In smoke-filled air, smokeless cannabis is an appealing alternative

click to enlarge In smoke-filled air, smokeless cannabis is an appealing alternative
Go gummy in these smoky days.

The Inland Northwest's fifth season, the now-annual smoke season, arrived with a vengeance last weekend as air quality around the region plummeted into the unhealthy and even hazardous ranges — at times on Sunday, Spokane broke the air quality index scale with air quality readings beyond the upper-limit of 500. (See our news coverage of the fire beginning on page 8.)

If you're a cannabis consumer, now would be a good time to consider the state of your lungs. Perhaps even to spare them from any more smoke. It would be a good time to consider edibles.

Cannabis, or specifically cannabinoids — the chemicals produced by the cannabis plant that contribute to its effects, such as THC and CBD — can be consumed in many ways. Smoking, or its cousin known as vaping, are the most common. Edibles are easily the second most common behind those.

Smoked or vaped cannabis delivers cannabinoids directly to the lungs, which quickly send those chemicals into the blood where they can produce a high. Edibles, which are consumed like food, take longer. They go through the stomach, not the lungs.

Due to the different pathways at play, each offers a different twist on the cannabis experience.

As a result, it takes longer for effects from edibles to kick in. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse — Canada is one of the few nations that has legalized cannabis nationally— edibles can take up to two hours to kick in. Inhaled cannabis, on the other hand, kicks in within minutes.

This discrepancy in start time leads many new users to double-dose, thinking their initial dosage was not strong enough. The issue here is, users are simply jumping the gun. The high is coming, and double-dosing will only make it stronger, and longer, than it should be.

Start small with edibles. Average doses per serving in Washington are 10 milligrams — packages are often sold with 100 milligrams of THC over 10 servings. Consider even going with a half-dose to begin. You can always scale up, but you can't pull back.

Another consideration is that the high from edibles lasts longer than from inhaled cannabis. If you have things to do in the morning, you may want to get an early start on your cannabis intake the night before. It will take longer to start, and it will take longer to fade away.

What it won't do is impact your lungs, and that might be the most important factor of all. Especially these days, with awful air quality having ravaged the Inland Northwest once again. ♦