Cannabis comes in many forms, from flowers to extracts to transdermal patches. There are so many ways to consume cannabis, finding the best methods for you can be quite a task. Here is a quick breakdown of each type to help you decide which ones are best for you.
Cannabis Flowers (Buds)
Cannnabis flowers are the dense, trichrome-covered, floral bud structure that are found on the cannabis plant. They are the main parts of the plant that contain cannabinoids and terpenes and are typically harvested, dried, trimmed and then cured. Flowers are the most consumed form of cannabis but oddly, they were not the preferred method until after prohibition in the 1930s. Prior, it was most commonly consumed as a tincture. Flowers can be smoked in a joint, blunt, pipe, water-pipe, vaporized and even eaten raw.
Cannabis concentrates, or extracts, contain higher concentrations of medicine due to processes that strip cannabinoids and terpenes from the flowers making them many times more potent than their floral counterpart. Concentrates can be extracted with hydrocarbons like butane, propane or carbon dioxide as well as non-hydrocarbon methods like pressure and water. When they are first stripped, the concentrate is usually in an oily form. Concentrates can be further processed to increase purity and/or potency creating an array of textures and quality.
Cannabis Infused Edibles
Cannabis infused edibles are increasing in popularity as patients begin to understand the processes behind consuming them. Edibles can be far more effective medically and financially. Cannabis that is ingested undergoes a different process in the body than cannabis that is smoked or vaporized. When cananbis enters the digestive system, Delta 9 THC is converted into Delta 11 THC, a much more psychoactive variant that has much longer lasting effects. This is not the case for sublinguals however, that are absorbed 'under the toungue' and mostly never reach the digestive tract. Edibles comes in every conceivable food from these days from luscious desserts, on-the-go candybars, nutritious snack to full on 5 course dinners that can be purchased individually or catered. One major drawback to edibles is the time gap between ingestion and activation (between 45-90 minutes in most cases but as long as 3 hours in some cases) which largely depends on the individual's metabolism. Since edibles are stronger and last longer, consumers should always start with a little. You can eat more but not less.
Cannabis Infused Topicals
Cannabis infused topicals are externally applied salves, oils, sprays, balms and transdermal methods which have been infused with cannabinoids and in some terpenes. They are absorbed transdermally, through the skin, and are applied directly to skin where directed. Unlike other cannabis consumption methods, topicals will not produce any psychoactivity since topicals typically do not breach the blood barrier but rather mostly bind with CB2 receptors throughout your body. This makes topicals an exceptional way to relieve pain, inflammation and other ailments without the psychoactive effects.
Cannabis Vape Pens and Cartridges
Vap Pens have skyrocketed in popularity in the past decade largely due the introduction of e-cigarettes and e-juice vaping. Vaping cannabis the right way can reduce the toxins and carcinogens contained within all smoke. Vaporizers come in many forms such as table-top devices like the Volcano, portable flower and concentrate vaporizers, cartridges, disposable pens and smoking apparatus attachments.
Cannabis Infused Products
Other products have been infused with cannabis as well but do not quite fit under any common category. Suppositories, make-up, band aids and many typical household products are being infused as more ways to include cannabinoids into our daily routines are being developed.