CANNABIS TRAVEL WORLD FAIR
Earlier this month, I participated in the inaugural Cannabis Travel World Fair, presented by the Cannabis Travel Association International (CTAI). This two day virtual event showcased people and places in the cannabis industry from all around the world. Representatives from countries such as Uruguay, Jamaica, Thailand, The Netherlands, South Africa, India and more came together to discuss the current state of the cannabis industry in their respective countries, as well as people from all across the United States. What I took away from these two days, is that the cannabis industry is growing rapidly around the world, but we still have a long way to go in normalizing cannabis and removing the stigma that follows.
One of my roles in the World Fair was moderating a panel on consumption lounges. Joining me on the panel were Sara Stewart, a pioneer in cannabis hospitality with experience opening and operating two of America’s first licensed cannabis lounges: Lowell Cafe in West Hollywood and Rise Mundelein in Illinois; Arend Richard, the founder of WeedTube and Cirrus Social Club, the latter opening in Denver later this year billed as a “space to spend time with your friends, bring your family for their first ever sesh, or treat clients to an incredible service”; and Lauren Fontein, Co-Founder and Chief Compliance Officer of The Artist Tree in Los Angeles. This panel was very enlightening regarding the current challenges that are facing consumption lounges in the United States. You can view the entire discussion here.
To learn more about CTAI, including their mission and what you can do to get involved, click here.
FOG CITY CANNABIS TIP OF THE MONTH
This month, we’re going to do a brief overview of many of the different methods of cannabis consumption, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these methods. Many of these may be familiar to you, but hopefully you will learn about a method of consumption of which you were not previously aware. For my statistics, I will be using a 2022 report put out by New Frontier Data. Their 2023 report will be out in April, and you can download it for free at their website.
SMOKING: Let’s jump right in with the most popular method of consumption, good old fashioned smoking. 83% of cannabis users surveyed said they smoke cannabis, 65% said it was their most frequent method of consumption and 60% said it was their favorite method. Though smoking has decreased a bit in popularity since the arrival of many new methods of consumption, it is still the most popular way for people to use cannabis. There are lots of different ways cannabis can be smoked. Some of the most popular smoking methods include: joints, pipes, bongs, spliffs (joint with cannabis and tobacco) and blunts (joint in a cigar wrapper). As with all methods of consumption, there are advantages and disadvantages to smoking. In my mind, the biggest advantage to smoking is the ability to titrate your dosage. Because the effects from smoking cannabis take hold nearly instantly, it is easy to decipher when you’ve had enough. This allows smokers to moderate their consumption more easily than someone using, say, edibles (but we’ll get to that later). Smoking also allows the consumer to experience the full flavor of the cannabis, whereas the flavor of the cannabis is masked through other products, or non-existent in products such as topicals. The main disadvantage of smoking is that inhaling burned plant matter into your lungs isn’t the healthiest way to ingest cannabis. For some, smoking flower daily can lead to a chronic cough, shortness of breath or lung problems. For this reason, I suggest balancing smoking with other methods of consumption, including the one we’re going to talk about next.
VAPORIZING: While having been around for many years, vaporizing cannabis has grown in popularity over the past ten or so years. This can partly be attributed to the invention of the vape pen, one of the more revolutionary additions to the industry that we’ve seen in some time. 33% of cannabis users surveyed said they vaporize cannabis, 9% said it was their most frequent method of consumption and 8% said it was their favorite method. There are many different styles of vaporizer on the market, including table-top vaporizers, hand-held vaporizers and vape pens. There are vaporizers for flower, vaporizers for concentrates and some that can use both. My favorite table-top vaporizer is the Volcano. While a bit pricey, the Volcano is a wonderful way to vaporize at home. There are several advantages to vaporizing over smoking. First, it is healthier. Because you are vaporizing the oils in the plant matter, rather than combusting and inhaling said plant matter, it is better for your lungs and throat. Second, the smell dissipates much more quickly. Because you are exhaling light vapor and not heavy smoke, there won’t be any lingering clouds in the air. If there is a disadvantage to vaporizing, it would be that, for some, the effects are not as strong, nor do they come on as quickly. This can actually end up causing some to over-consume, as they feel they require more cannabis to reach the desired effect, and because the effects can creep up on you more with a vaporizer. As far as vape pens go, the biggest advantage is discreetness. A vape pen is something you can easily use while walking down the street, outside your local bar or restaurant or even in your hotel room. It gives off very little vapor or odor, and the vapor dissipates very quickly. One of the biggest disadvantages of vape pens is that there are lots of hash oil cartridges out there that have “filler” oils, or things mixed with cannabis oil to either allow for easier consumption or to save the producer money by having to use less cannabis oil. For this reason, is it IMPERATIVE that cannabis oil cartridges for vape pens be purchased at a licensed dispensary, where you can be assured that the oil has going through rigorous regulatory testing before release to the public.
