Marijuana Use: Your Biggest Questions Answered

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Washington, D.C., vacationers and residents of legal age can now walk into a dispensary, purchase marijuana, and try it legally. As a result, many people who never considered using weed before are now becoming curious about the drug and asking questions regarding the legal use of marijuana. Read on to discover the answers to some of the most common questions.

Is Smoking Marijuana Dangerous?

When you smoke something, you burn it, and burning gives off smoke. In addition to the active compounds in marijuana, smoke contains carbon, impurities and toxins, which can cause respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing (and could potentially increase the risk of cancer). The risk of experiencing side effects and complications due to smoking marijuana are higher with regular use; scientists don't yet know to what extent occasional smoking or smoking a joint one time might harm the body.

Is It Safer to Vape Marijuana Than Smoke It?

Vaping involves raising the temperature of marijuana to a point where it releases vapor with weed vaporizers like desktop herbal vaporizer products, portable dry herb vaporizers or herb or wax pen vaporizers. Research indicates that vaporizing dry herbs or concentrated marijuana oily waxes reduces exposure to toxins because vapor contains more of weed's active compounds and fewer impurities. Most doctors and public health officials tend to agree that vaping is less likely to cause side effects than smoking weed.

Still, there isn't yet enough evidence to prove that a cannabis vape pen, portable vaporizer or desktop vaporizer is completely safe. There is a risk that a vaporizer for weed could still expose the body to some harmful substances, such as ammonia.

Is Using a Bong or a Water Pipe Safer Than Smoking?

Bongs and water pipes are used to filter smoke with water. This has been shown to remove some harmful substances from marijuana smoke; however, research indicates that the toxins that are of the great concern remain present even when filtered with water. It's also been proven that water filtration actually removes some of the psychoactive chemical THC from marijuana smoke, making it less effective.

Is It Safe to Eat Foods That Contain Marijuana?

Eating foods that contain cannabis can result in a high, but not in the same way that vaping and smoking do. When you consume a marijuana edible, it will take longer for you to begin feeling results because your body must first digest the food and absorb it. Smoking and vaping provide much faster results, so there is less of a risk of using too much at once.

It's also important to understand that when you eat marijuana, the substance that affects your brain isn't THC. Your liver converts the THC in cannabis to another chemical when you eat it, and this compound is stronger than what's naturally in pot. As a result, there is more of a risk of side effects when using edibles like marijuana foods and cannabis-infused beverages. To read more about THC, click here.

Before vaping or smoking marijuana recreationally in a place where it's legal, take the time to familiarize yourself with local laws. There may be restrictions on the amount of dry herbs or waxy concentrates that you may have in your possession and limitations on where you can use herbal vaporizer pens and wax vaporizer pens or smoke cannabis.

Photo credit: vaporplants