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7 Ways to Consume Cannabis Without Smoking

In popular culture, cannabis consumption is often synonymous with smoking. Marijuana use tends to bring to mind a pipe, a bong, or — most likely — the archetypal “joint.” But smoking isn’t for everyone.

Some people have cardiopulmonary conditions that preclude them from smoking, it’s not always the most discrete or convenient way to consume cannabis, and especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, many people might want to not take any risks with their lungs. 

Furthermore, many people, especially older folk, associate traditional pills, capsules, and tablets as the way treatment is given. They prefer that method, and have difficulty associating smoking as medicinal. Even when that’s the case, there’s an option for everybody!

Here are several other methods for consuming cannabis — without smoking. 

Edibles 

From the iconic “pot brownie” to THC-infused gummies and lemonades, edibles (“medibles”) are a potent and powerful way to consume cannabis without smoking. Learn more about how to make edibles. Just make sure to start low and go slow!

A woman baking brownies
(Alexander Egizarov/123rf)

Pills, capsules, and tablets 

Medical cannabis pills, capsules, and tablets allow for precise dosing, without the calories or cooking of edibles. A traditional way of taking medication, it is often an attractive option for those who view medicinal marijuana with skepticism and abhor the idea of smoking. Talk to your doctor or budtender about what might be right for you.

Taking a pill
(Elvira Koneva/123rf)

Powder

Cannabis powder is a form of powdered THC that can be easily dissolved in water much like a sports supplement. Precise, easy, and has a much quicker onset than traditional edibles. 

Transdermal Patches 

Transdermal patches allow cannabinoids to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Good for extended release, they can be removed if side effects occur.

transdermal delivery
(Shutterstock)

Vapes 

Vaping heats up cannabis to a level that releases cannabinoids and other compounds into the air, producing a vapor which is then inhaled. There is no smoke, it’s more discreet and easier on the lungs, and can accommodate a wide range of products including oils, resin, and concentrates.

Woman vaping marijuana
Woman vaping marijuana (Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance)

Tinctures 

A cannabis tincture is a concentrated extract made by soaking the flowers and/or leaves in a solvent like alcohol. Very discreet, it allows for precise dosing down to a single drop. Learn how to make your own tincture.

Microdosing cannabis tincture

Cannabis Topicals

Applied directly to the skin, cannabis balms, gels, salves and lotions can be used to treat pain, muscle aches and more. They do have a much lower bioavailability than other methods of ingestion, and should not produce a psychotropic effect.

Topical application medical cannabis
(Hendazi Pechan/Shutterstock)

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