The benefits of using cannabis are nothing short of incredible. The plant can be used for reducing anxiety, stimulating appetite, treating medical conditions such as glaucoma, and even helping fight cancer. If you’re on a quest toward better health using medical marijuana, also referred to as MMJ, or even if you’re a recreational user, it’s also important to consider the healthiest ways to consume this medicine. To that end, we’ve created a short list of ways you can start cleaning up your high.
Chances are, most of us were first introduced to cannabis by smoking. This is the classic, tried and true method for consuming cannabis, as well as the most culturally prolific representation of “cannabis culture.” Smoking brings on the effects of marijuana quickly, can be easier to dose, and is, for many, an enjoyable experience, or even ritual.
However, smoking also poses health concerns of its own. While many will argue that smoking cannabis isn’t as detrimental as smoking tobacco, that doesn’t mean that “lighting one up” isn’t without health risks, especially concerning the lungs, throat, and mouth.
So, what can you do to clean up your high?
1. Abstain from Butane with Hemp Wicks
The majority of smokers light their herb with the help of a handheld lighter. There’s just something innately satisfying about generating a spark with the flick of a thumb and holding fire in the palm of your hand. The problem here is that this flame is sustained by butane, a gas that has been shown (in research by global energy company Hess) to cause central nervous system issues such as dizziness, drowsiness, and headache.
The solution? Hemp wicks. These natural wicks, made of fibers from the hemp plant, will eliminate those traces of butane in your marijuana smoke, resulting in a cleaner – and tastier – high. I recommend wrapping your hemp wick around your lighter, so you can easily get it – and your herb – lit.
If you want to keep smoking your herb, this is an easy step you can take to prevent inhaling butane. And who wouldn’t want to light their next smoke with the hemp plant itself? Want to grab some hemp wicks? Check at your local smoke shop, or order one online from a popular brand like Raw or Bee Line.
2. Rip the Bong, Not Your Throat!
For those who still want to enjoy the ritual and taste of smoking their herb, a cleaner high can be attained by switching to a water pipe. By using water to filter and cool the smoke, water pipes such as bongs and bubblers result in a smoother, tastier hit. Of course, a huge bong rip might leave you in a coughing fit, but a properly dosed hit won’t be accompanied by a sore throat or that nasty taste of resin that glass pipes commonly give.
Water pipes are more expensive than rolling up or smoking glass pipes, and some bongs can cost a small fortune; but there are plenty of options for every price point (consider a silicon bong if you’re on a budget).
For best results, light up your water pipe with a hemp wick. And if you’re using a bong, I highly recommend filling the chamber with ice to make your hits even cooler and smoother. Again, stop by your local smoke shop to see what kind of glass they have for sale, or shop a popular online retailer like Smoke Cartel.
3. Get Higher with a Vaporizer
If you want that familiar feeling of smoking, as well as the immediate effects, but want to eliminate the smoke altogether, it’s time to consider getting a vaporizer. There are many different types of vapes, but all of them use high temperatures to produce a cannabis-infused vapor that is inhaled.
Some vapes use liquid cartridges, and some, like the Pax Era AYO Freedom, are metered dose inhalers, dispensing a regulated dose each time you take a puff. There are also vaporizers on the market that can be used with flower, such as the iconic “Volcano” from Storz & Bickel.
Vapes are cleaner, more discrete, and can be easier to dose than other methods of “smoking” herb. Be sure to do a bit of research before selecting a vape or cartridge, as lower quality brands may use synthetic cannabinoids or other additives that result in a less-than-healthier alternative.
4. Ditch the Rest, Just Ingest
For those looking to keep their lungs pristine, ingesting cannabis is the best way forward. Of course, cannabis that is ingested will take longer to take effect, whereas smoking brings on a more immediate high. The effects of cannabis can also feel different when ingested, and many report having more of a body high. I personally prefer ingesting cannabis, both for health reasons and a more enjoyable experience overall.
There are plenty of options for ingesting marijuana, such as gummies, cookies, chocolates, and more. Better yet, buying regulated products from a dispensary means you’ll know exactly what you’re ingesting – such as the THC/CBD contents, to the dosage, strains, etc.
Edibles are a delicious way to ingest your cannabis, and with so many options available at dispensaries, like these Good Day Sour Apple CBD gummies, you’re bound to find something you love. If you’re a bit more adventurous in the kitchen and want to get the best bang for your buck (and have complete control over your dosage, flower strain, and ingredients), try making your own Simple Cannabinthusiast Cannabutter.
5. No Frills, Just Relief with Tinctures and Capsules
Tincture oils and capsules are a more straightforward, medicinal method for ingesting cannabis. Just place a dropper full of oil under your tongue, or swallow a more traditional “pill,” and you’re all set. These methods are best for those looking for easy-to-use products with accurate, consistent dosages.
Tincture oils give you the flexibility to add your “dose” to a beverage; you could add a dropper-full to your water bottle and go about your day, slowly administering your medicine as you stay hydrated. On top of that, there are plenty of THC/CBD ratios to experiment with, so be sure to note the effects of each product you try on your overall mood. I’ve benefited greatly from using tincture oils with higher concentrations of CBD – read about How I Eased Social Anxiety with CBD. If you’re looking for a great option, I recommend Wellcana’s CBD 20:1 Mint oil.
My hope in writing this article is that someone out there takes a step back and thinks about their smoking habits. It’s great to have a relationship with the cannabis plant, but it’s even better for that relationship to be as healthy as possible. Try using a hemp wick (they’re very inexpensive), think about upgrading your rig to a water pipe or vaporizer, or consider cutting back on smoking altogether and start ingesting more of your marijuana. I’m sure you’ll feel better, and your lungs will thank you.