More and more U.S. states are passing laws that allow the use of cannabis, both recreationally and medically. While every state is taking a different approach, casual and recreational cannabis use is on the rise. The medical cannabis industry—legalized in 33 states—is projected to reach $7.3 billion in 2022. Emerging evidence suggests that cannabinoids can treat a variety of ailments, from chronic pain to anxiety. No matter why you choose to start, there’s no shortage of options for ingesting cannabis, from edibles to smoking to vaping. How is it used? Let’s take a closer look.
Recreational Cannabis Use
The main active chemical in cannabis is known as THC. When it’s ingested, the psychoactive ingredient THC passes rapidly through the bloodstream towards other organs, including the brain. Once certain receptors in the brain have been stimulated, it can lead to a feeling of euphoria, or “high.”
Recreational use may result in some of these benefits:
- Lowered inhibitions
- Relaxation and reduced anxiety
- Enhanced sensory perception (food, music, physical touch, etc.)
- Increased creativity
- Boost in energy
- Pleasurable “high” sensation
Medical Cannabis Use
When the plant is used medicinally, it can treat the symptoms of certain diseases or conditions. In some cases, people choose to ingest a form of cannabis without the psychoactive THC.
Medical cannabis is used to treat a number of conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Muscle spasms
- Chron’s disease
How is it Used?
It can be ingested in several ways, including inhalation, topical application, and oral consumption. Depending on your needs and preferences, certain methods might be right for you. Take a look at the following methods of ingestion, including their risks and benefits, to learn more.
There are two ways to inhale cannabis: Smoking and vaping. Smoking involves burning the dry flower and then inhaling the active components, which are released through combustion. Instead of burning the plant, vaporization heats cannabis to a high temperature.
Inhalation delivers the effect to your bloodstream within minutes or even seconds. When it’s inhaled—either through smoking or vaping—the majority of the cannabinoids enter directly into the bloodstream.
Through inhalation, it’s easy to measure your dose and avoid using too much.
Cannabis can also be taken orally through edibles, capsules, oils, or tinctures. Through oral consumption, it typically takes between thirty minutes to an hour before the effects are felt. However, the total duration of the effects can last longer than through inhalation.
Another way to use it is through topical creams, lotions, salves, and oils. The skin then absorbs the product into the bloodstream. This application process works best for medical use, particularly when it’s used to ease pain and inflammation.
The Bottom Line
Whether it’s taken medically or recreationally, cannabis is used for a variety of physical benefits, including treatments for a wide range of conditions. Certain application types work better for different people, depending on your needs, habits, and preferences. Be sure to consult your doctor or a cannabis expert before you proceed.