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Among the variety of ways cannabis is consumed, most are some form of heating or ignition combined with inhalation of the smoke, or oral consumption of the plant itself mixed into a food medium. THC can also be consumed, less beneficially, by smoking the charred resin that collects on the inside of pipes.

Contents

Smoking

A narrow, screened[1] single-toke utensil, such as the midwakh (shown here) or kiseru, permits low-temperature 25-mg servings (40 per gram) and avoids the health risk and THC-waste of hot-burning cigarette papers and "big-bowl" pipes.
Smoking in hot-burning papers is potentially the most harmful method of consuming cannabis.


Cannabis can be smoked with implements such as smoking pipes[2], bongs and chillums, or by rolling a cigarette-like joint or cigar-like blunt.

Local methods have differed by the preparation of the cannabis plant before use, the parts of the cannabis plant which are used, and the treatment of the smoke before inhalation. In some parts of Africa today, a pile of cannabis is simply thrown onto a fire and the smoke inhaled.[3]

Vaporization

A Volcano forced-air Vaporizer. After filling with vapor, the balloon (top) may be detached and inhaled from.
A hybrid vaporization pipe with flame filter
28. Insert cannabis, other herbs or essential oils here
36. Flame filter made of a stack of metal screens (5+) or a heat resistant porous material
Cannabis after vaporization

A vaporizer heats herbal cannabis to 365–410 °F (185–210 °C), which causes the active ingredients to evaporate into a gas without burning the plant material (the boiling point of THC is 392 °F (200°C) at 0.02 mm Hg pressure.[4] A lower proportion of carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals is released than by smoking, although this may vary depending on the design of the vaporizer and the temperature at which it is set. A MAPS-NORML study using a Volcano vaporizer reported 95% THC and no toxins delivered in the vapor.[5] However, an older study using less sophisticated vaporizers found some toxins.[6]. Vaporizer users have reported noticeably different effects than with smoking, including a more euphoric hallucinogen-type high, because the vapor contains more pure THC.

Oral consumption

As an alternative to smoking, cannabis may be consumed orally. However, the cannabis or its extract must be sufficiently heated or dehydrated to cause decarboxylation of its most abundant cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, into psychoactive THC.[7]

Food

Hash cakes
Various types of cannabis foods on display in a shop window in Amsterdam

Although hashish is sometimes eaten raw or mixed with water, THC and other cannabinoids are more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream when combined with butter and other lipids or, less so, dissolved in ethanol. The time to onset of effects depends strongly on stomach content, but is usually about an hour, and may continue for a considerable length of time, whereas the effects of smoking herbal cannabis are almost immediate, lasting a shorter time.

Smoking cannabis results in a significant loss of THC and other cannabinoids in exhaled smoke, by decomposition on burning, and, with a joint or large-bowl utensil, in smoke that is not inhaled. In contrast, all of the active constituents enter the body when cannabis is ingested. It has been shown that the primary active component of cannabis, Δ9-THC, is converted to the more psychoactive 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver.[8] Titration to the desired effect by ingestion is more difficult than through inhalation, due to the long onset time for the effects.

Drink

Cannabis material can be leached in high-proof spirits (often grain alcohol) to create a “Green Dragon”. This process is often employed to make use of low-potency stems and leaves.

Cannabis can also be consumed as a cannabis tea. Although THC is lipophilic and only slightly water soluble (with a solubility of 2800 mg per liter),[9] enough THC can be dissolved to make a mildly psychoactive tea. However, water-based infusions are generally considered to be an inefficient use of the herb.[10]

Fungi

To kill potentially dangerous Aspergillus and other microorganisms, researchers "Levitz and Diamond (1991) suggested baking marijuana in home ovens at 150 °C [302 °F], for five minutes before smoking. Oven treatment killed conidia of A. fumigatus, A. flavus and A. niger, and did not degrade the active component of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)." However neither this nor some other suggested sterilization methods degrade microbial antigens or decompose the microbial toxins.[11]

References

  1. ^ http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-1/4%22-diam.-Screen-for-a-Single-Toke-Utensil
  2. ^ http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Smoke-Pipes-From-Everyday-Objects
  3. ^ "Erowid Cannabis Vault : Spiritual Use #2". www.erowid.org. http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_spirit2.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-13.  
  4. ^ 1989. The Merck Index, 11th ed., Merck & Co., Rahway, New Jersey
  5. ^ Gieringer, Dale H.; Joseph St. Laurent, Scott Goodrich (2004). "Cannabis Vaporizer Combines Efficient Delivery of THC with Effective Suppression of Pyrolytic Compounds" (pdf). Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics 4 (1): 7–27. doi:10.1300/J175v04n01_02. http://www.maps.org/mmj/Gieringer-vaporizer.pdf. Retrieved 2006-04-21.  
  6. ^ Gieringer, Dale. "Marijuana Water Pipe and Vaporizer Study". http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v06n3/06359mj1.html. Retrieved 2006-04-21.  
  7. ^ "Does marijuana have to be heated to become psychoactive?"
  8. ^ Paulo Borini; Romeu Cardoso Guimarães; Sabrina Bicalho Borini (May 2004). "Possible hepatotoxicity of chronic marijuana usage". Sao Paulo Medical Journal 122 (3). doi:10.1590/S1516-31802004000300007. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1516-31802004000300007&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en. Retrieved 2006-05-02.  
  9. ^ "ChemIDplus Lite". chem.sis.nlm.nih.gov. http://chem.sis.nlm.nih.gov/chemidplus/ProxyServlet?objectHandle=Search&actionHandle=getAll3DMViewFiles&nextPage=jsp%2Fcommon%2FChemFull.jsp%3FcalledFrom%3Dlite&chemid=001972083&formatType=_3D. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  10. ^ Cannabis and the brain. Invited review Brain. 126(6):1252-1270, June 2003. Iversen, Leslie
  11. ^ "Microbiological contaminants of marijuana". www.hempfood.com. http://www.hempfood.com/IHA/iha01205.html. Retrieved 2008-06-22.  







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