THC. Three letters that literally mean one thing: Tetrahydrocannabinol. Yeah, it’s a mouthful. Now you know why we go with “THC”. THC is the active ingredient found in hemp and marijuana plants that in different doses, can create feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and happiness. Used for both recreational and medicinal purposes, the uses, and ways to consume THC, are going through a renaissance.
But while “THC” has one literal meaning, in reality, what THC *actually* means to individuals varies widely. For hemp- and marijuana-curious people “how THC is consumed”, and “what’s best for them”, are some top questions we get asked.
So, but what IS the best way to experience THC?
It’s a simple question, but the answer is rather complex, and personal. The short of it?: The best way to consume THC varies by individual, and is the form that works best for you.
Ok, but how do you determine what’s right for you? Here are three factors to consider as we go through the various ways to consume THC:
- Your desired effect (health benefits, to feel euphoria, intensity, do you want a gradual or fast onset)
- Your environment and surroundings at the time of use
- How YOUR body processes THC (this varies from person to person)
- Your personal preferences
YOUR DESIRED EFFECT OF THC
Before choosing the best way to consume THC, it helps to know what the desired effect is. Are you aiming for medical benefits but don’t want to feel loopy? (Experience better sleep? reduce pain?) Or is your goal to enjoy a recreational experience? (Feel intense euphoria? Social consumption?) Or is it a combination of these things. Determining what your desired effect from consuming THC will help you make the best choice on how to consume, and how much to consume. Also consider how fast you’d like to experience effects, and how long you’d like them to last.
YOUR ENVIRONMENT DURING TIME OF USE
Once you’ve determined what your desired effects are, consider your surroundings, don’t forget to consider your actual surroundings. Your environment at the time of consumption plays a role in what’s best for you. For example, if you’re in an area that doesn’t allow smoking, vaping or flower wouldn’t be the right choice for you at that time. Is THC legal in your state, or city? (Fun Fact: Delta-9 THC is federally legal for sale, shipment, and consumption!) Will you be enjoying THC in your home, or in public? Where and when you will be consuming will have an impact on what form of consumption is best for you.
HOW YOUR BODY PROCESSES THC
Did you know that eating high carb or high Omega-3 fats will delay the onset of THC effects, but has also been shown to intensify the effect of THC on your body? That’s right! Eating high carb or high-fat foods just before or just after you ingest a gummy can affect how you feel.
The short of it: how your body processes THC depends greatly on health factors (body weight, metabolism, diseases or illnesses, etc), your diet, and For a more technical breakdown, and a full chemical and biological explanation, check out this article from the National Library of Medicine.
YOUR PREFERRED METHOD
Last but definitely not least – don’t forget to consider your personal preferences! Some people don’t enjoy smoking while others like the sensation. Others would prefer to not taste the THC at all, and would rather have a delicious treat to deliver the effects of THC. Some want more intense, shorter lasting effects, while others may simply want to experience the benefits of THC. What you choose ultimately will rely on what feels best for YOU!
DIFFERENT FORMS AND WAYS TO CONSUME THC
These aren’t your old college roommates magic brownies anymore. The science that goes behind edibles has greatly advanced since the 60s. From cookies, beverages, gummies, butter, and more, there are a variety of ways to ingest cannabinoids today. The effects of THC and cannabinoids typically takes a longer amount of time when consumed through an edible because the active ingredients are absorbed through the digestive system. It can take up to two hours to kick in, however once they do – the feelings and benefits can last much longer with edibles compared to other forms of consumption.
Edibles can produce a more gradual, relaxing feeling of euphoria and contentment, but because there are many other factors that go into metabolizing the ingredients in an edible, intensity of the effects will vary from person-to-person, and even from day-to-day in the same person. If you choose to enjoy edibles, treat each product as a new experience. For the best results, we recommend starting with smaller portions of a serving to provide lower dosages, (1mg, 5mg or 10mg) and taking it slow. Wait for 24 hours before increasing your dose so that you fully understand how each product will affect you personally.
CBD, Delta-9, Delta-8 and Delta-10, and other cannabinoids can be infused or sprayed onto varying different forms of edibles.
Much like edibles, the options for consuming THC and cannabinoids through inhalation has greatly increased over the years. However, how you feel and how quickly you feel it is MUCH different when smoking or vaping. Because active ingredients enter the bloodstream through the lungs, it gets into your bloodstream much faster and the effects are often felt almost immediately. Additionally, the euphoric feeling tends to peak within a few minutes, and wear off quickly, especially when compared to edibles or tinctures.
Smokers or former smokers may be more comfortable smoking dried flowers, concentrates, and/or vaping than non-smokers who may be unused to the burning/coughing that can accompany inhalation methods. For inexperienced consumers, it can be easy to “overdo it” when smoking or vaping. Additionally, certain health risks have been linked to vaping and smoking (unwanted chemical byproducts lingering in your body) so consider these factors when making your choice.
Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10 and THCV can be consumed through smoking or vaping.
THC and CBD tinctures come in liquid form, typically with a dropper application, and are absorbed under the tongue. This method of consumption can result in a faster onset of effects than edibles but slower than vaping or smoking. The length of time tincture effects last are typically “middle of the road”, falling between vaping (short-lasting) and edibles (longer-lasting). With trial and error, adjusting the tincture dosage can produce more controllable and predictable results.
CBD, Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10 can be consumed through tinctures.
Another form to consume are topicals such as creams, lotions, or balms, and more. Typically topicals are used for localized relief and almost always are targeted at temporary pain relief for muscles and joints. You will not get a feeling of euphoria or any of the stereotypical feelings of “being high” through topicals in the same way that you don’t feel the effects of a beer by rubbing it on your skin. Currently, Delta-10 THC is less commonly used in topicals.
WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU?
With so many options that serve a wide variety of purposes, there is a lot to consider when choosing what’s best for you. The preferred method of consumption is personal and varies based on many factors, including how your body processes THC and tolerance/sensitivity to the compound, the desired effect (fast or gradual onset), the environment at the time of use, and personal preferences.
It is important to note that THC can have side effects, including impaired cognitive function, increased heart rate, and paranoia, particularly at high doses.
Regardless of how you choose to experience THC, use the products responsibly, in a safe situation, and only use THC products from trusted sources. Always look for the Certificate Analysis in any cannabinoid product. COAs provide detailed information about the product’s composition, including the cannabinoid and terpene content and information about potential contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents. This information is essential for consumers to make informed decisions about the quality and safety of the products they are considering purchasing. COAs should be available from the manufacturer or seller of the product and are often found on their website or available by request.
Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on cannabis and its various compounds!
Curious about something else? If you are, likely others are, too! Let us know your questions – we’re thrilled to help you on this journey of discovery. Email us at [email protected].