cheese. Could you imagine never having tried cheese ever in your life?!
Where do you even start?
Do you melt it and dip stuff in it like fondue?
Do you put it between two slices of bread and grill it?
Do you just do it the old-fashioned way and peel off a couple cheese strings?
The good news: now that you’ve made the decision to explore cannabis (Bonus: it’s vegan-friendly and won’t give you gas!) you have a universe of possibilities, adventures and discovery ahead of you. Frankly, we’re jealous.
Enough with the cheese… let’s get down to cannabusiness.
There is a plethora of different ways to consume cannabis. You can smoke cannabis, vaporize it, eat it and even apply it topically. Within each of those categories you have different options as well. Different cannabis consumption methods can produce different effects, and each method comes along with various vessels and accessories. You’ll also want to be cognizant of your cannabis content, including levels of THC and CBD (we’ll cover that in another blog post).
How do you choose the right method for you? Like underwear, cannabis consumption is a matter of personal preference and maybe even some trial and error while you figure out what you like (not everyone is into budgie smugglers – fair enough). This handy guide should help you make a decision about which methods you want to try.
Smoking cannabis is one of the most common forms of consumption and involves lighting and smoking the ground buds (also known as flower or herb). Once the smoke enters your lungs, the cannabinoids enter your bloodstream, producing fast-acting effects.
You can smoke in several different ways, including:
Smoking cannabis in a pipe might be one of the easiest ways to do it. You simply load some ground flower into the bowl of the pipe, hold your lighter flame over the bowl, and inhale.
Pipes come in a dazzling array of designs and shapes. One of the most famous pipes is our Red Eye Glass original colour changing glass pipe which changes colour as you use it. One-hitter pipes are smaller, tube-shaped pipes that allow you to smoke smaller amounts (i.e. only take one ‘hit’).
Also referred to as ‘water pipes’, bongs are similar to regular pipes except the smoking mechanism includes a water-filled base through which the cannabis smoke is filtered. This process cools the smoke as it passes through the water, resulting in a smoother smoking experience.
Like regular pipes, bongs come in many different shapes, sizes and colours with people often displaying them proudly and even giving them names like “Billy Bong Thorton” or “Wesley Pipes”.
Bubblers are essentially a hybrid of the above two pipe varieties. They function similarly to water pipes in that the smoke passes through water for a smoother hit. They’re similar to hand pipes in that they are usually smaller in size than a bong and therefore much more portable.
A joint is ground cannabis rolled inside a rolling paper. Joints can be rolled by hand or with a machine and you can choose from several different types of rolling paper. You can also include a filter if you prefer, which are sold separately and help airflow as well as prevent bits of cannabis from entering your mouth as you inhale.
A spliff is a joint, except it involves mixing the ground cannabis with loose tobacco inside the rolling paper. Combining tobacco and cannabis creates a different smoking experience and feeling than smoking cannabis alone. Those who do not smoke tobacco, however, may not enjoy this method of cannabis consumption.
Blunts are similar to joints except instead of using paper to roll your ground cannabis, you roll it inside a tobacco leaf, much like a cigar. Including tobacco in your cannabis smoking method can produce a different experience as the cannabis mingles with the nicotine in the tobacco leaf.
If you don’t want to roll your own joints or aren’t confident in your rolling abilities, pre-rolled joints (aka ‘pre-rolls’) are an option you might like to try. Many cannabis producers offer pre-rolls as a convenient option, and you can usually choose between different strains. You can also purchase pre-rolled paper cones that you can fill with your own cannabis.
Vaping (short for vaporizing) cannabis is a popular choice among people who do not wish to smoke their cannabis. You can vaporize your cannabis in two different ways: either pack your vaporizer with ground cannabis buds, or use the device to vaporize cannabis oil (concentrate). The vaporizer heats the cannabis just enough to produce a vapor that you inhale through the mouthpiece, instead of burning it to the point of smoking. Pro tip: You can save up your vaporized cannabis to bake edibles and bring out cannabinoids vaporization can’t get to (see below for more on edibles).
Vaporizers, like pipes, come in many different shapes and sizes from large desktop vaping machines, to smaller hand-held vapes and pre-loaded vape cartridges. West Coast Gift vape expert (Brad) recommends the Arizer ArGo and the Puffco Plus vapes.
Dabbing is a popular method for consuming cannabis concentrates, but be warned: concentrates are (you guessed it) much more concentrated than other forms of cannabis. Newer cannabis consumers should proceed with caution because concentrates can have much more potent effects than other forms of cannabis.
Dabbing requires a dab rig or vaporizer pen. A dab rig is similar to a bong, but its cannabis bowl has been switched with a nail or banger for concentrates. The process of dabbing involves first loading your dab onto a tool and heating your nail or banger with a blowtorch or e-nail to the desired temperature. You then ‘dab’ your concentrate into the nail while using a carb cap to restrict the airflow on your rig and inhaling the vapor through the device. If this sounds like another language, you might like to consult an experienced dabber for help.
(Editor’s note: don’t freak out if your sister tells you her 12-year-old can’t stop dabbing. She’s likely referring to the OTHER dabbing—the arm movements sweeping the nation via videos on social media.)
If you would rather eat your cannabis than inhale it into your lungs, proceed with caution. When you smoke or vaporize your cannabis, it’s easy to regulate how much you are consuming, but if you’re eating a cannabis cookie or drinking a cannabis beverage it’s easy to get carried away, ingest too much, and get too high. Everyone has a friend with a horror story about that time they had too many edibles and ended up on the dark side of the moon. Your best bet is to find out the exact contents of the edible (usually listed on the package), start with a very small amount, and then wait a while before consuming more. If you’re making your own edibles, proceed with extreme caution or just leave it up to the experts. As mentioned above, you can also use your vaped cannabis to bake with and create milder edibles.
Cannabis edible options include anything from candies, sodas in all your favourite flavours, baked goods and even teas. These treats are usually made by steeping the cannabis in butter or oil for a while, then removing the cannabis, leaving behind different cannabinoids. The oil or butter is then incorporated into the treat recipe. It’s probably one of the tastiest ways to enjoy cannabis… and yes, cannabis cheese DOES EXIST! Just don’t leave these things unlabelled in the fridge or Nanny is gonna have a turnt time at bingo.
Tinctures and Oils
Cannabis also comes in the form of tinctures and oils, which can be ingested via drops or capsules. These come in various concentrations so make sure you read the labels and talk to an expert before diving in.
Tinctures can come in THC and CBD combinations, which have different effects so be sure to dose appropriately.
Yes, cannabis lubricant and bath bombs are a thing and self-care has never been so exciting! You can also find cannabis lotions and salves, which people use to soothe sore muscles, inflammation and even treat skin conditions. Topicals can come in THC as well as CBD combinations, so talk to an expert about the right option for you.
What’s going to float your cannaboat?
The world of cannabis consumption is vast and glorious. Have fun exploring and finding the method that works best for you, use caution, and be sure to share your adventures with us on Instagram and Facebook!