Beyond Smoking: Exploring Alternative Methods of Cannabis Use

Beyond Smoking: Exploring Alternative Methods of Cannabis Use | Earthy Select

The realm of cannabis consumption has experienced a significant evolution in recent years. With shifting attitudes and regulations around cannabis (both marijuana and hemp), the methods by which individuals consume the plants have diversified. From traditional smoking to innovative concentrates and edibles, the options available to cannabis users continue to expand. However, along with this proliferation of consumption methods come a host of choices and challenges. In this article, we’ll explore the various methods of cannabis use, their associated benefits and drawbacks, and emerging trends in cannabis consumption.

Consumption of hemp versus marijuana products

Hemp and marijuana products diverge primarily in their THC content and intended use. For example, hemp contains no more than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana. In contrast, marijuana products are cultivated for their higher THC concentrations, and by definition contain over 0.3% Delta-9 THC [1]. This fundamental distinction leads to different outcomes in consumption methods.

For instance, when smoking cannabis with high THC levels, or consuming other marijuana products, the psychoactive effects are more pronounced. Conversely, hemp products, including CBD oils and hemp edibles, have minimal THC levels, resulting in milder effects that lack the same intoxicating properties of recreational marijuana [1].

Differences between medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and hemp products

The difference between hemp and marijuana products underscores the diverse applications and regulatory considerations surrounding cannabis. While medical marijuana utilizes the therapeutic potential of THC and other cannabinoids for addressing various ailments, hemp-derived products are often sought for their purported wellness benefits without higher levels of Delta-9 THC and psychoactive effects [2]. Notably, research from institutions like the National Academies of Sciences [3] and the National Institute of Health [4] informs our understanding of the effects of THC and CBD. As a result, their findings guide both medical and recreational cannabis policies and consumer choices.

The average THC concentration in marijuana is rising [5]. Thus, the distinction between recreational marijuana and hemp products becomes increasingly significant for public health initiatives and disease control efforts. Whether through the consumption of marijuana edibles or a few drops of hemp oil, recognizing the psychoactive levels of various cannabis products remains crucial for informed decision-making.

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The evolution of cannabis consumption 

  • Traditional smoking

One of the oldest and most common methods of cannabis consumption is smoking. Whether rolled into a joint, packed into a pipe, or smoked in a bong, inhaling cannabis smoke rapidly delivers active compounds, including THC and CBD, to the bloodstream. This results in the quick onset of effects. However, smoking exposes users to some of the health risks of smoking cigarettes, including potential respiratory issues [6].

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  • Vaping cannabis

Cannabis or hemp vaping has gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to smoking. Vaping involves heating cannabis compounds to a temperature that releases its active compounds in vapor form. Proponents of vaping tout it as a cleaner and potentially safer method of consumption compared to smoking [7]. However, research on the long-term effects of vaping is still ongoing.

Vape products from Earthy Select:

Earthy Select’s Delta-8 THC premium vapor cartridges and disposable vape pens feature a rich blend of cannabis terpenes to please various tastes and deliver a potent dose of Delta-8 THC.

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  • Consuming cannabis edibles

Cannabis edibles, such as cannabis-infused gummies, chocolates, and baked goods, offer a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis without the need for smoking or vaping. After consumption, edibles travel through the digestive system. As a result, the onset of effects is delayed compared to smoking or vaping. However, consuming edibles can sometimes lead to unpredictable effects. For example, the potency and onset time can vary widely depending on metabolism and individual tolerance. Thus, users should start with low doses and gradually increase as needed [8].

Cannabis edibles from Earthy Select:

Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10 Gummies: Pure cannabinoids and all-natural ingredients infuse these velvety gummies, available with a potent infusion of Delta-8, Delta-9, or Delta-10 THC. Users love the feelings of relaxation, euphoria, creativity, focus, uplift, and pleasure when using these products.

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  • Oils and Concentrates

Cannabis oils and concentrates, such as THCa bubble hash, live rosin, and diamonds, contain highly potent forms of THC and other cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. Users typically vaporize or dab concentrates for rapid absorption and intense effects. However, the high THC concentrations found in certain cannabis concentrates can be overwhelming for some, especially among inexperienced users. Thus, it’s crucial for those who consume cannabis concentrates to start with low doses to gauge their tolerance [9].

Earthy Select’s Delta-8 and Delta-10 distillate oils

Full-spectrum CBD extract is combined with Delta-8 or Delta-10 THC distillate and expertly blended with organic MCT oil. The taste is smooth and earthy, reflecting the distinct flavor of the strains.

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Advantages of Earthy Select’s THCa concentrates

One key advantage of Earthy Select’s THCa concentrates is their purity and potency. Amazingly, the diamonds are over 99.9% THCa. Using advanced extraction techniques, Earthy Select produces THCa concentrates in their purest form, ensuring a high concentration of THCa crystals without impurities.

Additionally, Earthy Select’s cannabis concentrates cater to various consumption methods, making them versatile and accessible to all cannabis enthusiasts. Whether individuals prefer dabbing or incorporating THCa concentrates into joints or edibles, Earthy Select’s products offer a convenient and effective way to consume cannabis.

THCa flower and concentrates available from Earthy Select:

  1. Exotic THCa Flower: Offering both traditional and AAA THCa flower strains, Earthy Select curates a selection of exceptional cultivars from the country’s best growers.
  2. Pre-Rolls: These convenient pre-rolls hold a full gram of premium THCa flower, boasting 20% to 30% total cannabinoids. Loaded with terpenes, they promise a fulfilling high for any time of day or night.
  3. Bubble Hash: Gleaned through an ice-water extraction process, this exceptional product comprises some of the finest cannabis plant extracts available.
  4. Diamonds: These sparkling THCa diamonds pack a full gram of concentrated THCa and .3 grams of live resin CBD sauce, terpenes, and other minor cannabinoids.
  5. Live Rosin: Nature meets art in Earthy Select’s potent THCa rosin. Extracted from trichome-rich cannabis plants, this buttery rosin drips purity and potency.

