Every year the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes its National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The report is designed to provide regulators and lawmakers a clear understanding of drug and alcohol consumption in the U.S. Its latest report was released in early November, and it takes a curious approach to cannabis. For the first time in the report’s history, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) collected information relating to cannabis consumption methods. Rather than focusing on where users get cannabis from, the survey’s questions were based on assumptions of buying state-legal cannabis from pharmacies and dispensaries. They relied on survey answers to explain how consumers are using the drug.
Smoking Wins the Day
The report’s authors made a point of mentioning the many cannabis consumption methods. Here is a direct quote from the report:
“The complete list of modes of marijuana in the survey questions include smoking; vaping; dabbing waxes, shatter, or concentrates; eating or drinking; putting drops, strips, lozenges, or sprays in their mouth or under their tongue; applying lotion, cream, or patches to their skin; or taking pills.”
Care to guess what the most popular consumption method is? At a rate of 78%, cannabis consumers reported smoking. Edible products took second place at 47% followed by vaping and dabbing at 37% and 18%, respectively. All other consumption methods were lumped together and reported at a total rate of 15%.
Both Surprising and Unsurprising
What survey respondents reported was both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. For example, the fact that more than three-quarters of the respondents reported smoking cannabis is not surprising when you consider both medical and recreational consumption. At the same time, it is surprising when you consider that many states have banned smoking. Utah is one of them.
Were you to visit the Beehive Farmacy in Salt Lake City or Brigham City, you could legally buy a certain amount of raw flower. But you could not take that raw flower home and smoke it. Your options for using it would be dry-heating it in a specialized vaporizer or using it as an ingredient in your own edibles.
States that have banned smoking have largely done so for health reasons. Lawmakers and regulators recognize the fact that inhaling any kind of smoke isn’t good for one’s health. On the other hand, they also realize that inhalation is the best THC delivery method when speed is a priority.
Vaping and Tinctures Work Well
Fortunately for Utah medical cannabis patients, there are other ways to deliver THC as quickly as smoking. There are two of them: vaping and tinctures. Vaping works well because it still relies on inhalation. As for tinctures, they are concentrated oils that are used by placing a drop or two under the tongue.
The skin under the tongue is highly sensitive. Furthermore, it is packed with blood vessels. So using a tincture gets THC into your system very quickly. It might not be as instantaneous as inhalation, but it is still pretty fast.
If you have questions about the best delivery methods for you, do not be afraid to ask our pharmacist when you visit Beehive Farmacy. A pharmacist is the most qualified medical professional to answer your questions about delivery methods, dosage, and even individual products.
As for the latest SAMHSA drug survey, it offers up a generous helping of fascinating data. You might want to take a look if you have some time to kill and are curious about the many cannabis consumption methods. It is a pretty interesting read.