For us veteran stoners, out minds are likely already made up about what method of cannabis consumption we prefer. But for those new to the cannabis scene, the cannabis industry has now gotten sophisticated enough that the galaxy of bewildering choices can be intimidating. Hence, we’re going to catch up on some basic guides around here for those just joining us.
Old “old school veteran” stoner now represents a small part of the cannabis market. Here’s a recent survey of the California market, for instance:
First off, over half the cannabis market is now female. Surprised, anyone? Moreover, of the total cannabis consumer market, roughly 40% are married and raising children in the home. The majority are in the labor force.
What does this tell us? Cannabis has to fit into a whole lifestyle for a lot of users. Weed isn’t just for college-age dormies vegging in their own funk with no plans for the weekend. The modern cannabis user balances weed use with being a parent and professional, and enjoying an active lifestyle.
That factor informs your choice of cannabis consumption. So we ask the time-honored canonical blog question: “Which one is right for you?”
- – So easy a caveman can do it
- – Fast effects kick in
- – Bong rips get you really high
- – Least healthy consumption method
- – It reeks!
- – Harsh on the lungs
Smoking cannabis, whether by bong, pipe, blunt, or joint, is the time-honored way to consume cannabis. On the plus side, nothing quite feels as satisfying as a good, solid bong rip. Smoking is simple, takes almost no skill, and gets you buzzing right away. It’s also one of the cheapest ways to consume.
The downsides are everything else. Smoke particles get in your lungs and can cause health concerns just as bad as cigarette smoking. The smell is impossible to cover up, so you’d better be living in circumstances tolerant to usage. The pungent smoke gets in your hair, clothes, upholstery, etc. Also, cleaning out a bong has got to be one of the nastiest chores in all drugdom.
- – Even higher highs
- – Healthier consumption method
- – Purest way to taste cannabis essence
- – Super efficient
- – Takes skill
- – Burn hazard
- – High maintenance
- – Expensive
Dabbing is where you take a cannabis extract and heat it up to a temperature where it vaporizes, but doesn’t burn. Dabbing was seldom practiced pre-legalization, but has exploded in popularity in the 21st century. And dabbing gets you a more pure cannabis experience, removing all that plant matter you would be smoking to focus on the pure cannabinoids and terpenes. It is the gourmet way to consume, hands down, and the aristocratic way to use weed.
The biggest downside is that it takes a lot of skill and practice to get dabbing right. Erigs to automate this process help, but are pricey. Live resin cannabis concentrate is expensive too. Using the quartz banger method, you’re waving a torch around and liable to touch a glowing hot banger accidentally. Finally, dabbing is a maintenance hassle, making for residue build-up that’s hard to clean. Dabbing is not for klutzes. If it weren’t for the technical factors we’d see a lot more dabbers.
- – Dead simple
- – Widely available
- – Discreet
- – Decent effect kick-in time
- – Possibly more damaging than smoking
- – Unreliable sources
- – Lowest buzz factor
- – Terrible artificial candy flavors
Vaping was virtually unheard-of until the turn of the century, and then it exploded in popularity. Every town in America seems to be spouting a vape shop on the corner, and then there seems to be vapes for sale in every gas station. Vaping is super-discreet, with the vapor dissipating instantly with nearly no trace. And like smoking and dabbing, you begin to feel the effects of vaping relatively quickly. Vapes are designed to be disposable, so the maintenance is nil.
But the downsides make me wonder why vaping is still a thing at all. First off, out of all the cannabis consumption methods, this is the only one with actual casualties when people were dying of VAPI. A vape cartridge, even from the best source, is an oil vial of mystery. The substance inside bears little resemblance to cannabis material and tastes like inhaling burning sugar thanks to the diabetes flavor palette of vapes. The vape industry is shot through and through with fake carts, counterfeits, mislabeling, dilution, shady companies, ineffective regulation and just about zero trust from anybody who’s an expert. Worst of all, the very best vape cartridge in the world won’t get you as high as a toke off some mids in a bong. Vapes are the skid row bum of weed.
- – The ultimate being discreet
- – Effects last longer
- – Perfect for medical / therapeutic purposes
- – Consistent results per individual
- – Widely available
- – Huge variety of products
- – Wildly varying results from one individual to another
- – Nobody likes the waiting game
- – Sketchy reliability
Before legalization, edibles extended to a tray of homemade pot brownies. Since legalization, we’ve seen edibles explode in popularity and sophistication. You can buy ready-made cannabis-infused treats from cookies to gummy candies to infused beverages, including beer and coffee. Recently I tried a honey-powder mix to use as an additive for tea and coffee, and it was great! Edibles leave no sign that you’re using cannabis, making it the ultimate discreet way to consume. Furthermore, the buzz lasts longer and is felt deeper. As long as you’re one of the lucky few with a digestive system that processes it correctly, an edible buzz is reliable and consistent every time. Finally, it’s easy to get the precise dose for medical and therapeutic users.
The main downside is that edibles don’t work for everyone. There are individual variations in how your liver processes edibles, so if they don’t work for you, you’re out of luck! Others are at the other end of the scale where edibles are too strong except in tiny mouse bites. The other downside of edibles is that they take a while to kick in. And, like their vape counterparts, they’re sometimes seen in gas stations with sketchy reputations. All in all, edibles almost beat out the competition for overall convenience.
Variable factors in your lifestyle will determine which cannabis consumption method is right for you. These include the legality of weed where you live, your living companions and how they feel about weed, the presence of children in the household, and so on. For example, I’d think twice about maintaining a dab rig with a curious toddler around.
If you have complete flexibility, it’s down to personal preference. For a new cannabis user, I’d recommend trying smoking first and then edibles, maybe exploring dabbing if you want an upgrade or turning to vaping if you’re desperate for options.
That’s the state of things today; hope for a better tomorrow with full legalization and full regulation. Readers, what lifestyle factors impact your cannabis consumption methods? Share here in the comments or in our dank forum.