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Dipping is a common way to consume tobacco, but can you dip weed?
It turns out you can. In recent years, the cannabis industry has adopted dipping cannabis as an alternative to tobacco chews. Cannabis chews or dips are typically made by combining cannabis extracts with coco coir or other plant fibers.
While commercially available products can provide relief, it is not recommended to chew cannabis flower. Weed must be decarbed to be activated, and chewing cannabis flower is often reported to be an uncomfortable experience flavor-wise. So, if you want to dip weed, don’t try to make your own dip at home. Leave it to the professionals and purchase a product created solely for dipping.
Can You Dip Weed?
Commercially produced cannabis dips are few and far between. They are not as popular as common methods of marijuana use, such as smoking, vaping, or ingesting, but they can be helpful for those wanting to reduce their tobacco cravings.
Like tobacco dips (chewing tobacco), cannabis dips sit between your gums and cheek. Depending on the user’s preference, they are designed to be chewed or held in the mouth for 20 minutes to an hour. Although purpose-made cannabis dips can be effective, making your own dipping weed out of cannabis flower may be ineffective for the following reasons:
- Commercially available dips saturate a chewing substrate, like coco coir or other plant fibers, with isolated cannabinoids like CBD or THC. They do not contain cannabis flower material.
- Cannabis flower contains the acidic forms of cannabinoids like THCA and CBDA. The flower must be heat-treated (decarboxylated) before being dipped to have any effect.
- Little THC and CBD are absorbed by the body when dipped. This means that weed dips usually contain very high amounts of THC and CBD and are often much more expensive than other products like smokable flower or vapes.
As well as raw cannabis being mostly ineffective when dipped, it can also harbor harmful microorganisms like Aspergillus or E. coli. These are typically killed during heat treatment (like from a lighter when smoking) but may cause harm if ingested on raw flower. This is a safety concern when trying to chew weed, especially if you’re using products not intended for dipping.
The company Cannadips uses coco coir to emulate the feel of chewing tobacco, while other companies use various herbs. These products use cannabis extracts (not actual weed) and other complex manufacturing processes that improve the experience when using their products.
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Does It Get You High?
This will depend on the type of cannabis dip you are using. Many weed dips only contain CBD, which will not provide the classic marijuana “high.” Products that contain THC and are intended to be dipped will get you high.
The experience of THC dips will likely be similar to edibles, as most of the THC will be ingested when you swallow your saliva. When THC and CBD are ingested, the liver metabolizes most of it (converted to other compounds) instead of directly entering the bloodstream. This is called first-pass metabolism. Dipping weed will likely have a delayed onset of effects but may last longer than smoking or vaping.
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How to Use Cannabis Chew
The use of cannabis chew depends on the product. Some products are available in pouches, which are not designed to be chewed; instead, they sit in place for 20-60 minutes and slowly release the cannabinoids into the bloodstream. Others contain plant fibers that are designed to be chewed like chewing tobacco.
Due to safety and efficacy concerns, making your own dipping products is not recommended. Users should buy purpose-made cannabis dips if they want to chew weed and read the packaging instructions on how to use each product.
Potential Benefits, Risks, and Side Effects
Cannabis dips are available from reputable suppliers and may be safe to use. These products may have the following benefits:
- Provide a smokeless product (like smokeless tobacco) where no harsh chemicals are inhaled into the lungs
- Provide a safer alternative to tobacco products
- Slower, more mellow, and longer-lasting high compared to smoking
Only products intended for chewing or dipping should be used as dips. Users attempting to make their own chewing weed may face the following risks and adverse effects:
- Exposure to harmful microorganisms like Aspergillus and E-Coli
- Damage and irritation to the gums and mouth
- No effect from the weed resulting in wasted product
- Unknown risks and side effects from ingesting THCA/CBDA (likely low risk)
The Bottom Line
Commercial dip products are few and far between, and most are much more expensive than typical products like flowers and vapes. Weed dips should only be used when bought from reputable suppliers, and only products intended for chewing or dipping should be used this way. If you are looking at replacing your traditional chewing tobacco with something less addictive, CBD chews may help curb your nicotine addiction.
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