The Right and Wrong Ways of inhaling Cannabis
You may be wasting money! If you’re not inhaling your cannabis correctly, you are shorting yourself on the experience and burning through your money.
Long ago, when my cousin introduced me to smoking pot, he would laugh at my smoking “style.” I held the joint like cigarette between index and middle fingers. I puffed away and flicked ashes here and there. When I didn’t notice the psychic trip I expected, I asked him how I would know when I was high.
He said, “Of, you’re high.” When I asked how he knew, he said, “Because you won’t shut up!”
I was ready for another hit shortly after the first, pretty much like the pace at which I would smoke cigarettes. But, he stopped me, told me to wait, and taught me the right and wrong ways of inhaling cannabis.
The right ways to inhale cannabis
The various cannabis forums recommend smoking this way and that. So, there may not be one way to inhale correctly. Everybody has a different take on the habit. But, let’s remember what you are looking for. Marijuana works through the lungs, so you want it to spend some time there.
But, lungs may not be the big balloons you picture inflating and deflating as you breathe. Their purpose is to take oxygen in and remove carbon dioxide as a waste product. This process is called “gas exchange.”
More specifically, according to WebMD.com, “ The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). The trachea (windpipe) conducts inhaled air into the lungs through its tubular branches, called bronchi. The bronchi then divide into smaller and smaller branches (bronchioles), finally becoming microscopic.” The air then travels into air sacks called “alveoli” where it is absorbed into the blood.
This whole respiratory process is governed by the diaphragm, a large muscle under the lungs. As you inhale, the diaphragm contracts to create a vacuum that the inhaled air fills. When you exhale, the process reverses itself.
Now, the brain tells its systems to resist foreign substances. But, since cannabinoids have a place in the brain’s workings, it welcomes them. But, since the lungs’ anatomy can’t handle more than it wants, if your intake is too big, it will only flow into the trachea, nose, and mouth.
It calls for you to smoke more conscientiously than smoking a cigarette. So, it’s not something you pick up right from the beginning.
- Start with a deep breath of fresh air.
- Slowly inhale enough marijuana smoke to fill your lungs about two-thirds full.
- With the smoke in your lungs, take in some fresh air to top it off and fill the lungs.
- You want to inhale deeply to reach through the spongy texture of the lungs.
- Wait several minutes between your puffs.
Alex, at CannabisTutorials.com, recommends inhaling “with a simple 4-2-4 rhythm. Inhale deep for four seconds, pause briefly for two, and exhale mildly for four.” The point being that you want to use rhythm and fresh air to push the smoke deep into the lungs. Holding the smoke in your lungs does not increase the high.
The wrong ways to smoke cannabis
THC and the best stuff in cannabis leach into the blood system in milliseconds. So, sucking in a big toke and holding it for a while really wastes the product.
- It’s a mistake to smoke the joint like a cigar which you do not inhale. It is more like cigarette smoking where you do inhale. The difference is that extra deliberate intake of fresh air that drives the smoke down into the lungs.
- Since you are taking your time to smoke it correctly, you want to be sure the spliff does not burn up. It’s better to relight the stick than to see it turn to ash.
- Do not moisten the tip too much with your lips. There is product throughout the joint, so keep it dry because you may save the unused debris.
- First-timers risk going too far. Thinking that they won’t get high on their first try, they go out of their way to get high. But, veterans still recommend patience and pacing.
- You need to know what to expect from your cannabis strain. Indicas and Sativas do not act the same way. If you want to heavy psychological hit, you want Sativas. It you want mellow and relaxed, you go for Indica. So, if you are smoking as Indica, you won’t get that “bad” high. So, don’t be tempted to chase it with more tokes.
- A poor quality lighter or cheap sulfur matches can ruin your taste. Cheap butane includes toxins that affect taste, aroma, and the whole respiratory experience.
- Coughing is not really your friend. It does not confirm your high, nor does it prove you have quality weed. It really means your stuff is burning too hot because that irritates your throat and bronchi.
- If you’re smoking through a bong, you must pay attention to the carb. If you don’t cover that little hole on the side, the smoke won’t build up. You uncover it after you light up and, then, inhale.
- If you are using a bowl, you want to use well-stored, well ground stuff. If you just pack the bowl tightly with product, you will prevent the necessary air circulation through the weed.
- Blunts bind your cannabis in tobacco lead rolling papers. There’s enough nicotine to foul the taste of the grass and to addict you to the tobacco. So, while smoking straight up or through pipes, bongs, and vapers is the preferred mode of intake, you might prefer edibles to blunts.
Cannabis costs money, and you deserve the best experience you can afford. But, smoking it incorrectly wastes product and cheapens your experience. So, it literally pays you to learn how to smoke correctly.Recreational and Medical Marijuana News, Articles and Information: The Right and Wrong Ways of inhaling Cannabis
Is There a Safer Way to Smoke Cannabis? How the Methods Stack Up
If you’re looking for the healthiest way to smoke cannabis, keep in mind that there’s no totally safe way to do so — even with the purest, most pesticide-free bud. Cannabis smoke contains most of the same toxins and carcinogens that make tobacco smoke harmful to your health.
