Wax, Concentrates, Flowers, Edibles ...Which is Best for You? Pros and Cons
May 30, 2017by jaywccTags: blog, weed, marijuana, dispensaries, pros and cons of weed, vaping, smoking, dabs, concentrates, wine country cannasseurs, wine, country, cannasseurs, jayne
Article by Jayne Forest, Photo by @joeburke108
When first diving into the world of choices that medical cannabis dispensaries offer, it can be challenging to decide which way to consume it. There are pros and cons to each method, and it all depends on personal preference and even the particular situation. Here are a few opinions on each method to help you discern which way might work best for you. For many cannabis users, different methods are used at different times for certain reasons. For those people who haven’t personally tried all methods, this list of pros and cons can help you navigate the plethora of ways to consume your plant medicine.
PROS: Burning flowers is the most natural and classic way to appreciate the benefits of this plant. In a world where much of our food is bought at the store, or prepared by someone else, our society tends to be disconnected from the origin of the products we consume. For many people, part of the joy of using cannabis is the sensual connection, appreciating the visual beauty and aroma of the plant, enjoying the direct tactile sensation of the sticky resin. The touching of the plants and putting them into a grinder, looking at the flowers and smelling them makes smoking flowers a mindful way of experiencing the benefits of cannabis. The effect is a potent psychoactive experience, with fast relief from symptoms. Many people feel it is also a much more social experience to smoke a joint with others rather than to pass around a vaporizer.
CONS: Cannabis flowers have a strong scent as we all are aware, and smoking creates huge billows of permeating smoke and a lasting residual odor in the room, in your hair, on your breath, on your hands, and on your clothing. Keeping flowers in your possession can also give off a telltale aroma even before they are burned, and when left in your car or any warm environment, the smell gets even more pungent. Although many may argue the scent is wonderful, which is my personal opinion, it can call unnecessary attention to itself in public. Even a small amount in the trunk of a car can give itself away with it’s strong smell. Smoking creates huge clouds of odorous smoke of course, so when confidentiality or space to privately consume cannabis flowers is an issue, this can be a challenging obstacle.
PROS: Edibles are a powerful delivery method that packs a punch that I don’t think smoking is capable of reaching. With the altering of chemical makeup that occurs in cooking processes, the high experienced through edibles for some people can be more intense and even mildly hallucinogenic as opposed to other traditional methods of cannabis consumption. Some people enjoy these effects as a unique alternative to smoking for special occasions when deeper relief within the physical body is needed. For people who are concerned about damaging their lungs by smoking, eating cannabis circumvents that. Edibles are also a more stealth way to consume cannabis, since you don’t have to find a place to hide the scent and smoke. The duration of the high when cannabis is consumed also tends to be much longer than smoking, ranging between a few hours to several hours depending on how much was consumed. This can be helpful if you know you are going to be at a public event all day where you won’t be able to sneak away and smoke cannabis when your high wears off. Eating cannabis has a very strong effect, so for people who are experiencing intense bodily pain, this delivery method has the capability of combatting more intense levels of discomfort.
CONS: I think one of the biggest downfalls of eating cannabis is also one of it’s strengths: The high is So intense and long lasting. Each edible has a certain level of concentration, and discerning how much to consume can be a challenge that is important to consider before deciding your dosage. Since the effects can take up to an hour to set in, it’s very easy to eat too much. When this happens, you are at the mercy of the experience and you could find yourself falling asleep for several hours, unintentionally. The high stays in your system for up to 48 hours if you consume enough, and a foggy feeling in your brain can last for a couple days if you are sensitive to the effect. There is absolutely a way to find the right dose and NOT eat too much, and finding that sweet spot can be bliss with edibles. However, if you eat an excessive dose of cannabis, the experience can be overwhelming. The best way to avoid an unpleasant experience is to be patient and responsible, by trying a small amount and waiting about an hour to feel the effects before consuming more. It can take between a half hour and 90 minutes to feel the effects of edibles.
PROS: Cannabis Wax concentrates or “dabs” are known to be decidedly even more powerful than edibles, and I have to personally agree with that widely agreed upon sentiment. Some people say that doing dabs makes you feel as high as the first time you ever smoked cannabis, every time. If you’re seeking an extremely strong, immediate, absolutely instant psychoactive effect, wax or shatter concentrates/dabs are what you’re looking for. It is said that at a minimum, wax concentrates are 4 times as strong as a joint, and the high is administered and felt all at once. It’s an economical choice after you’ve invested in a vehicle to consume your wax, because wax concentrates have an equivalent potency to several joints in a single dab. Wax concentrates in their small container give off very little odor, are tiny and easy to transport clandestinely. Instead of using a huge operation to burn wax, there are also vaporizer pens that use wax that are easily portable. The vapor when consumed is also mostly odorless.
CONS: Wax concentrates (dabs) are probably the most controversial way to consume cannabis because of a few reasons. One being that it when they were first being produced they were dissolved in butane, and many people aren’t comfortable with the potential health dangers of this chemical processing. I have heard that currently, many wax concentrate companies have started using different methods that don’t involve highly flammable and potentially poisonous butane, but you have to do your research to ensure you aren’t unintentionally consuming additional unwanted chemicals.
In order to consume dabs, the temperature has to be very high, so typically as it’s burned on a nail, so you need a blowtorch. Personally, this makes me feel like I’m doing some hard drugs, which increased the feeling of anxiety I was trying to avoid by using cannabis in the first place. There are portable vaporizers that use wax, and when I first got one, I loved using wax and shatter! The problem I have with it, is you have to clean your pen after every use or it gets gunky and soon, if you haven’t cleaned it diligently, it becomes difficult to open and you end up damaging the coils trying to clean them over time if the resin builds up. It is also very easy to become accustomed to the higher levels of THC in wax concentrates, making it harder for you to feel high consuming it any other way, which increases your tolerance exponentially. It is also very dangerous and can be explosive to make yourself, which has brought negative press to the cannabis movement, so it’s best to leave creating it to the professionals.
PROS: This is personally my favorite way to consume cannabis, vaporizing oil. It is virtually odorless and the vapor dissipates in seconds, making usage discreet. Depending on the levels of THC, you can more easily control the high you get by choosing a particular cartridge and taking even a single draw to feel the effects. When smoking, unless you want to smoke from a glass pipe or bong, once you’ve lit a joint, you have a lot of smoking to do or you’re burning plant material! Vaporizing is easier on the lungs than traditional smoking, which eases irritation of the lungs and throat. Each cartridge is long lasting, depending on how often you take a draw, so a single cartridge could last weeks for a light user. It is easy to transport and carry around on hikes so you don’t have to have the whole operation of strong smelling flowers, a lighter, and a pipe. Instead you have this one sleek item you can carry easily on your person without flowers or resin falling out and leaving crumbs in your bags and pockets. The vaporizer pen is more durable than joints that might accidently get squashed in transport.
CONS: Vaporizing cannabis can give an intense high, but the high is somehow different from smoking in that if feels slightly less intense for me than say, smoking a joint. I suppose that’s because when you have a joint, you consume it all at once, taking many hits in a short period of time. Vaporizing you don’t have to be in a rush about it, so I think the high tends to be less intense in a unique way. The oils have to be stored in appropriate temperatures, so if you accidently leave your bag of cartridges in the car on a hot day, you can potentially lose oil to the sun, which is a bitter feeling where you have no one to blame but yourself!
For many people including myself, each way of consuming this healing plant has its time and situation to be the perfect delivery method. I hope this article helps you to discern what could work best for you. Wishing you health and wellness. What are your favorite ways to consume cannabis and why? What types of products would you like to see us offer more of in the future?