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The Pros and Cons of Different Cannabis Ingestion Methods

Whether you are a recreational or a medical cannabis user, different cannabis ingestion methods each come with its own pros and cons.

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Pinkleberry x Blackdog at High Water Farms. PHOTO | M J Rockwell
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We are living in the modern marijuana age, let us rejoice. There are more cannabis ingestion methods than ever before, hooray! Whether you want to get silly stoned, or just relieve soreness in the body, there is an ingestion method to match, and each comes with its own pros and cons.

Smoking

Roll a joint, smoke a bowl or load a chillum, am I right?

Pros

The pros of smoking are easily recognized. When you smoke pot, you get high, quick. The effects are felt within a few minutes and can last for a few hours, depending on the strain and the user’s tolerance. It is easy, it is quick and it is efficient.

Cons

The cons are also pretty obvious. When you smoke weed you are utilizing combustion, which is the process of burning something. Inhaling any combusted material can take a toll on your lungs causing coughing and irritation, but smoking cannabis is in no way equivocal to smoking cigarettes. In fact, in one scientific study, researchers stated, “Any attempt to try to equate cigarettes and cannabis exactly is probably a fool’s errand.”

Another quick point about smoking weed — you’re gonna have to change your shirt or everyone is gonna know you just got high. That could be a pro or a con, depending on whether you live in a legal state or not.

Vaping

Vaping can be via a pre-loaded vape pen cartridge or by loading oil or a concentrate into an empty vape pen.

Pros

The pros of vaping have been heralded by researchers. When you vape cannabis you are ingesting much more of the plants cannabinoids than when you smoke. You also inhale far less of the other, potentially harmful compounds that you ingest when you choose to smoke. For these reasons, vaping is considered to be a more healthy way to consume marijuana.

Vaping is also practically odorless and any smell that may be produced does not linger or cling to the user’s clothing. Discreet.

Cons

The cons of vaping are limited really. If you are using a preloaded pen you could run out of battery, making use of the pen and the cannabis oil within impossible. It is entirely frustrating to pull your vape pen out in a time of need and have a dead battery.

If you are using a vape pen that requires you to load a concentrate, that can be a little messy. It is more difficult to achieve while on the go and requires you to use dab tools to prevent any loss of product or sticky fingers.

Also, you need to be aware of buying low-grade concentrates made with dodgy oils.

Dabbing

Dabbing isn’t new, but it is the most recent of the methods to come onto the scene.

Pros

Dabbing concentrates allows the user to experience cannabis in an extremely potent way. Concentrates are, well, a powerfully concentrated version of the cannabis flower. Through various processes, depending on the concentrate, cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the plant. The result is a robust and fiercely packed substance that, when exposed to extremely high temperatures during dabbing, produces an almost instant, intense high.

Cons

Dabbing is not for everyone. When a cannabis patient needs high doses of cannabis in order to feel relief, dabbing can be a lifesaver. However,  if someone who has a low tolerance takes a dab, it can be an overwhelming and unpleasant experience. The inexperienced dabber can find themselves coughing, a lot, falling down, passing out… Definitely work your way up to dabbing, because the newcomer is not built for it.

Edibles

Edible cannabis comes in a variety of forms and concentrations.

Pros

Consuming a cannabis-infused edible is one of the most discreet ways to consume. There is no smell, and you can find anything from infused gummies to infused pizza. You can even choose the amount of cannabis you want to consume because commercially produced edibles are labeled according to the amount of milligrams per item. You can consume a 50 mg edible or a 5 mg edible, depending on your preference. The high produced from an edible can last for hours, which many users consider a BIG pro.

Cons

Because edible cannabis is digested, it is not absorbed in the lungs like smoked, vaped or dabbed cannabis. It takes quite a bit longer for edible cannabis to take effect. In fact, it can take 30 minutes to an hour – which can be a major con.

It is also possible to consume a bit too much of an edible, resulting in the consumer just passing out, missing the effects altogether.

Overuse of edibles has been vilified in the media and has even been used as an excuse for suicide and even murder.

Transdermals and Topicals

Transdermal cannabis use is non-invasive and can be achieved with infused lotions, oils or patches. Got an aching back?

Pros

Transdermal use is totally discreet. Lotions and oils infused with cannabis and rubbed on the skin will not show up on a drug test (but patches will, so beware). Applied to sore muscles, used for tension headaches and arthritis, transdermal use can be used to spot treat your aches and pains. Transdermal patches can be applied directly to problem areas but is also effective when placed anywhere on the skin. It requires no inhalation and has no calories. Also, for those that are looking for a consumption method that does not produce a mental high at all – transdermal use is ideal.

Cons

You will need a significant amount of cannabis-infused lotion or oil to feel the full effects, and they can be expensive. Lotions and oils will need to be rubbed in with each application, so transdermal use requires a bit more TLC than other options. Otherwise, there are not really many (or any) cons to transdermal use, as long as you are looking for a more subtle relief.