EDIBLES: Probably the fastest growing in terms of popularity, edibles are a great way to consume cannabis. 56% of cannabis users said that they consume edibles, 17% said it was their most frequent method of consumption and 22% said it was their favorite method. One of the biggest advantages of edibles is the duration of effect. The effects from edibles can last anywhere from 2-12 hours, sometimes even longer. This is great for consumers who require the effects of cannabis throughout the day but are unable to smoke, vape or consume in any non-discreet way during the day. This is also advantageous for people who use cannabis to help them sleep, as the effects of an edible could last through the night. Edibles are also available in many different cannabinoid ratios and combinations, which is not always readily available in flower. We also see this with tinctures and beverages. The biggest disadvantage to edibles is the ease at which one can over-consume. I’m sure we’ve all heard horror stories about someone taking too many edibles, and many of us have probably experienced it ourselves. This is partially due to another disadvantage of edibles, time of effect onset. It can take edibles anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for the consumer to feel the effects. Often times, this will lead to the person consuming more THC than necessary, as they believe that “it didn’t work” or “I didn’t take enough”, just because they don’t feel the effects after an hour. Next thing they know, it hits them all at once, and they can become paranoid or pass out. These horror stories have turned many people off of edibles, but as new “micro dose” edibles hit the market, and consumers are educated more about how to safely consume edibles, they have risen in popularity, and will only continue to do so, in my opinion.
TINCTURES: Tinctures and other sub-linguals are similar to edibles in their effects, but there are some advantages and disadvantages that differentiate them from edibles. 19% of cannabis consumers reported using tinctures, 3% said it was their most common method of consumption and 3% also said it was their favorite method. One advantage that tinctures have over edibles is onset of effects. As a sub-lingual, tinctures absorb into the bloodstream more quickly, therefore offering a faster onset. This also helps avoid the dreaded over-consumption that we often see with edibles. A disadvantage of tinctures would be a potential difficulty in dosing. As opposed to edibles, where you might be able to quantify your dose as “one gummy” or “one piece of chocolate”, your correct dose of a tincture might be measured in “drops” or “half a dropper full”, which, for people with a low tolerance, could result in too big of a margin of error. Always be careful and know your minimum effective dose before consuming edibles or tinctures.
BEVERAGES: Another rapidly growing method of consumption is cannabis beverages. While still consumed relatively little by cannabis users, I think we will see the numbers increase as consumers are educated about the benefits of beverages. 14% of cannabis consumers listed beverages as a way they have consumed cannabis, a mere 1% said it was their most frequent method of consumption and that same 1% said it was their favorite method. While I don’t expect these numbers to ever rival smoking, or even edibles, I do expect them to grow in the coming years. Most of the advantages and disadvantages of edibles also applies to beverages, but there are several differences as well. Similar to tinctures, an advantage of beverages is the effect onset time. Because the liquid is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth, beverages can take effect in as little as 10 minutes. This also helps with over-consumption. In addition, due to the introduction of many low dose beverages into the market, such as Cann, people can consume beverages throughout an event, rather than just take their edibles at the beginning and wait. This is good for social drinking events where a person does not want to consume alcohol, but wants to be able to drink throughout the night. Cannabis beverages are one of my favorite ways to consume cannabis. I highly recommend you explore the different options that your local dispensary offers!
TOPICALS: The last method of consumption we are going to talk about is topicals. Topicals can refer to balms, creams, transdermal patches, salves or any other cannabis product that you apply to your skin. 19% of cannabis users surveyed said that they use topicals as a method of consumption, 3% said it was their most frequent method of consumption and 2% said it was their favorite method. One advantage of topicals, with the EXCEPTION of THC-rich transdermal patches, is that they are non-psychoactive. This means they won’t get you high. This is great for people who need to use cannabis for localized pain, but don’t want to feel high at all, such as people at work, parents, etc. Something that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage with topicals, is that they are for localized pain. This means that if your knee hurts, you want to apply the topical directly to your knee, and it will only have an impact on your knee. Basically, you apply the topical to the affected area. This is an advantage to people who really want to focus on a specific part of their body, where it might be a disadvantage to someone with full body pain or discomfort. This is where it is important to be educated on what cannabis products are best for certain ailments and circumstances.
If you’re curious to learn more about any of these methods of consumption, or if you’re wondering what method might be best for you, please book a consult with Fog City Cannabis! We will answer any questions you have about different consumption methods, and we will walk through the menu of your local dispensary together, deciding which products will be most beneficial to your situation. Book your appointment here today!