smoking pot

Smoking vs Vaping Part II


Dispensaries sell dried flower ready to smoke using multiple devices, which are also available for purchase at most dispensaries.  It is sold by the gram, quarter, or full ounce..  Most dispensaries have a cap on the amount of cannabis that may be purchased at a time.

The flower is then ground up or broken up and placed into a device for smoking - a pipe, a bong, and many other devices with heating elements are used for this purpose.  Usually a grinder is used like a blender is for liquids, except the grinder grates the flower to an herb-like consistency (think basil used for cooking). 


Some dispensaries also sell cannabis flowers in prerolled “joints”.  These are like tiny cigarettes with a paper filter on the end for lighting.  One joint can be used for multiple hits of medication. Most people do not smoke the entire thing.,  When it is used as medication, the advantage here is that the cannabis is delivered quickly (for pain alleviation) and it can be titrated - meaning you can smoke in small doses and evaluate the effect with each puff. This keeps the patient from overmedicating.


What Is The Difference Between Hash and Kief?


The leaves and stems of cannabis flowers are not required for medicating.  Cannabinoid rich trichomes can be extracted to be used alone in a stronger product.  Kief and hash are two products made when trichomes are removed from the leaves. 

So - you can smoke the buds/flowers as described in my first blog, or you can choose to smoke the more concentrated leaves and stems to access a different array of cannabinoid chemicals.


Trichome extraction can be done via several methods. The oldest technique is to place the dried and cured cannabis buds in a container, cover the container with a fine mesh screen and then shake it repeatedly so the trichomes fall of the leaves of the plant through the screen


Once collected, the trichomes without the leaves are called kief.  This can be vaporized or smoked by itself.  It can also be used to make butter for edibles.  Some people even sprinkle it on top of the flower and smoke it as an additive to increase potency.



What Tools Do You Need To Smoke Cannabis?


Smoking marijuana simply means to light the plant on fire, inhale the burned chemicals, allow the chemicals to pass from the air in your lungs to the blood in your lungs, and then exhale.  The cannabinoids then race from the blood in your lungs out into your body.  You do not need to hold your breath for as long as possible is a myth and may cause harm to the lungs. 


Cannabinoids pass into the lung tissue very quickly, and holding the smoke for long periods allows unneeded tar and toxins to absorb into the lung tissue where it can cause damage.  Three to five seconds of cannabis smoke in your lungs is all the time that is needed for effective transfer of the THC into your bloodstream




I discussed preroll in part one of this blog sequence.  Pipes are an easy way for beginners to smoke marijuana.  These pipes can be made from wood, glass, stone, and more.  Apples and other fruit have been used as devices to smoke pot. 


Longer pipes made of high quality glass allow for adequate cooling of the smoke..  The smaller the pipe, the closer your mouth and lungs will be to the flame, so it will feel hot and harsh while inhaling.  Consider pipes that are a minimum of four to five inches or longer.


Most pipes come with a screen on the end that holds the ground flower . This is to keep the tiny plant pieces made from grinding the flower from flying through the pipe and into your lungs. 


When using a pipe, place a small piece of loose plant material on top of the metal screen.  A “carb” (carburetor) controls the airflow and requires a little practice to use.  Cover the carburetor when lighting the plant material and begin inhaling. . Uncover the carb when done lighting the cannabis as you continue to inhale. 


Over time, pipes become coated with a dark, sticky resinous material and need to be cleaned with an alcohol-based product. Cannabis resin is not soluble in water, which is why alcohol is used.  There are several pipe cleaning products on the market that do ta great job..  Some patients prefer to put their glassware in the dishwasher.


If you want to smoke but don’t want to use a lighter, there are electronic smoking devices available that combust flowers and can be used for concentrates (to be described later).  Patients simply load this divide and hit a button.


Water Pipes (Bongs)


This is a very popular way of smoking cannabis because it removes the heat and harshness of smoking the flower up close to your face.  The bong filters the smoke through water, which both cools the smoke and removes the ash produced in the burning process .


Ash catchers have been developed recently to keep these water pipes beautiful and resin/ash free.  These devices are attached to the pipe and keep the ash and resin from reaching the water pipe - and voila! No burnt dark product is collected on your glass pipe.


Some ash catchers contain a percolator device that will diffuse the dense smoke to create a smoother inhale . If you want to cool and smooth the smoke even more, add ice cubes to the water or place them in the tube of the water pipe. 


Dr. Allison Kendrick

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