Okay, these aren’t standard questions, but the reason I bring this up today, is because standard or not, the internet is full of them, and I think it’s good to go over exactly what can be smoked…and what cannot. When it comes to questions of whether a person can smoke a tincture, a gummy, an oil, a capsule, or some other cannabis product, it’s not just about whether it can be done, but what issues could arise from such use. Let’s get into it!
Can you smoke a tincture or a pot edible? Probably best to be careful of these things, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of smokable and vapable cannabis products. We cover everything interesting in the cannabis industry, and you can stay up-to-date by signing up for THC Weekly Newsletter, which will also net you premium access to deals on products like vapes, edibles, and cannabis paraphernalia! We also offer a range of cannabinoid products like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC, which you can find in our “Best-of” lists. As always… *If you are unsure of these products and don’t feel comfortable using them… we do not advise that you do. There are plenty of options, stick with what you feel safe with.
I’m putting this first because in some ways, it’s the most important one of these to answer. So to start with, can you physically do it? Sure, but you can physically do many things that aren’t a good idea. Like stepping off a cliff, juggling knives without training, or running up to pat that super friendly looking alligator. Sometimes it’s not about the physical ability, but how much sense something makes.
Yes, tinctures are a great extraction method for cannabinoids like THC. A tincture denotes the idea of putting the cannabis into a substance, and having the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds leach out into the substance. The most popular way to do this is with ethyl alcohol (NOT methyl), and usually a strong version of it. When I used to make weed tinctures I used 96% Russian alcohol, that I had to promise I wouldn’t drink right down to the guys in the liquor store selling it to me.
Alcohol isn’t the only thing that can be used though. Glycerin is popular for those who’d prefer no alcohol, as well as vinegar, which can be used. The idea is to soak the plant material for quite some time, with different techniques involving how and when to shake it, whether cold should be used, and the length of time it sits. At the end of the leaching process, the plant matter is separated by running the tincture through cheesecloth to take out the plant material, and to leave the user with a strongly infused substance that can be taken in as little as drops.
So, can you smoke a tincture? You probably should not. Yes, there are some concentrated weed compounds, but there’s also a whole bunch of alcohol, glycerin, or vinegar, and some of these substances should NOT be smoked. Inhaling alcohol vapors makes a person intoxicated extremely fast, and its very easy to overdose as the body cannot vomit to get it out, as with standard drinking. In this case, the alcohol doesn’t go through the digestive tract, but straight to the bloodstream. And while this method is actually used medically for treating pulmonary edema and viral pneumonia, this is done in a strict medical setting under intense supervision. Plus, the vapors can cause damage to the brain and lungs much worse than drinking.
This also comes up with the idea of whether its cool to put alcohol in your bong for flavoring purposes. And though some sites promote the use of low-alcohol wines, it always comes with the warning that smoking alcohol vapors – especially from a strong spirit, is a very bad idea. Keep in mind, if you do this, you’ll most likely be dealing with the effects of the alcohol, which isn’t the intended purpose of smoking a weed product.
On the other hand, vegetable glycerin, is a safer compound, but how it reacts when heated for smoking remains unknown. While there is evidence that smoking glycerin can lead to lung inflammation, especially over time, it doesn’t seem to hold the danger that smoking alcohol does. It’s always good to remember, that something safe to ingest, or rub on the skin, isn’t always going to react well under high heat, so while it’s not associated with the same dangers as alcohol, the idea of smoking it is certainly an experimental way to see what happens to glycerin under high heat.
Vegetable glycerin is nonetheless used in many vape liquids, though vaping does not involve the same heat level of smoking. Smoking something can mean burning it at a temperature as high as 4000° F (2200° C), while vaping is done at 325°F (163°C) – 430°F (221°C). This is a massive difference. Smoking also produces smoke, while vaporizing produces a vapor. Smoke comes from combustion – or burning a material, and vaping comes from heating it essentially to a boiling point. This produces different byproducts, which create different levels of danger. So while it might be okay to vape glycerin, the idea to smoke a glycerin tincture is something else entirely.
As far as vinegar, there’s literally no info out there on the results of smoking it, and it’s not as popular for use with tinctures anyway. The lack of general information, however, would indicate that this is not a practice generally done, and should be gone into with much caution.
Much like the question of whether its safe to smoke a tincture, smoking a gummy, or edible of any kind, means also smoking all that other stuff involved. Gummies are food products with sugar, food coloring, and other ingredients not meant to be smoked. In fact, a little known piece of info is that sugar is often used to help ease the harshness of cigarettes, and its also known to produce higher toxin levels in cigarettes as well. Of course, we already know that cigarettes aren’t the best thing for life and health, and few pay attention to yet another additive put in them that shouldn’t be inhaled.
