How to Consume Cannabis Without Smoking
Marijuana is quickly becoming mainstream in America. With many states allowing cannabis products in a variety of situations, we as a society are growing to accept that the marijuana industry is here to stay. As research continues to reveal more information, more and more people are beginning to understand the extensive benefits of cannabis.
Smoking By the Numbers
Because cannabis is only legal in Florida if recommended by a qualifying physician, a prescription (referred to as a recommendation or open order) is necessary to obtain any form. Many people are finding that their recommended cannabis products help them with conditions ranging from chronic pain or nausea from chemotherapy to PTSD. Though, despite its growing legality and evidence of its efficacy, only 12% of Americans admit to smoking marijuana.
This avoidance could exist for a variety of reasons, but the point remains that many people see the act of smoking as undesirable. Meanwhile, cannabis truly is a useful resource to manage illness without turning to addictive prescription drugs such as opiates or narcotics. So, what happens if you don’t like to smoke? Fortunately, cannabis comes in a variety of forms, and there are smoke-free ways to consume cannabis for those who would rather not light up.
Is Smoking Marijuana Dangerous?
Before we dive into alternative options, it is worth discussing why you may be looking for new methods to consume cannabis. While smoking cannabis is not necessarily considered dangerous, there are many factors to consider. Smoking or inhaling anything aside from clean air may put at least a temporary strain on your respiratory system. However, when you receive a recommendation for medical marijuana, you should feel comfortable knowing that your physician believes that consuming cannabis in the suggested form is safe for you. It is always best to discuss any concerns you may have regarding the way you consume cannabis with your physician.
For many people who pursue other forms of cannabis, alternatives to smoking provide variety and give them options for relief in multiple forms. Some find that non-smoking methods are more effective for their ailments, and others simply don’t like the smell of marijuana smoke. Similarly, some medical marijuana users wish to be discreet about their usage, and the smell of marijuana smoke makes it hard to do so. In general, there are a variety of reasons to seek out smokeless options that have nothing to do with the overall safety of smoking marijuana. It’s generally worth knowing how to use marijuana without smoking it, even if you don’t mind lighting up occasionally.
Edible Marijuana Products
One of the most popular methods for consuming cannabis without smoking is eating edibles. These products are eaten like any other food, but they contain CBD and/or THC, which provides the benefits of smoking medical marijuana without the actual smoke. The best-known type of edible is the infamous “pot brownie,” which certainly is an option.
With the advent of medical dispensaries and growing cannabis research, it’s easy to buy premade edibles of all kinds. Edibles are a truly effective option for many people, and the options are endless when it comes to products. From beverages to baked goods to candy, edibles come in all shapes and sizes. Here at MÜV, we are partial to Soft Chews.
Pros of Edibles
- You can easily separate it into doses. Unlike smoking, edibles make it easy to control how much THC or CBD you are ingesting. This gives lots of MMJ patients peace of mind and allows each individual to only use the amount needed.
- Edibles don’t smell. For many people, the smell of marijuana smoke is undesirable. Whether you’d rather your neighbors be none the wiser to your alternative medicine or the odor simply is off-putting to you, it’s relatively common to pursue edibles to avoid the smoke.
- The effects last longer. Because the THC and CBD are absorbed through the digestive system, the effects take longer to wear off. This means that you can get up to 6-8 hours of relief from just one edible.
- No damage. You don’t have to be concerned about smoke damage to your property or irritation to your lungs when you are eating cannabis edibles.
Cons of Edibles
- They take longer to kick in. Smoking gives users an instant high, but edibles do not. In fact, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for your body to process the product. If you need instant relief, edibles may not be the best option.
- The psychoactive effects can be stronger. You may find that you feel more of an intense “high” when using edibles as compared to smoking marijuana. It’s a good thing to be aware of before you choose to make the switch. Remember to always start low with your dose and go slow when adding more!
Topical Cannabis Products
Using cannabis topically is a wonderful option for those who suffer from chronic pain. Topicals are body products that are infused with CBD and THC. They’re applied directly to a painful area and relieve the pain by binding to your body’s cannabinoid receptors. This allows you to target what really hurts and get fast relief from your pain. Common uses for topicals include cramps, aches, inflammation, headaches, and psoriasis.
Pros and Cons of Topicals
- Pro: Centralized treatment. Topicals allow you to pinpoint problem areas and relieve pain in specific spots. This means you’re only using what you need without compromising on relief.
- Pro: No psychoactive elements. Topical products do not give you the “high” feeling that other cannabis products do. This makes them great for people who have pain or inflammation but want to stay focused and clear-headed.
- Con: Centralized treatment. Though centralized treatment is listed as a pro, it can be considered a con as well, depending on how you approach your pain management. If you want more comprehensive pain relief, or if you have pain in many areas of your body, it helps to have THC in your system rather than on the skin. With topicals, the THC can only help the area on which it’s applied.
Tinctures are made in many forms, and it’s likely you’ve come across one at some point. When it comes to cannabis, producers infuse the cannabis plant or concentrated THC/CBD oil in a solvent, primarily ethanol (alcohol) or MCT oil, until it makes a concentrated liquid. This liquid is taken under the tongue and takes effect in minutes. Tinctures are dosed using a dropper, though some can be found in portable and discreet spray bottles, much like a breath spray.
