Cannabis joint
Although smoking cannabis is popular, it's not the most efficient way to consume.

Smoking is one of the most common ways to consume cannabis. But, at this point, most people know that smoking is a bad habit and can be detrimental to health.

Even though cannabis smoking has yet to demonstrate the same carcinogenic effects as tobacco, burning and inhaling the herb can cause inflammation and both visible and microscopic damage to the large airways of your lungs.

This damage can cause symptoms of bronchitis, though research suggests that these airways heal and symptoms go away once you stop smoking.

Still, if you don’t want to smoke cannabis, what other options are available? Here’s the scoop on eight common cannabis consumption methods.

I don’t want to smoke pot. What are my other options?

Those new to cannabis may be surprised to learn that the herb has come a long way since its cultural reawakening the 60s and 70s. Thanks to technology and education, there are several ways to safely consume the herb that do not involve burning plant material.

Some of these innovative methods include:

#1) Vaporization

Inhaled cannabis is by far one of the fastest ways to feel the relieving and mood-boosting effects of cannabis. When inhaled, the effects begin within seconds. Full effects are often achieved within 15 minutes to a half an hour.

Vaporization is a safe alternative to cannabis smoking.

Mandee vaporizing cannabis
Vaporizing cannabis is quickly becoming a go-to option for many people.

Vaporizers are tools that you can buy online or in various smoke shops, dispensaries, and related stores.

Unlike smoking, in which a consumer combusts plant material with fire and high heat, vaporization relies on lower temperatures to gently melt waxy cannabis resin and transform it into a steam vapor.

This prevents plant material from burning, which in turn prevents the release of potentially carcinogenic compounds like benzene (benzene is a byproduct of burning plant matter).

Once you've had a little practice with vaporizing cannabis, the right device will actually allow you to experiment with temperature levels for more nuanced control over your experience.

If you don't have temperature control on your vape device, that's probobably okay. And if you can adjust the setting, here is a general temperature guide:

  • Mild and mellow experience: 290 to 330°F (143-165℃)
  • Average experience: 331 to 370°F (166-188℃)
  • Heavy-hitting experience: 371 to 445°F (189-229℃)

#2) Sublingual

Another way to get fast-acting relief with cannabis is through sublingual application. In sublingual application, cannabis products are placed under the tongue and rubbed onto the insides of the cheeks, so that it can absorbed into the oral mucosal.

mother giving child cannabis
This plant continues to change and save lives all over the world.

Many dispensaries and cannabis access points now offer sublingual sprays. In several countries, a sublingual spray containing pharmaceutical-grade cannabis compounds is now available for patients with multiple sclerosis by prescription.

Many companies that market cannabidiol (CBD) products online also have sublingual options. CBD is a non-psychotropic cannabis compound that does not cause a “high.”

Medical cannabis oils sold in oral syringes can also be placed directly under the tongue and rubbed inside the cheek for sublingual application.  

#3) Oral and edible  

If you don’t want to smoke cannabis then oral capsules and cannabis-infused foods and drinks are additional options.

edible cannabis
Edible cannabis has very different effects compared to smoking or vaping.

Oral capsules are often filled with cannabis oil extracts.

Cannabis-infused foods can contain medicated butter and oils, as well as cannabis extracts, isolates, or concentrates.

When taking oral cannabis, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Edible cannabis produces effects that are significantly stronger than inhaling the herb. This means that dosage becomes of the utmost importance.

For a very general guide, here is how edible cannabis is often dosed:

  • Microdose: 1 - 2.5 milligrams of THC
  • Low dose: 3 - 5 milligrams of THC
  • Average dose: 5 to 10 milligrams of THC
  • High dose: 15 milligrams of THC and above

While cannabis is non-toxic and it is impossible to fatally overdose from the herb, eating too much of an edible is a surefire route to a bad time.

Not only do edibles provide a powerful psychoactive experience, but they also produce strong body sedation and last around six hours or longer.

