The act of rolling and smoking a joint is a form of therapy from start to finish for a lot of cannabis consumers—the grinding of the flower, the packing and rolling of the paper, that quick lick to seal it all in; the smell of burning paper and weed after you touch the lighter’s flame to the tip of the joint.
It’s a ritual in itself, and one that a lot of folks truly enjoy.
Still, smoking cannabis, whether you’re using a joint, bong, or vape pen is hard on the lungs, arteries and heart. These cannabis combustion methods produce a number of the same toxic metals and chemicals as cigarettes and can cause all sorts of side effects from coughing to a chronic sore throat.
“Although the evidence is unclear as to whether cannabis smoking is linked with lung cancer, the fact that cannabis smoke contains many of the carcinogens found in tobacco smoke necessitates further research on this topic,” the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction explained in a 2020 report.
While medical authorities don’t have a definitive answer on whether smoking cannabis causes lung cancer the same way cigarettes do, there’s no denying it can negatively affect ol’ bod.
But this isn’t meant to make you feel all doom and gloom. There are several inhale-free ways to enjoy the benefits of cannabis legally in Canada, so whether you’re toying with the idea of cutting back on your smoking habit or just want to dabble in some alternatives. Here are three ways to enjoy cannabis without inhaling, plus some notable products to get you started.
Infused cannabis beverages like sparkling water, sodas, and even kombucha.
Drinks are probably the most familiar way to consume cannabis for someone who’s new to the weed world.
Cannabis drinks have come a long way since they first came to the legal market and there are an impressive number of infused options out there, including beer-inspired flavours, sparkling waters, kombuchas and teas.
Felt effects from drinks can come on faster than traditional edibles like gummies, but as with any cannabis you’re ingesting, you’ll want to start low and go slow. Still, many drink makers suggest that they can be layered, sort of like you would with a couple of glasses of wine or a few pints of beer.
Dose: THC, 10mg, CBD, 2mg
Whether you’re into beer or not, Bedfellows’ signature brews have impressive beer-inspired flavours that are definitely worth trying. The brand’s India Pals tastes remarkably like a traditional alcoholic IPA, but it’s booze-free and instead is infused with 10mg of THC and 2mg of CBD.
It’s refreshing with hop-forward flavours and notes of citrus, stone fruit and melon, plus this India Pals doesn’t have that sort of tinny cannabis after-taste that you’ll notice in some of the other cold weed drinks on the market.
Blue Majik 1:1 Lemonade Kombucha
Dose: THC, 5mg, CBD, 5mg
This naturally fermented sparkling kombucha—a first of its kind in Canada—is only made better with the addition of tasty lemonade. Impromptu, the makers behind it, crafts small-batch kombucha, and this one has been infused with 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD in each bottle.
It’s a well-balanced drink and people report feeling calm, happy, relaxed and energetic when using it.
Cannabis tinctures, sprays, and soft gels
Tinctures, sprays and capsules are all no-fuss ways to use cannabis. All three options are incredibly discreet, which makes them a solid choice for certain situations.
Oral sprays and tinctures are both easy to use and consumers can personalize the amount of CBD and/or THC they consume. Different brands offer unique flavour profiles and varying balances of THC and CBD, as well as indica, sativa and hybrid options, just like flower.
Capsules on the other hand are pre-dosed, discreet, and are easy to take throughout the day if needed.
Dose: THC, 4.50 – 5.50 mg/capsule, CBD, 4.50 – 5.50 mg/capsule
Redecan’s Gems 5:5 soft gel capsules are a welcomed balance of THC and CBD, which have 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD per cap.
The contents of the capsule are derived from a blend of flower that’s grown in the company’s greenhouse in the Niagara region and that’s been ethanol-extracted into oil, then placed into the capsule.
It’s a relatively mild dose compared to other capsules on the market, so deciding if it’s right for you will depend on your tolerance and goals.
High Potency THC Blue Raspberry Tincture
Dose: THC, 900mg, CBD, 0.00 mg
For folks after something strong, Alberta’s TRX and its high potency tincture is here. The ethanol-extracted hybrid oil is flavoured with blueberry for a pleasant aftertaste and used coconut oil as the carrier.
Place the desired number of drops beneath the tongue and enjoy. With tinctures and edibles, start with a low dose and increase slowly as needed.
Pot brownies, infused cookies, and even savoury options
These are not your parents’ edibles. Cannabis-infused treats have come a long way since those questionably-dosed weed brownies of your youth.
These days, brands are employing actual culinary experts to create impressive lineups of gummies, cookies and snacks that don’t have that overpowering taste of weed, all while meeting the legal max requirements of 10mg of THC per package.
With all edibles, start with a low dose and give it an hour or two to feel the full effects before indulging in a second.
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites
By: Bogart’s Kitchen
Dose: THC 10mg, CBD, 1mg
Bogart’s Kitchen, a Niagara-based maker of cannabis edibles, offers the best of both worlds with its sweet and savoury salted caramel pretzel bites. Each package comes with two tasty pretzel bites that are dosed with 5mg of THC each for a total of 10mg.
The ooey gooey caramel filling, which is sandwiched between two salted pretzels, has been infused with weed to give you a high that’s just as enjoyable as the act of eating these treats. Bogart’s Kitchen also does something called a “Cluster Puck,” which is like a super-sized version of these pretzel bites.
Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake
Dose: THC, 10mg, CBD, 10mg
Meet your new go-to treat to have with your morning coffee or as an after-dinner dessert. Toronto-based Olli has developed a delightfully delicious cannabis-infused Meyer lemon poppyseed cake that rivals their brownie (also a fan fav).
Each package comes with two nut-free cakes that are each dosed with 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD for a total of 10mg per package. The cakes are surprisingly moist and flavourful and don’t have an overly “weed” after taste as you might expect.