For many uses, burning is sure to come to mind first. However, cannabis can also be used in many other ways. There are differences between the different uses in terms of effects, disadvantages and benefits.
The most common use is the burning of dried inflorescences or various concentrates such as hashish.
When burned, the active substances are absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream, with the effects starting almost immediately and lastinging about 1 to 4 hours. A dose of about 2 to 3 mg of THC is sufficient for an inexperienced user to produce effects.
Smoke from incineration contains carcinogens and PAHs that are harmful to health. Because burning is known to be harmful to the respiratory system, many users today prefer other uses.
Cannabis can also be used by steaming, which is accomplished with a device called a vaporizer .
With the vaporizer, the plant material or concentrates can be heated to the desired temperature so that the active compounds evaporate without a combustion reaction. Temperatures are much lower than during incineration and significantly less harmful compounds are produced .
Also, the evaporation effect will start quickly, usually within a few minutes, and last for about 1 to 4 hours.
By eating or drinking
Cannabis can be used to make a wide variety of edible and drinkable products to be eaten through the stomach, such as pastries, biscuits, candies, and alcoholic and soft drinks.
Many of the active compounds in hemp are fat-soluble. Plant material should be treated with grease or oil to release the compounds.
A very traditional way is to make cannabutter, or cannabis butter. It can be used in cooking and baking like normal butter. Liquid products are made by dissolving plant material in strong alcohol.
The advantage of edible and drinkable products is their long shelf life. When ingested through the stomach, the effects last for about 4 to 12 hours, which is many times longer than, for example, when burned. This is an advantage especially for drug users who do not want to be constantly taking a new dose.
However, with edible cannabis products, one should be patient, proceed calmly and in small doses.
By eating, the effects do not begin until about 30 minutes to 2 hours. The effects when ingested through the stomach are much stronger than when used in other ways! THC is metabolized in the liver to a different chemical (11-OH-THC) that is many times stronger than the original.
Excessive doses can cause unpleasant conditions such as anxiety and fear. For an inexperienced user, a dose of about 5 to 20 mg of THC is sufficient to produce an effect.
Liquid products and oils can be used under the tongue by dissolving. The active compounds of cannabis are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes.
Products used under the tongue are especially popular with drug users, as dosing is easy and the effects begin much faster than through the stomach.
This method is effective and suitable for users who want a quick effect but do not want to burn.
As creams to be applied to the skin
Cannabis can also be used to make ointments, fats and ointments for application to the skin that have no narcotic effects at all. In this way, for example, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids can be exploited by applying the ointment directly to the sore spot.
This method is suitable for users who are interested in the medical benefits of cannabis but do not want to experience the narcotic effects.
Intravenous cannabis is not used. The active compounds of cannabis are fat-soluble, making their intravenous use almost impossible.