Balancing Your Cannabis Lifestyle by Switching Up Consumption Methods

Here’s everything you need to know about the different cannabis consumption methods and how being open to new experiences can help you balance your tolerance.

Written by
The Muncheez Team
Published on
November 8, 2021
Read time
6
min
Category
Weed 101

If you’ve used cannabis for a while, you may have noticed that you’re building your tolerance and that your favorite cannabis products simply don’t feel the way they used to. Luckily, there are a few things you can do if you’re looking to avoid taking a tolerance break. One way to do it is to switch up your consumption methods. Here’s everything you need to know about the different cannabis consumption methods and how being open to new experiences can help you balance your tolerance and boost your appreciation of cannabis.

Different Cannabis Consumption and Delivery Methods

Before we jump into why switching your consumption method is important, we should first talk about what cannabis consumption methods are. Consumption methods vary and all deliver cannabinoids to the body in different ways. Currently, there are 4 main delivery methods, and each one comes with different consumption methods. It can be broken down like this:

Inhalation

> Smoking

> Vaping

> Dabbing

Oral

> Eating

> Sublingual

Topical

> Applying to skin

Suppository

> Inserting into the body

Below, we’re breaking down how these delivery methods work and a few different consumption methods and product types for each. There are lots of different ways for your body to process THC and CBD. All you have to do is pick the one that makes the most sense for you and your mind and body.

Inhalation delivery and consumption methods

The inhalation delivery method causes a high in seconds. It offers potent quick relief and lasts about 45 minutes to an hour before your body is ready for another dose. By inhaling cannabis smoke, you’re introducing cannabinoids into your lungs where it metabolizes and gets carried through the bloodstream, making it to your brain in a matter of seconds. For some people, this effect is intense at first as it causes a potent mental effect almost instantly. However, the intense part of the high peaks after about 15 minutes.

Inhalation consumption methods include smoking, vaping, and dabbing inhalable cannabis products, like flower or concentrates. To inhale cannabinoids, you’re typically smoking using a bowl, bong, blunt, or joint. However, vape pens and dab rigs are used for inhaling concentrates.

Oral delivery and consumption methods

In oral delivery, you take a cannabis product and ingest it by mouth. This can be done in one of two ways: Full ingestion, or sublingual absorption. Ingested products are metabolized in the liver through the process of digestion and carried through the bloodstream and into the brain. These products tend to take a lot longer to kick in, but can last up to 8 hours. Sublingual products are held under the tongue and absorbed through the salivary glands. These glands offer a direct line to the bloodstream and can cause a high in as little as 15 minutes.

Oral consumption methods include eating edibles like chocolates or gummies, drinking THC-infused beverages, and swallowing capsules or pills. However, sublingual oral consumption involves the use of tinctures or cannabis oils. Remember, oral products are processed very differently in the body, so always start with a low dose and work your way up until you know how the product affects you. You will have to be patient with oral delivery, too. So be sure to start low and go slow to avoid any unwanted anxiety.

Topical delivery and consumption methods

In topical delivery, you absorb cannabinoids through your skin. However, most don’t penetrate through the skin and into the bloodstream, so they won’t cause you to feel high or fail a drug test. Instead, they provide local relief to muscles where they were applied. Some topical products labeled as transdermals can penetrate into the bloodstream, though. These products will be carried through your blood and to your brain, causing you to feel high after about 15 minutes.

Topical consumption methods involve applying a cannabis-infused topical to the skin. Most topicals come in the form of balms, lotions, creams, salves, or bath salts. Transdermal topicals on the other hand can be found in the form of skin patches, gels, and muscle compounds.

Suppository delivery and consumption methods

Suppository delivery involves inserting a suppository into the body to absorb cannabinoids through the blood vessels found there. Like topical delivery, it doesn’t penetrate into the bloodstream, so it doesn’t cause a high. Suppositories take about 15 minutes to kick in, though effects can last up to 6 hours or as long as the suppository is inserted.

Suppository consumption methods include inserting cannabis-infused products into the anus or vagina. They’re great for people who need relief from lower GI tract pain or menstrual cramps. They have also been shown to help people who have trouble eating or keeping food down. Suppository products include tampons, personal lubricants, and anal/vaginal suppositories.

Why Switching Your Consumption Method is Helpful

As we talked about in the previous section, there are a lot of different ways to consume cannabis, and each one affects the body in different ways. Switching your consumption method is helpful for a few reasons.

For one thing, switching your consumption method is a good way to prevent building a high tolerance to one method of consumption. When you introduce cannabinoids into your system in various ways, your body has to process them differently based on the way you took them. You can keep your metabolism on its toes by changing your consumption method since your body won’t be going through the repeat-action of one method.

Repeat actions cause tolerances to go up in the first place, since the body always works to promote balance. If you just smoke every day, your body will become efficient at processing cannabinoids this way, making it harder for you to achieve a powerful high.

However, if you smoke one day, take edibles the next, and use topicals the day after, smoking again on the last day will feel just as potent as it did on the first day. Alternatively, if you smoked all of those days in a row, you’d start to see less potent effects by the end since your body has had the time and experience to learn how to most effectively process the substances, increasing your tolerance.

Basically, switching your consumption method prevents forming a high tolerance to one specific consumption method.  

Additionally, you’ll feel different kinds of highs when you switch your consumption methods. The body doesn’t process all of the cannabinoids it’s introduced to in the same way. Depending on how you introduced the cannabinoids into your system, your body will react differently. When you smoke cannabis, the THC is metabolized in your lungs and carried through your blood before hitting your brain, causing a high almost instantly. Edibles on the other hand have to be processed in the liver before they make it to your bloodstream and brain and cause you to feel high.

In edibles, the cannabinoids you introduce are transformed within the body and changed. Typically, the THC becomes more potent and longer-lasting. This effect also helps us avoid building a high tolerance when smoking weed because the body is now processing different cannabinoids altogether. You still get the same effects, but it’s more of a process for the body.

Ultimately, switching up your consumption methods can make cannabinoids feel more potent and can help you prevent building a high tolerance to them. It’s also fun to experiment with different cannabis products to find the ones that work best for you in different situations. You can use different products to keep your body on its toes and also enjoy different experiences that make memories.

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