Lungs are so very important to health. Deep inhales and vigorous exhales performed with intent, fill you with life giving air and oxygen while releasing tension and metabolic waste. This provides focus, energy, and even relaxation and sleep. There’s little substitution for our precious lungs, so it’s important to care for them when seeking the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. While many people choose to smoke traditional joints, blunts, and pre-rolls, these five alternative methods offer creative and healthy ways to receive the benefits of cannabis. Keep in mind, whatever else is in your ingredients, be it residual pesticides, fungicides, or synthetic chemical fertilizers (hopefully none), comes along with all the beneficial compounds, too. So, use ingredients from reputable suppliers, know your grower, and be certain to use clean cannabis cultivated with care!


Sublingual, or “under the tongue,” is the way medicinals and therapeutic botanicals diffuse into the bloodstream by being absorbed through tissues located under the tongue. Compounds enter the bloodstream through a profusion of capillaries in the connective tissue beneath the epithelium. While many pharmaceuticals exist in sublingual form, increasing numbers of vitamins and minerals are being made available in sublingual form these days. This is because sublingual application bypasses degradation by enzymes, bile, and stomach acid in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as metabolism by the liver. One of the primary reasons to use a sublingual tincture is that the onset activation time is often faster than digestion since it’s a more direct route to the bloodstream. Both alcohol and glycerin make excellent carriers for sublingual tinctures. Drops of tincture aren’t the only method for making the most of sublingual application, tablets can be made to be taken sublingually, as can oral sprays and lozenges.


Our Endocannabinoid Systems’ CB1 and CB2 receptors are found throughout our skin and deeper levels of our nervous system. This is one reason why so many people are finding the same muscle relaxant, pain relieving, and anti-inflammatory properties associated with consuming cannabis are also achieved when applying it topically to the skin. Think insect repellenttattoo aftercare lotionhair conditioner and lip balm, to name a few. When applied topically, cannabinoids are absorbed by the skin, yet do not travel the bloodstream in a capacity that creates intoxication. This means when applying cannabis lotions, salves and balms (oils and butters, too!) to your skin, you can experience the localized benefits without getting high.


Infusing cannabis into oils is one of the best techniques to extract and receive the medicinal benefits of the plant. This is because cannabinoids are generally fat-soluble, making oils a convenient vehicle for getting cannabinoids out of the plant and into your belly. Oils are fun to experiment with in the kitchen. Most are vegan,  and when you’re not eating them, cooking or baking with them, you can use infused ingestible oils as topicals, too. From olive oil, to coconut oil, even avocado oil, there are many options. Coconut oil is a popular choice. It’s high in healthy medium-chain fatty acids with up to four times more saturated fats than olive oil, making coconut oil an ideal carrier for fat soluble cannabinoids.


Suppositories allow you to medicate while avoiding a head high. Using rectal suppositories, properly (by not inserting them too far), one can provide cannabinologic therapy to the physical area while bypassing metabolism by the liver. This keeps the therapy localized, avoiding intoxication. The same holds true for vaginal suppositories. People are turning to cannabis suppositories for lower back pain, menstrual cramps, MS, and more. Organic, raw cacao butter is the fat of choice for infusing cannabis into effective suppository therapies.   


Studies have shown that vaporizing helps minimize the negative effects of smoking and combustion. Tars and toxins, like carbon monoxide, are present when cannabis is heated past its smoke point. Vaporizing keeps fire and intense temperatures away from the flower while gently heating cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds, like terpenes and flavonoids, enough to release them into the air. This produces a similar effect to smoking while greatly reducing the release of harmful toxins. Switching from smoking to using a vaporizer has also been shown improve overall respiratory function. And, that’s just one of the best benefits of vaporization. Since vaporization doesn’t burn or char the cannabis, the leftover already been vaped bud or “ABV,” still maintains some potency and can be repurposed.

-Zoe Wilder

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