Different Methods of Ingestion (& What to Expect)

Cannabis is a sensory experience, no matter the form you take. From the sticky residue stuck to your fingers after pulling apart the bud to the velvety, infused chocolate that melts on the tongue. Your senses are engaged.

In our previous articles, we discussed the 3-group classification system that many in the cannabis community have become accustomed to (i.e., indica, sativa, & hybrid) and the system’s utility in conversations with fellow smokers and stoners. We’ve also addressed cannabis terpenes and cannabinoids (i.e., THC & CBD as well as CBG, CBN, & THCV) and how, when searching for a specific effect, or even avoiding a particular high experience, it’s in the toker’s best interest to search for specific terps and cannabinoids in the strain. But what are different ways to engage in our high? And what can we expect from these methods? That’s what we’ll be reviewing for this week’s blog.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to establish that the key to cannabis consumption lies in the heat application used. At some point in the process, heat must be applied for decarboxylation (de-car-box-il-ay-shun) to take place. Decarboxylation, or decarb, speaks to the process needed for the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant to kick in. The reason for this has to do with the organic profile and chemical process of THC. Decarb occurs because the cannabis plant contains the cannabinoid THC-A. NOTE: as we reviewed, in our cannabinoid article, cannabis contains quite a few of them. Hundreds in fact. But before heat is applied, many of these cannabinoids have the addition of the -A in its chemical profile, which speaks to the cannabinoid in its acid form. With decarb, the -A is removed, leaving us with the form of THC (and other cannabinoids) in the form we love. 

With that out of the way, let’s dive in.

First, there are a couple of ways to consume cannabis. By far, the most well-known are inhalation methods: smoking and vaping. As we just discussed, smoking works through the decarb of THC. As we inhale the smoke into our lungs, THC enters our bloodstream. The immediacy of the psychoactive effect makes it the more popular choice for tokers, so if it’s your first time, be ready for a near-instant effect. When it comes to smoking, there are numerous ways to approach consuming your cannabis. From rolling a J, making a spliff, or taking rips from a bong, there are many roads that lead to the same destination. 

Now, let’s get a little more in-depth with some of those methods.

Joints – Also referred to as Js and pre-rolls. These are pretty common and can typically be a first-timer’s intro to getting high. J’s are made with rolling papers, typically derived from hemp, rice, or cellulose. When it comes to the stuffing, a J is full of weed. Here at COW, we have a good variety of pre-rolls for you to choose from. Feel free to check out our pre-roll selection here

Spliffs – A spliff is a J with tobacco (also known as grabba) added to the weed mix.

Blunts – Blunts are essentially a cigar, hollowed out and filled with weed. Blunts are also slow-burning and add a tobacco taste to the smoke session. While we don’t have any blunts on the menu that contain actual tobacco, we do have a couple of strains from Papi Sweet Sluggers that are worth checking out, like the sativa leaning, Disco Gorilla, or the indica leaning Motorbreath #15

Next up, we have glassware and pieces to accompany your smoke sesh. These pieces are built to manage the combustion and inhalation processes that come with consuming weed.

PipesAlso referred to as spoons, are handheld devices. Pipes usually have a mouthpiece, followed by a stem, and end in a bowl shape. These pieces typically vary in size, shape, material, and design and work by placing grounded weed (typically done with a grinder) into the bowl portion of the device. The weed is lit with a heat source (of your choosing) as your finger covers up the carb, which is the small hole that’s placed on the side of the bowl where the flower is packed. 

