Being a highly controversial substance, reliable information about the medicinal benefits of cannabis is scant, which consequently leaves more room for rumors and half-truths. In the US, the long-held view of marijuana as an extremely harmful drug has taken massive hits in recent years, not less from the fact that medical marijuana is now legal in two-thirds of all states.
Tens of other countries around the world are also considering legalizing medical cannabis, driven by recent research studies that show the plant is rich in therapeutic properties. Far from its famous intoxicating effects, cannabis can be used to treat HIV, Cancer, Autism, Alzheimer's disease, Epilepsy, Hepatitis C, PTSD, and Chronic Pain.
Is Smoking Marijuana Healthy?
The simple answer: No.
The long answer: smoking marijuana, just like smoking tobacco, typically involves the inhalation of smoke that may contain toxins from both the plant and the rolling paper used. This can have adverse effects on your lungs, and even the respiratory and circulation systems, and subsequently increase your chances of getting lung cancer, emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
In simple terms, it is not the cannabis that will harm you when you smoke a blunt, but the smoke itself. It is for this reason that even in jurisdictions where recreational marijuana is legal, ingestion by smoking is heavily discouraged.
How To Smoke Weed in A Healthy Way
Despite the risks associated with the practice of smoking weed, it is still the most popular way of ingestion. This is probably because weed is mostly sold in the form of rolled blunts and joints, which make smoking the most natural option. In light of all the underlying risks, there are some steps you can take to greatly minimize the smoke damage to your body and still get to enjoy the healing and relaxing qualities of cannabis. These include:
- Using Water Pipes - These work by filtering most of the harmful carcinogens present in the pot smoke and dissolving them into the water, which reduces the amount of damage getting to the lungs. Bongs and bubblers are the most commonly used in this case.
- Using Glass Pipes - Unlike aluminum or plastic pipes, glass pipes don't emit toxic gases when burnt to high temperatures, which make them ideal for smoking weed. Glass bongs are especially very popular among the "conscious smokers" crowd.
- Cleaning Your Smoking Equipment - Whether you use vapes, bongs, pipes, or bubblers, it is strongly advisable to clean them on a regular basis, preferably using isopropyl alcohol.
Healthy Alternatives to Smoking
If smoking is not your thing, you can get your cannabis fix through the following healthy ways:
Cannabis is commonly used in cooking things like cakes, cookies and even eggs, where it causes little to no side effects.
These are concentrated extracts of cannabis that are mixed with alcohol. They are mostly sold in small bottles and are administered using droppers, where you add drops to a drink or below your tongue.
This involves heating up cannabis oil to such a point where it produces the feel-good compounds without causing it to burn to a point where it releases carcinogens.
With the rise of the medical cannabis industry, new ways of absorbing the compound have been discovered, with the most popular and effective method being in the form of topicals. These are typically cannabis-high lotions, balms and oils that are applied to the skin for pain-relief and anti-inflammatory purposes.