When over-consumed, edibles can cause paranoia, anxiety, and significant drowsiness. If you’ve consumed too much oral cannabis, one of the best solutions is to head to bed to sleep off the experience.

Some experienced medical cannabis consumers can consume substantially more than 15 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per serving. THC is the primary psychoactive in cannabis.

However, to reach these doses, many consumers need to first build up a tolerance to the compound by starting with lower doses and working up over several days or weeks.

Deciding your prefered dosage amount will require guidance and a little practice.

#4) Tincture

Cannabis tinctures can be used sublingually or added into normal food stuffs. Tinctures are solutions of cannabis compounds that are dissolved into alcohol. Sometimes tinctures can also be made with vegetable glycerine, coconut oil, or olive oil (at which point they're technically an elixir).

Dosage for cannabis tinctures is similar to those listed for edible cannabis above. For precise dosage, follow the package directions for your individual product.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: How to Avoid Bad Medical Cannabis Products

If your product does not have clear dosing instructions on the label, you may want on consider or more responsible manufacturer.

#5) Topical

Topical cannabis is by far one of the most underrated ways of using cannabis. Topicals are cannabis-infused balms, lotions, salves, creams, and oils.

Cannabis has been used as a topical treatments for wounds, burns, and other ailments for millenia.

The primary active compounds in the herb, called cannabinoids, are a bit too bulky to successfully sink deeply into the skin. Yet, they are potent antioxidants and can help reduce surface area pain and inflammation, as well as protect skin cells from damage.

Cannabinoids, however, are not the only beneficial compounds in the cannabis plant.

Terpenes, the aroma molecules that give the herb its unique scent, can also be highly therapeutic for the skin.

Terpenes, unlike cannabinoids, are small enough to deeply penetrate the skin -- like an essential oil.

It’s the combination of these beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids that make cannabis a valuable topical remedy.

And because the cannabinoids don't cross the blood-brain barrier with topical cannabis, there is zero psychoactivity and no risk of failing a drug test.

#6) Transdermal

Technology has enabled cannabis compounds to deeply penetrate the skin via transdermal patches.

Transdermal patches are similar to the Icy-Hot patches available in drug stores, only the ones discussed here are cannabis-infused.

Already, at least one pharmaceutical company is interested in investigating the transdermal potential of cannabis medicines.

In many medical cannabis states, transdermal patches infused with THC and other cannabinoids are available for purchase.

However, more research is needed to discover when transdermal patches are effective and when they are not.

#7) Raw dietary cannabis

You don’t have to consume psychoactive cannabis to reap the wellness benefits of the plant.

Fan leaves and fresh flowers taken directly off of the live cannabis plant can be used like any other vegetable.

They can be thrown into smoothies, transformed into green juice, and tossed into salads.

juicing cannabis
If you've got the plant material, juicing cannabis is a very healthy practice.

Raw dietary cannabis refers to plant material that has not been dried or heated.

In this raw form, the plant is not psychoactive. It is only when cannabis is dried, aged, and heated that its psychoactive potential is unleashed.

#8) Dabbing

Many cannabis newbies might have heard the term “dabbing” when referring to cannabis. Dabbing is the act of smoking extracted cannabis concentrates (which are extra potent).

Unless these cannabis concentrates are heated to low temperatures by a vaporizer, dabbing is essentially smoking. Only instead of burning plant material, you combust cannabis oil by heating it at very high temperatures and inhaling.

Dabbing is often seen as “cleaner” than smoking cannabis flower, as there is no ashy resin from burned plant material.

However, heating cannabis oil to extremely high temperatures (often over 500℉/260℃ and higher) is still very irritating to the soft tissues of the lungs. If you’re hoping to avoid the irritation from smoking, dabbing is not the best consumption method to choose.

And while some patients do require extra high doses of cannabis, this method is not recommended for beginners.

Want to learn more about cannabis? Green Flower has a free broadcast with cannabis experts every week! Click here to see what's coming up.

Do you prefer smoking cannabis?

Do you prefer smoking cannabis?

yes - smoking cannabis is great
no - i prefer a different method
i don't use cannabis