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Cannabis

Everything You Need to Know If You’re New to Dabbing

Dabbing is an ideal ingestion method best for those that have a high tolerance to cannabis or patients that need a quick, controlled dose of cannabis.

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Dabbing
PHOTO roxxyphotos

Dabbing is an ideal ingestion method best for those that have a high tolerance to cannabis or for medical users that need a quick, concentrated and controlled dose of cannabis. However, it can be confusing, even for long-time pot smokers. In fact, unless you’ve done it, seen it, or read up on it, dabbing can be a total mystery.

Dabbing is a relatively new way to consume cannabis and it is has become very popular in recent years despite rumors that it is dangerous.  It is a highly concentrated experience, with THC at levels much more elevated than most regular flower you would encounter in a joint.  For patients, dabbing can be a very effective way to dose because the effects hit the user very quickly and can typically be measured more easily. For those with a high tolerance for cannabis, dabbing can be a way of feeling the effects of pot with more potency.

Before you can get into dabbing, you need to know a little about cannabis concentrates and extracts. Shatter, budder, wax, crumble, pull and snap, and hash oil are a few of the most popular types of cannabis concentrates and extracts. Extracts and concentrates are named so because they are products of a process where THC and other cannabinoids are extracted from the flower. Sometimes, during the extraction process, a solvent (like alcohol or butane) can be used and other times a solvent is not used. Either way, the final product is a smaller, stickier package that packs a powerful punch.

The Dabbing Process

Keep in mind that nails and domes can get incredibly hot. Like, RED hot, literally. Do not underestimate the heat that can occur — be cautious to prevent any burns.

First, you will need something to dab. We have heard the recommendation more than once to keep away from alcohol-based extracts when dabbing. Consult your budtender about this one, or just skip alcohol based-extracts — your call. There are a lot of concentrates and extracts to choose from, enjoy the hunt for your perfect pick.

Next you need something to dab out of. You can purchase a dab rig or just convert an existing glass water pipe with glass dab attachments. You are also going to need a titanium, ceramic, quartz or electronic nail that fits the glass dab attachment you are using. A typical nail is going to require the use of a dome in order to trap the vapor before it dissipates into the air. A dome can be as simple as a glass piece that fits over the reservoir where the extract or concentrate is vaporizing.

Get your dabber ready. A dabber is a tool that is ceramic, metal, glass, that is used to place the dab, or concentrate/extract, on the super-hot nail.

Lastly, unless you are using an electronic nail or e-mail, you will need a mini torch. Some less patient dabbers will use a full-on, propane-fueled torch in order to more quickly heat their nails — experiment at your own risk. In case the dab is a little overwhelming for you and your body, the safest place for you to be is sitting down to avoid any falls.

Turn on your e-nail OR use your torch to heat your nail until it is red-hot. Allow it cool for at least 10 seconds (for titanium) and up to 45 seconds if you are using ceramic or quartz nail.

Once cooled, use your dabber to place your concentrated dab on the nail. Place the dome over the nail as you inhale. Then, exhale. Victory!

If you weren’t already sitting down, you probably will be now!

Take these words of advice to heart — start small. If you haven’t tried dabbing at all before, don’t make your very first dab a large one. You won’t regret taking a small dab, but you might regret taking one that is too big. Always ask your budtender any questions you have about your purchase and if the product you are buying is the best thing you can buy for dabbing, vaporizing, smoking, etc.

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Cannabis

10 Couch-Lock Cannabis Strains to Help You Stay Home

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PHOTO | Sunset Sherbert

COVID-19 has changed the world as we knew it. For the foreseeable future, we all have to do our bit and stay home to try and flatten the curve and prevent the virus from spreading further. But it’s not all bad news. Try to think of this time to stay home and reset. Why not start that project you’ve been putting of, or earn a new language? Maybe rearrange all the furniture in your house and alphabetize your record collection. Then, once that’s finished, sink into your couch and enjoy one of these iconic couch-lock cannabis strains while you binge on Tiger King.

Afghani

Named after its geographic origin, Afghani grows in the Hindu mountains, where cannabis was first discovered over 1000 years ago. Afghani delivers a deeply relaxing,mood-boosting high, perfect if you have issues with insomnia, chronic pain and stress disorders.

Buy seeds from sensiseeds.com

Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)

A potent mix of an OG Kush x Durban Poison x Cherry Kush mother backcrossed with a prime-looking OG Kush father created Girl Scout Cookies. The winner of multiple Cannabis Cups and packing a powerful 28% THC, GSC is possibly one of the best Northern California strains of all time.

Buy seeds from homegrowncannabisco.com

Granddaddy Purple

Delivering a THC level between 17-27%, Granddaddy Purple is not a strain to take lightly. If you’re looking for a mental and body high that will feel like you are floating euphorically, as well as being great for easing pain and relaxing muscles, this distinctively fruity tasting strain is for you.

