Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

Using Medical Cannabis? There Are Alternatives To Lighting Up

by Caitlin Obara

Medical cannabis use—just like cannabis use in general—has enjoyed an increasing sense of acceptance throughout the U.S. However, it's still not as socially acceptable to light up a joint as it is to open a beer or sip a glass of wine at dinner. This can be problematic for medical cannabis users who need to use their medication but can't find a discreet spot to light up. Here are some alternative options.


Vaporizing marijuana requires heating dried cannabis to a temperature just below 392 degrees Fahrenheit. There are some distinct benefits to vaping over smoking—namely, you don't have the actual smoke to contend with, which can be problematic for those with breathing issues. There are several different methods of vaping. 

Vape pens contain a small, battery-powered heating element that vaporizes your cannabis and allows you to inhale the THC—the active ingredient in the drug—without producing smoke that has the distinctive odor of cannabis. They have the ultimate advantage of being portable and can be tucked into a jacket pocket, purse, or backpack with ease. They also most resemble the traditional cigarette, which gives people some sense of familiarity when they use them.

Portable vapes of other varieties are available. Generally larger than a pen vape, other portable vapes tend to fit in the palm of your hand. There are both butane and electronic/rechargeable models available. Like vape pens, they are meant for the solitary user. They typically are able to hold a little more of the herb than a pen vape.

Desktop vapes are generally plug-in models and are stationary. They provide all of the benefits of a portable or pen vape, but the electrical connection tends to provide a nicely consistent flow of vaporized THC. And, unlike the portable models, desktop vapes can be used for group sessions. They typically are able to hold more cannabis than either a vape pen or hand-held portable vape.


Edibles are made from infusing food with cannabis. While they can make it easy to take your cannabis with you and consume it in public, it can be harder to figure out exactly how much of a dose you are getting. Some states are working on legislation that would require the maker of edibles to provide information about exactly how much cannabis is in each serving of an item, but until that happens, you need to educate yourself as much as possible about any edible you choose to use.

On the plus side, since edibles allow the THC in cannabis to enter your system through the gastrointestinal tract, the effects are known to be more intense and to last longer.