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Potential side effects regarding consumption methods

Respiratory effects

While smoking remains one of the most common methods of cannabis use, it also presents risks to respiratory health. For example, research suggests that smoking marijuana or hemp can potentially lead to chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and other respiratory issues. However, the respiratory risks associated with smoking cannabis are not deemed as high as those caused by tobacco smoke. Likewise, cannabis smoke does not contain the same levels of carcinogens and harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke [6]. Even so, this is not to say that smoking cannabis is healthy; smoking any substance can pose risks.

Mental health questions

Using cannabis does not directly cause mental health issues. However, certain populations, such as young adults and individuals predisposed to mental health disorders, may be more vulnerable to the potential adverse effects of cannabis consumption. While occasional use may not lead to significant problems, heavy or prolonged use of cannabis may exacerbate existing mental health conditions [10].

Research suggests that individuals with underlying mental health vulnerabilities, such as depression or anxiety disorders, may experience intensified symptoms with cannabis use. Moreover, adolescents and young adults, whose brains are still developing, are particularly susceptible to the psychoactive effects of marijuana. As a result, its use can disrupt cognitive function and affect memory in some [10]. A systematic review of studies on cannabis use and mental health underscores the importance of considering individual risk factors and age-related vulnerabilities when assessing the impact of cannabis on mental wellness. Thus, while cannabis use may not directly cause mental illness, its effects on mental health should be carefully evaluated. This scrutiny is especially critical regarding vulnerable populations to prevent the potential onset of mental health problems [11].

Addiction and dependence

Although cannabis dependence is much less common than dependence on other substances such as alcohol or opioids, it still can happen, particularly among frequent and heavy cannabis users. Cannabis use disorder (or marijuana use disorders), as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), characterizes impaired control over cannabis use. Treatment options for cannabis dependence may include behavioral therapy, support groups, and, in severe cases, medication [12].

Emerging trends in cannabis consumption

Shift toward edibles and concentrates

As cannabis legalization spreads, there has been a notable shift towards non-smoking methods of consumption, such as edibles and concentrates. Concerns about the health risks of smoking have driven this trend, as well as the growing popularity of discreet and convenient cannabis products [13].

Medical and therapeutic use

The legalization of medical marijuana in many jurisdictions has led to increased interest in the wellness potential of cannabis for various health conditions. From chronic pain management to chemotherapy treatment side effects, medical marijuana shows promise as a potential adjunct therapy in jurisdictions that embrace it [2]. However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy and safety of cannabis-based treatments, as well as optimal dosing regimens. Thus, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare practitioner before using cannabis for any condition.

Regulation and policy

With the changing landscape of cannabis legalization and regulation, policymakers face the challenge of balancing public health concerns with individual liberties. For instance, effective drug policy requires a nuanced approach that addresses both the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use. Strategies such as harm reduction, preventive medicine, and evidence-based education can help mitigate cannabis abuse while promoting responsible practices.

Key takeaway: alternative methods of cannabis use

As methods of cannabis use rapidly evolve, attitudes shift. While traditional smoking remains prevalent, alternative methods, such as vaping, edibles, and concentrates, offer new possibilities for cannabis consumption. However, these methods also pose their own unique challenges, underscoring the need for continued research, education, and responsible policy. By understanding the complexities of cannabis use and its associated effects, we can better address the needs of cannabis users and safeguard public health.

Visit Earthy Select to explore a wide selection of premium hemp-derived products for various consumption methods!

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Medical Disclaimer / Legal Disclaimer – Information is provided for educational purposes. It does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice or medical advice. We attempt to be accurate and up-to-date, but the legality of cannabinoids and the science of cannabis are evolving. The author is neither a legal professional nor a medical expert. Before buying or using any products, you should check with your local authorities and medical providers.


  1. What’s the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
  2. What is Medical Marijuana?
  3. Health Effects of Marijuana and Cannabis-Derived Products Presented in New Report
  4. Federal Agencies Fund New Marijuana Research Center
  5. Changes in Cannabis Potency over the Last Two Decades (1995-2014) – Analysis of Current Data in the United States
  6. Smoking Marijuana Vs. Tobacco: What Science Says
  7. Is Vaping Marijuana Safe?
  8. 7 Things to Know About Edible Cannabis
  9. Cannabis Concentrates 101
  10. Marijuana and Youth: The Impact of Marijuana Use on Teen Health and Wellbeing
  11. Cannabis and Mental Health: A Guided Systematic Review
  12. Is Cannabis Addictive?
  13. Changing Landscape of Cannabis: Novel Products, Formulations, and Methods of Administration

Frequently Asked Questions

Consumers use cannabis through various methods. These include smoking, vaping, ingesting edibles, applying topicals, and using tinctures or oils.

The safety of cannabis consumption methods depends on individual preferences and health considerations. Generally, methods that avoid combustion, such as vaping or consuming edibles, are considered to have less risk of harm for lung health compared to smoking [7], [8]. However, research is ongoing.

Consumption methods impact the onset and duration of cannabis effects. For example, smoking or vaping typically result in rapid onset but shorter duration of effects. In contrast, ingesting edibles leads to slower onset but longer-lasting effects due to the digestive process. Topicals may provide localized effects of varying onset and duration [8].