Buy seeds from seedking.com

G-13

Perhaps one of the most notorious cultivars out there, the legend of G-13 is that it is an escapee from a breeding experiment funded by the U.S. government. With 22-24% THC level potential, G-13 provides a couch-locking feeling of euphoria.

Buy seeds from pacificseedbank.com

Northern Lights

Multiple award wins have solidified Northern Lights as another classic indica strain.  THC levels range from 16-26% and promise a mellow and pacifying high.

Buy seeds from seedsman.com

OG Kush

World-renown for its potency and distinct flavour, the legendary OG Kush needs to introduction. Tokers will enjoy equally intense body and head highs from around 20% THC levels.

Buy seeds from royalqueenseeds.com

Superglue

Superglue brings calming relaxation to the mind and body while leaving you functional and energetic enough for social activities or a productive afternoon.

Buy seeds from cannaconnection.com

Sunset Sherbert

Mario Guzman aka Mr. Sherbinski grows some of the finest cannabis you’ll ever smoke. Stress and tension will melt away as a full-body high creeps, delivering a deep physical relaxation.

Buy seeds from homegrowncannabisco.com

Super Skunk

Super Skunk delivers a notoriously powerful body high thanks to a THC content of 20% or higher. Consumers can expect a whole-body relaxation that kicks stress to the curb and will have you in full couch-lock mode.

Buy seeds from homegrowncannabisco.com

Triple Cheese

Known to consistently reach 22% THC or higher, Triple Cheese by world-renowned breeder Barney’s Farm offers Cheese lovers a very enjoyable high and a unique terpene profile.

Buy seeds from barneysfarm.com

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Cannabis

Borneol: The Terpene That Can Improve Your Heart & Gut Health

This terpene Borneol offers many health benefits, including improved digestion (via the stimulation of gastric juices) and better blood circulation.

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Borneol
PHOTO | Jesse Barney

Of the 20,000 aromatic molecules called terpenes found throughout nature, roughly 200 have been discovered in the cannabis herb. As an aggregate, the most common health efficacies offered by cannabis-derived terpenes are reduced systemic inflammation, anti-cancer properties, and analgesic (pain-killing) benefits. The terpene Borneol emits an odor involving scents of camphor, earth, and menthol; its scent is sometimes described as “herbal minty.” It is found in many plants other than cannabis, including camphor, mint, and rosemary. It is a natural insect repellent and is utilized industrially in the manufacture of perfumes and colognes.

Borneol is not extremely common in cannabis. Strains of cannabis offering more significant amounts of this terpene include Hazes and K-13.

The Details of Borneol

This terpene offers many health benefits, including improved digestion (via the stimulation of gastric juices) and better blood circulation. It also effectively treats bronchial symptoms to improve lung function and ease breathing (helpful for sufferers of bronchitis and asthma). Like many of its sibling terpenes, it has been found to reduce anxiety.

Borneol also assists in the healing of wounds. Historically, it has been incorporated into topical treatments for such applications, including the treatment of hemorrhoids. Combined with other terpenes that convey sedative qualities — such as myrcene and linalool — the terpene can effectively combat insomnia. It is also antibacterial and antiseptic.

Borneol exemplifies the dynamics of the entourage effect, a theory that cannabinoids and terpenes work together, synergistically, to offer particular therapeutic and medicinal benefits to humans via supplementation of the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS). Borneol amplifies the permeability of the blood/brain barrier, allowing other molecules and compounds to more efficiently bind with specialized receptors in the brain and central nervous system.

When isolated, it can act as an irritant to eyes, skin, and the respiratory system. As a good demonstration of the impact of accurate and strategic titration (dosing), at large doses, it is extremely toxic and harmful if swallowed. A “probable lethal dose” is 50-500 mg/kg of body weight, which equates to between only a teaspoon and an ounce for a 150-pound human.

The Research

Multiple studies have demonstrated the wide-ranging medicinal efficacy of the terpene, including its pronounced role as an anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, and cancer killer.

A 2017 study entitled “Terpenes from Forests and Human Health” and published in the journal Toxicological Research investigated how borneol reduced inflammation of the lungs. Concluded the researchers, “Borneol alleviated acute lung inflammation by reducing inflammatory infiltration, histopathological changes, and cytokine production.”

A 2013 study published in the journal PLOS ONE and entitled “Natural Borneol, a Monoterpenoid Compound, Potentiates Selenocystine-induced Apoptosis in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells” revealed the anti-cancer properties of this terpene.

The study’s researchers concluded, “Borneol effectively synergized with SeC to reduce cancer cell growth through the triggering apoptotic cell death. These results reveal that borneol strongly potentiates SeC-induced apoptosis in cancer cells by enhancement of cellular uptake. Borneol could be further developed as a chemosensitizer of SeC in treatment of human cancers.”

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