Cannabis can be:
Smoked , vaporized, or ingested or used topically .
Cannabis users who choose to smoke can do so a variety of different ways. All means of smoking cannabis are intended to immolate (burn) cannabis so that psychoactive chemicals (most notably THC and CBD) can be released as vapour and inhaled (along with smoke) into the lungs of the user. The chemicals in the smoke pass through the alveoli of the lungs and are absorbed into the bloodstream by the capillaries.
The reason users smoke cannabis is because THC vaporizes at a temperature of 300F (CBD vaporizes at 400F and CBN at 415F).
Joints – a “joint” refers to finely cut or ground cannabis encased within a thin rolling paper, most often rolled by hand. Joints remain one of the most popular means of inhaling cannabis and one of the easiest and most portable.
Blunts: A blunt is the slang term given to a cannabis cigar. A blunt is much larger than a joint and is usually shared between two or more people. Blunts are often made with tobacco leaves or hollowed out tobacco cigars. To seal the paper, many smokers use honey for it’s adhesive, but naturally healthy properties.
The word “bong” comes from the thai word baung, which means a hollow, cylindrical tube cut from bamboo. Today, bongs are made out of acrylic plastic, wood, ceramic glass or higher-quality more expensive hand blown borosilicate glass. A bong is a form of pipe that contains a chamber that can be filled with water, so that cannabis smoke can pass through the water, which acts as a filter, before the smoke finally reaches the mouthpiece and can be inhaled. The use of water pipes dates back to China, as far back as the 16th Ming Dynasty!
A bowl is the bowl-shaped part of the bong where ground or cut cannabis is put. It contains a hole at the bottom and may be connected to stem as one piece, as shown here:
Or, as is the case with “glass-on-glass” bongs, a bowl may be tapered at one end, which connects to a separate glass down-stem which, itself, it also tapered to connect to a bong, as shown below. Many higher quality bongs are “glass-on-glass”, as glass connections are preferred due to the fact that rubber o-rings and metal connectors used in less expensive bongs could possibly release chemicals when heated, while glass does not.
In either case, the stem and bowl ensure that cannabis can be placed in a chamber outside the bong and lit and that the smoke travels via an airtight tube, directly into the water. As the smoke passes through the water, tar and water-soluble toxins from the smoke are absorbed by the water, while smoke and vaporized THC/CBD pass through the water (as they are not water soluble) and are inhaled via the wider mouthpiece.
Both metal and glass screens are used to keep the cut/ground cannabis from falling into the water. It is recommended to use glass screens, whenever possible, as they do not release fumes at high heats like many metals do.
Pipes – Pipes are one of the simplest, easiest and ancient methods of ingesting cannabis. Users place cut/ground cannabis in the bowl (round, hollow portion) and inhale through the mouthpiece. A screen is placed in the bowl to prevent the plant matter from being inhaled into the user’s mouth. Screens are made of either metal or glass. The longer the stem of a pipe, the more chance the smoke has to cool down before reaching the lungs. However, as a rule of thumb, patients with respiratory issues or pain should opt for vaporizers or bongs instead.
Vaporizers – While heating cannabis up to 400 degrees is optimal, the average bic lighter has a temperature of over 26,000 degrees! So instead of just turning the THC and other cannabinoids into vapor, a lighter burns the cannabis to smoke and ash.
A vaporizer, however, has a controlled heating element inside through which the user can set the temperature, usually ranging between 370 – 420 F. This achieves the vaporization of THC alone, without the complete immolation of the plant matter.
Vaporized cannabis can be saved up for manufacturing cannabis extracts or for cooking!