Bongs – Another handheld device, though these pieces have greater variability in equipment size. Bongs are essentially a water pipe that provides a smoother, cleaner, less harsh hit. This is because bongs add a filtration system to the smoke sesh. Typically, the material for a bong can vary from glass, silicone, or on occasion, pyrex. A standard bong usually features a base, an angled hole for the downstem, a bowl, and a stem. Water’s added into the base, either through the downstem or mouthpiece, then the downstem piece is added back into the angled hole, and the bowl is placed back onto the downstem piece. Grounded weed is then added into the bowl piece, where it’s lit to be smoked. Here at COW, we have a wonderful glass sale with a 30-45% markdown on most of our pieces

VapesVapes typically consist of a vape cartridge (also referred to as a cart) and a battery. A vape cartridge is simply cannabis oil pre-filled into a glass container and sold in half-grams or grams. There are also different types of vapes on the market, such as 510 threads, disposables, and proprietary. 510 threads are your standard version and the most popular option. These screw right into a 510-compatible battery which can be purchased online or at any smoke shop near you. Disposables feature the cart and battery all-in-one, and proprietary vapes are carts specific to a particular battery structure crafted by the same cart company. There’s also a variety of options when it comes to the battery itself. Some batteries function on a pull system, meaning there is no button to push when heating your weed. You inhale from the mouthpiece of your cart, and that’s it! Most batteries will have a button that changes the heat setting in the pen, allowing the intensity of your high also to change. This is because, with the ability to change the heat setting, you can unlock the cannabinoids or terps found in the strain. For example, the cannabinoid THCV burns at 428°F, whereas the terpene Pinene burns at 311°F. For this reason, vapes are great since they give you greater variability and control in your high experience. If vapes sound more your speed, then check out our menu. We have a great selection of vapes available for browsing online.

Next up, we have edibles. Edibles are any foods or drinks infused with cannabis, which is typically done through a cannabis-infused oil or butter. Onset for this psychoactive high can take anywhere from 15 minutes (if utilizing fast-acting technology) or a few hours (depending on your body’s chemistry). Edibles tend to carry a daunting vibe due to the intensity and duration of the high when consuming an edible versus smoking a J. This is due to the chemical process that takes place when a cannabis-infused edible enters our digestive system. Since our digestive system and liver metabolize the THC into a more potent form called 11-hydroxy-THC, edibles carry a higher potential for lasting much longer in the body than inhalation methods. If edibles are more up your alley, click here to see what we have available to offer at COW. 

Then, we have topicals. Topicals are any cannabis-infused product that’s intended for skin application. Topicals are different in that they don’t get you high (and also don’t appear on a drug test). This is because topicals are formulated to reach the local cannabinoid receptors found on the surface of your skin and cannot bypass into the bloodstream. 

Finally, there are the multifaceted tinctures. Tinctures are a cannabis-infused liquid. Since cannabis has no water-soluble properties (i.e., it doesn’t mix well with water, literally), a base is needed to create a tincture. Typical bases for tinctures are oil and alcohol. And while yes, there are water tinctures on the market, this is mainly possible due to something called nanoemulsion technology. Without this intervention, a water tincture cannot be made without an oil or alcohol base. Tinctures are pretty great due to the variety of ways they can be used for. You can consume it directly through a sublingual (i.e., under the tongue) application or add it to a food dish or beverage of your choice. With a sublingual application, the high can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes due to the THC entering your bloodstream through the thin membrane in your mouth. You can also add it to a topical or balm for a homemade topical. We have award-winning tinctures by Treeworks available for purchase here at COW. If you’re interested in checking this out, click here for the Daily Drops, which feature a 1:5 CBG: THC, or here for the Jungle Drops, which feature a 1:1:1:1:1 THC:CBD: CBG:CBN: CBC.

Annnd that’s a wrap for this week! 

How a strain smells, hits, and tastes, the sensory experience you have while you smoke or surf your psychoactive high –these all become things we take with us and share with others during a joint smoke sesh. There are many ways to consume cannabis that can impact how you enjoy your high. With the right exploration spirit, you’ll be sure to find your preferred method of consumption in no time. 

Stay tuned for our next article! We’ll be going over tips and tricks beneficial to any smoker.

In the meantime, have you heard? We have a couple of events going on this month. If you’re free, stop by! We have our monthly block party this Saturday from 11 AM – 7 PM, a motorcycle rally supporting the Last Prisoner Project on the 24th, and a Super Smash Bros. event on the 30th. We’ll have music, food, and FREE giveaways. Come on through!


Written by Coralys De Jesus




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