There are, however, methods that may be slightly less harmful than others. Here’s a look at how different methods compare, plus some smoke-free alternatives to consider.
The dangers of smoke inhalation are well known, so it’s not surprising that a lot of folks assume vaping is the healthier alternative to smoking. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
There’s mounting evidence that vaping can have serious health effects. Much of the concern comes from inhaling vitamin E acetate, a chemical additive found in many vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
However, this risk seems to apply only to vaping concentrates, not flower. A 2006 study suggests that vaping actual cannabis, not concentrate, is less harmful to your respiratory system than smoking. Still, research on vaping cannabis is pretty limited.
Lung health aside, there’s also a matter of potency. People who vape cannabis report experiencing stronger effects — regardless of the amount of THC in the product — than they do when smoking. This means a higher chance of overdoing it, or greening out, when vaping.
Maybe a teeny, tiny bit, but nowhere near enough to make a difference.
Bongs offer a smoother toke because you don’t get the dry heat from smoking cannabis rolled in paper. Though it feels less harsh when you inhale, your lungs don’t know the difference.
Well, both still involve inhaling smoke, so there’s that. But if you had to choose the lesser of two evils, joints are probably the better option. This is because blunts are made with hollowed-out cigars, and cigars and their wrappers are highly toxic.
Even after removing all the tobacco from a cigar, cancer-causing toxins, such as nitrosamines, can remain. Plus, cigar wrappers are more porous than rolling papers, so the burning is less complete. This results in smoke with high concentrations of toxins.
Then there’s the matter of size. Blunts are a lot bigger than joints, and they hold way more pot. Smoking an entire blunt is like smoking roughly six joints.
Dabbing is supposed to give you a “cleaner” high, but what does that actually mean? Not much.
Budder — another name for dabs or marijuana concentrate — delivers a lot more THC than other weed products, often as much as 80 percent more.
Dabbing is still pretty new, so experts still don’t know the full impact.
There’s evidence that exposure to high THC may lead to long-term mental health effects, like psychosis. The risk of misuse and addiction is also higher when using high-THC products, especially for young people.
Plus, unless you have high-tech lab equipment and are trained in extraction, your dabs may be far from pure. Research shows that dabs can contain contaminants and residual solvents that can to neurotoxicity and cardiotoxicity.
Dabbing also has respiratory effects, even though you’re not technically “smoking.” There have been cases of people developing lung damage from dabbing.
The bad news? There’s no safe way to smoke cannabis. The good news? There are plenty of other ways to consume it.
Here are your main options:
- Edibles. Unlike smoking and vaping, ingesting cannabis won’t harm your lung health. The downside for some is that edibles take longer to kick in because they need to clear your digestive system before getting into your bloodstream. The upside is that the effects also hang around longer. You also have an endless variety to choose from, with everything from gummies to baked goods to cannabutter.
- Sublinguals. These are usually lumped together with edibles, but they’re not quite the same. Unlike edibles, you don’t actually swallow sublingual forms of cannabis, which include things like tinctures, films, and dissolvable tablets. Sublingual cannabis is placed under the tongue for absorption, and is absorbed through your mouth’s mucus membranes, so the effects are felt faster.
- Tinctures. Tinctures are made of alcohol-based cannabis extracts that come in bottles with droppers. You can add tinctures to drinks, but you can also get the effects faster by placing a few drops — depending on your desired dose — under your tongue.
- Topicals. Cannabis topicals are for people looking for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the cerebral effects. Creams, balms, and patches can be applied to the skin to relieve inflammation and pain. There’s also cannabis lubricant made for, well, sexy time.
- Suppositories. The idea of shoving cannabis up your butt (or vagina, depending on the product) may make you clench, but it’s definitely a thing. Most of the suppositories on the market are CBD-infused and used for therapeutic reasons, like pain or nausea relief, but some brands have upped their THC content for added effects.
If you’d still rather smoke your weed despite the risks, consider these harm-reduction tips to help make it a little safer:
- Don’t hold the inhale. Inhaling deeply and holding it in exposes your lungs to more tar per breath. Don’t be greedy; exhaling faster is better for you.
- Use rolling papers approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rolling papers may seem like NBD, but some contain chemicals and flavorings that can be toxic.
- Stick to glass bongs and pipes. Plastic bongs can contain chemicals like BPA and phthalates, which have been linked to serious health effects, including cancer.
- Keep your stuff clean. Keep your bongs and pipes clean, and don’t roll your weed on dirty surfaces.
- Don’t share mouthpieces or pass joints. Sharing your stash is fine, but not your pipes, bongs, or joints. When you share these, you’re basically swapping spit with that person and putting yourself at risk for infections.
No matter how you dice it, there’s really no safe way to smoke cannabis, whether you prefer to roll one up or are partial to bongs. As cannabis becomes more popular, so do products that allow you to indulge without the smoke.
That said, if you’re partial to puffing and passing, a vaporizer that allows you to use flower, not concentrates, may be a less harmful option.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddleboard.You can smoke cannabis in a variety of ways, but is one safer or healthier than others? ]]>