What’s the Right Smoke Method For You

pre-rolled joints in a circle

If you’re reading this, chances are you partake in cannabis. Whether you prefer joints, pipes, bongs, or vaporizers, imbibing cannabis is a way of life for many of us. If you’re like me, you’re concerned with three main things; taste, smoothness, and most importantly, how high you get. We all know that these are largely dependent on the type of bud you smoke, however the method with which you consume can play just as big a role. It may surprise you to know that just by switching up how you smoke, one can significantly alter how high they get and how much bud they use to get there.

THC absorption graph methods

Most stoners will have at least one pipe in their glass collection, whereas some of us prefer the simplicity of a joint. Both methods are practical, quick, and easy, each imparting a unique taste and consistency of smoke. However, there are also certain drawbacks to these methods. Joints, if rolled improperly, can run, whereas pipes can have a tendency to be harsh. Ultimately however, the reason that I prefer other methods comes down to how high I get. When smoked in a joint, your body is only capable of absorbing between 5% and 30% of the available THC in the plant. A pipe isn’t much better at 20-40%. This discrepancy is due to destruction of THC via pyrolysis (loss by fire), loss due to sidestream smoke (the smoke which escapes when not inhaling), and additional chemicals produced by the combustion process interfering in your lung’s capacity to absorb THC.

As a step up from these more basic inhalation methods, many stoners use bongs or bubblers. Bongs filter the smoke through water, making the smoke that enters the lungs much smoother due to the removal of a large amount of the water soluble, non-cannabinoid components. This filtration combined with the reduction of sidestream smoke allow the body to absorb between 50-70% of the available THC. It goes without saying that by using a water piece, one can potentially get more out of their weed, making them a more cost effective method. Bongs and Bubblers are not without their own drawbacks however, bongs can be bulky, and bubblers don’t provide the same level of filtration and require more frequent water changes. In addition, anybody who has accidentally sucked up old bong water will agree, you cannot create a fouler substance without using nuclear material.

Finally, we have come to vaporizers. Without a doubt, vaporization is the smoothest, most efficient, and cost effective method for consuming cannabis. On many models there are different temperature settings, some even allowing you to adjust by the single degree. This variability allows one to properly volatilize nearly all of the THC within the plant, between 75-98%. In addition to squeezing nearly every metaphorical drop out of your bud, one can also achieve volatilization of nearly all of the terpenes without actually combusting them. Not only does this lead to the best possible flavor from your weed, it also improves your experience due to the interaction of these terpenes with the THC in your bloodstream. As you could imagine, a vaporizer will allow your weed to go the furthest, saving you money in the long run. In this writer’s opinion, the only drawbacks to this method are the upfront cost of the unit itself, and the fact that you simply can’t get a vape to look as pretty as well worked glass.

To put all of this in perspective, all methods of cannabis consumption have their positives and negatives. There isn’t much that beats a well rolled joint on a bright summer day, and a pipe for your bag is an essential for every stoner on the go. A fat bong rip will get you to where you want to be without scorching your lungs, using less weed in the process, and vaporizers will make you salivate from the intense flavor. Ultimately however, whether you puff a pipe, rip a bong, or sip on a vape, the most important things are that you find something that you love, you smoke responsibly, and that you stay high and happy!

-Budtender Andrew

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