Once again, the idea of using an edible product for use with high heat means that every ingredient will be exposed to this high heat, and many chemicals either react badly with heat, or have reactions that have not been tested enough to be deemed safe. Though it might seem like a super cool personal science experiment, there are better ways to spend your time, and investigate the world around, than to attempt to inhale things not meant to be inhaled.
This is the same when considering smoking a weed capsule. Capsules have a coating that is made of several chemicals. If you look at the ingredient list, there are often other chemicals used that help them to keep from going bad, called ‘excipients’, which also involve chemicals to color, or act as fillers. We question all the time whether these are safe to eat, so the idea of lighting them up, is definitely questionable at best. Online searches don’t turn up much about smoking edibles in general, which indicates that not only is this practice not generally done, but that it probably won’t have good effects.
This is the one part that gets a yes. You can either smoke or vape an oil, and this is done all the time. Not only are vape cartridges oil-based, but it’s common to put cannabis oil on a cigarette or joint, or smoke it directly in a pipe (though this is functionally difficult). Once again, the idea of smoking vs vaping comes in, and as always, lower heat is generally desirable when it comes to how the particles will react with each other, and with your body. Smoking is always the less safe method, but it is done very frequently with oils. Oils don’t actually burn well, which is why when smoked, they’re usually added to flowers or tobacco.
As with many products, this doesn’t mean it’s always safe. A pure oil is different than one with added chemicals like excipients. Many store bought oils have added chemicals and this can make it questionable as to how healthy they are to smoke – or even vape. For this reason, it matters which product you buy, and if its from a store, you might want to take it as directed internally, rather than experiment with lighting it on fire. If you make your own, you can know better what’s in it.
The last point to make is that while we know that burning anything and breathing it in is bad, the idea of breathing in oils is questionable as well. Think about it, our lungs weren’t fundamentally made for this, they were made for breathing in air. Though vaping has certainly not shown the same injury and death statistics as smoking, oil vapes are relatively new, and the long term effects of breathing in oil, are not exactly known.
Most research on vaping is unfortunately scare tactics actually related to other chemicals involved, but it should be remembered that breathing in oil is not natural for humans, and this should always be kept in mind. It also should be remembered when reading scare tactic articles about diffusing essential oils, that a diffuser merely put s certain amount in the air, while directly vaping (or smoking) is taking a powerful hit right into the lungs. These are wildly different things.
We’ve established that vaping any of these materials is better than smoking them, and that some, like smoking an alcohol tincture, or a weed gummy, are never a good idea. But what about other substances? Magic mushrooms for example are also very popular, and also almost always eaten. Is it possible to smoke a mushroom?
The answer here is that whether its detrimental or not, this is almost secondary to the fact that you’re not going to get the desired result of getting super high. In most forums, anyone who tried it was generally disappointed at best, with some going as far as to say it made them feel not well after. And this makes sense. We know how dangerous mushrooms can be. Eat the wrong one, and well, you’re dead. Part of the reason for it not working – though this has not been well investigated yet, is that psilocybin is not thermally labile, which means it breaks down at high temperatures.
On anther level, besides once again worrying about how heat can affect things, smoking a fungus also promotes getting mold in the lungs which can promote infection. New technology coming out with psilocybin is generally geared toward use with skin patches, as this method does seem to be useful, whereas smoking them is not.
The one exception here may be fly agaric mushrooms, the mushrooms that actually look like the standard idea of magic mushrooms, with a red and white spotted cap. These mushrooms contain muscimol and ibotenic acid rather than psilocybin, and effect GABA more than serotonin receptors. In forums there are mixed reactions, with some saying they got psychedelic effects, some just saying they felt better, or more intensely experienced current feelings, and some who didn’t get a reaction at all. Some spoke of negative symptoms like chest pains, and feeling unwell. Like other mushrooms, smoking these is an at-your-own-risk activity, and should be considered heavily before trying.
Not everything is meant to be smoked in life, and this is okay. Sure, we’re curious and experimental, but sometimes its best to be reasonable in our personal experimentation. No, its not a great idea to smoke a tincture with alcohol, and questionable to smoke any other. No, you shouldn’t be smoking something meant to be eaten, and yes oil gets a pass, but always consider that we’re air breathing animals, not oil breathing animals. Weed products are great! But they should be used as directed.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.
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