The effects of cannabis tinctures ultimately depend on the strain of cannabis used, so you can choose a tincture that does exactly what you’d like it to. CBD-heavy tinctures are common for anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory benefits. THC tinctures can work as an aid for panic attacks, PTSD, and in managing chronic pain. Tinctures are one of the best products for individuals who rely on the psychoactive element of cannabis and want a fast-acting product.
Pros of Tinctures
- They take effect in minutes. If you need fast relief, tinctures are a great way to achieve that. Because they’re taken sublingually, tinctures are absorbed into the bloodstream in minutes and begin working as soon as 30 minutes after consuming.
- They’re easy to dose. Because tinctures are taken through droppers, it’s easy to control how much cannabis you’re consuming.
- They’re versatile. If you aren’t looking for fast relief, it’s easy to put MÜV EnCaps™ Tinctures into a beverage and sip slowly. When taken this way, you’ll see effects in about 30-90 minutes.
Cons of Tinctures
- They can have an off-putting taste. Because they’re so concentrated, tinctures can have a bitter taste that many people don’t expect. This can generally be remedied with a drink of water or juice after taking a tincture sublingually. And, in the case of alcohol-based tinctures, those in recovery should avoid this method.
- Homemade tinctures can be inconsistent. If you make the tincture yourself with your medical marijuana flower, it’s possible for the dose to vary from batch to batch. If you rely on consistency, it’s best to buy the tincture directly from a medical marijuana dispensary.
Ingestible Cannabis Oils
Cannabis has a very distinct flavor, which can be a problem for some people. If you are sensitive to the taste of cannabis, ingestible oils are a great smokeless option to try. Ingestible oils are very concentrated forms of cannabinoids and most commonly come in syringes. These oils most commonly occur in distillate, an activated form of THC, and RSO, a full-spectrum extract containing all components of the cannabis plant. You can consume marijuana oil by directly ingesting your desired dose, either on its own or with a cracker or piece of chocolate, adding it into a capsule, or use it to infuse food. For those who need daily medical marijuana to treat a condition, pre-loading cannabis oil into capsules is a great solution.
Pros of Ingestible Oils
- It’s easy to take. This method does not require any extra equipment or expertise. It’s as easy as taking a vitamin.
- It’s versatile. If you’d rather take the oil sublingually one day or infused into food the next, you can manipulate the oil on a whim.
Cons of Ingestible Oils
- They take a while to kick in. Similar to edibles, ingestible oils work through the digestive tract. This means that the THC has a long way to go before finding your cannabinoid receptors and having an effect. If you need fast relief, ingestible oils are not the right method.
- You may have some residual taste. It’s not pleasant to discuss, but it’s common to get a taste of the cannabis oil when you burp after taking them. Similar to a fish oil tablet, there’s a chance you’ll get a small taste throughout the day. For those who hate the taste of cannabis, this is still generally a good trade-off to eating it or putting it under the tongue.
Cannabis suppositories are an interesting option and one that few people realize is available and necessary for conditions. For those who experience painful menstruation, menopause, or are suffering from vaginismus or endometriosis, vaginal pain can be a constant presence. Cannabis suppositories can help to provide localized pain relief without compromising the rest of the body and can relax the pelvic muscles to reduce cramping, pain, and involuntary stress on the muscles. There is a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the vagina and using a cannabis suppository is like applying a topical treatment directly to those receptors. You get fast, natural relief from a variety of issues without the high.
Pros and Cons of Suppositories
- Localized relief for a variety of vaginal and pelvic issues.
- No psychoactive element. You won’t feel a typical high, meaning the relief can be used anytime.
- All of the medical properties of cannabis are absorbed into your bloodstream through the vagina rather than being digested through the gastrointestinal tract.
- Not ideal for all genders. While suppositories can certainly be used anally, they generally have a stronger effect when used vaginally.
Vape devices heat cannabis oil to the point of vaporization. The vapor that is omitted is nearly odorless and is more effectively transferred to the cannabinoid receptors throughout the respiratory system.
Pros of Vaping
- It’s accessible. Vape technology has become very popular in recent years, meaning you have a lot of options to choose from at a variety of price points.
- It’s portable. Vape pens fit easily in your pocket and don’t require an excessive amount of equipment, making them accessible anytime you need them.
Cons of Vaping
- It still affects the respiratory system. If you have sensitive lungs or do not wish to inhale cannabis in any form, vaping is not for you.
- They’re battery-powered. Though this power method makes them incredibly portable, they do need recharging or replacement, whereas other methods forgo electronics altogether.
Take a Personalized Approach To Cannabis With MÜV Florida
The bottom line with any cannabis product is that what works for some may not work for others. The trick is to find a combination of methods that work for your unique needs and preferences. Always consult your physician about trying any new cannabis methods to be sure that you’re staying as safe and healthy as possible.
For all your medical marijuana needs, look no further than MÜV Florida. With locations all around the state, no other medical cannabis dispensary has the resources and the knowledge that we provide. Visit our website to explore our products and to find a dispensary near you.
Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.