Haven't read the entire thread so maybe someone already mentioned this....
Now I don't necessarily recommend taking cannabis in any form just for the fact that its effects are so unpredictable psychologically and spiritually speaking (maybe Ayurveda or Tibetan Medicine have investigated this plant, I don't know); and, IF one insists on taking it, at least make sure that it is not (or at least much less) harmful to your physical health, meaning first of all do not smoke it (inhaling any kind of smoke directly is generally harmful), and do make sure that it is organically grown and clean (meaning free of synthetic-pesticides and not laced with any drugs).
To return to not smoking it; one could make the classic cookies or brownies, or make a tincture.
Smoking anything is generally just not a good idea, especially if you get it from your local dealer who most likely doesn't really know how it was grown and what synthetic-chemicals it might have been exposed to:
Just found the following which is interesting. I don't necessarily agree with the entire article (nor am I sure how overall reliable the "Maharishi" group is in regard to Ayurveda) and I do mostly agree with the following Ayurveda section of the excerpt from it (it makes sense that cannabis is mainly beneficial in medicinal mixtures, and not as a highly concentrated stand alone i.e. there's no benefit in regularly getting ripped out of one's gourd):
The Ayurvedic Perspective
One of the founders of Ayurveda, Dhanavantari, developed a medical lexicon of the qualities and effects of herbs, including cannabis. According this description, Cannabis is sharp, heating and light in its quality. Being sharp and ‘heating’, it increases humoral bile and removes humoral phlegm. It also stimulates delusions, slows speech, and raises the heat of the digestive fire. Note, these ancient symptoms are all so common to the cannabis user of today: hallucinations, distortion of speech and cognition and the ‘munchies.’
In Ayurveda, cannabis used as a recreational drug is considered toxic to the mind and body. It has been used for thousands of years as a component in various preparations but not as an isolated herb. In Ayurveda, it is not considered an important herb. However, like any botanical, this herb can have some good effects depending on what you are using it to do. When properly prepared in a synergistic formula and used in minute quantities under the care and direction of an expert, it can aid digestion. The use of cannabis is always in a synergy with other herbs and spices and never by itself. (No such products are sold in the United States)
People ask, why would it be that an herb that has medical use in some cases can cause negative side-effects in other cases? According to the Ayurvedic texts, medicine properly used becomes nectar and improperly used become poison. When marijuana is used in ways not prescribed or intended (for example, in doses and for periods of time not prescribed), it can cause a host of imbalances and side-effects including stimulating delusions and slowing speech.
“Recreational use of marijuana creates ama,“ says Jadgish N Vaidya, director of Maharishi Ayurvedic programs at Lancaster Health Center, in Lancaster Massachusetts. “It impairs digestion and intellect, it upsets hormonal balances, and it can be addictive, in the traditional view of Ayurveda.” The classically trained Vaidya, or Ayurvedic expert adds, “It is not a path to enlightenment. Enlightenment is the moment-to-moment awareness of totality; the full inner and full outer value of awareness. Not the loss of awareness.”
Marijuana and the Mistake of the Intellect – The Ayurvedic Source of Disease
Pragya aparadh means the mistaken intellect, which becomes isolated from the rest of the universe. It is considered in Ayurveda to be the root cause of all disease and problems in life. Through the mistake of the intellect our physiology forgets its basis in the unmanifest, unified state of pure consciousness. There are three key elements to Pragya aparadh. All three features of this mistaken intellect are caused and aggravated by continued recreational use of cannabis.
1.) Buddhi Vibrhramsh is the disturbed intellect. In this condition one sees that which is harmful as useful.
2.) Dhriti Bhramsha is disturbed self-control where one cannot be restrained from that which is asatmya (unwholesome), or that which deranges the mind.
3.) Smriti Bhramsha, disturbed memory where the texts say that the Self (sattwa) is covered by rajas and tamas.
Ayurveda states that the ideal mind is Sattwa, or purity. Intake of cannabis aggravates Rajas as seen in the increase of appetite and in long term user’s aggression, and Tamas as seen in the dullness, tiredness, incoherent thinking and memory loss. Using cannabis from an Ayurvedic perspective, for something other than what it is intended, in ways not prescribed or intended, causes imbalance to manas, the mind. Note here that these features are consistent with the loss of prefrontal cortex executive control over thinking, feeling and behavior associated with cannabis use. Increasing dysfunction in this brain region is a prime nexus for extraordinary potent hold of addiction and why overcoming addiction is so difficult.
Cannabis use also interferes with Ojas, the master biochemical which promotes unity, immunity and balance on all levels of mind and body. The physiology reflects Ojas through its balanced self-referral functioning. When Ojas is imbalanced or obstructed, the result is susceptibility to disease, incoherent thought, speech and action, an inclination to laziness, somnolence, and increased sleep. Ojas is also associated with sukra or reproductive tissue. Recent research has shown the immunosuppressive effects of cannabinoids causing the susceptibility of cannabis users to certain cancers and infections. Modern research suggests that heavy marijuana use lowers men’s testosterone levels and sperm count and quality.
As indicated, used as a recreational drug, Cannabis is toxic. Smoking is a delivery therapy for some herbs for a variety of conditions in Ayurveda. It is not used in any Maharishi Ayurveda treatments in the US. Traditionally, this kind of delivery requires the strict preparation of ingredients in precise formulations for very specific conditions. If used at all, it is prescribed at specific times by trained experts under careful expert guidance. It is further stated in Ayurveda that if one smokes the wrong substance at the wrong time, it will create disease.
Cannabis smoke contains 400 compounds including 60 cannabinoids. However, because of its lower combustibility it contains 50% more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalene, benzanthracene, and benzopyrene, than tobacco smoke. A recent Canadian study found that marijuana smoke caused significantly more damage to cells and DNA than tobacco smoke. There is now convincing evidence that due to this toxicity of cannabis that regular usage damages DNA leaving the possibility of the initiation of cancer development.
Research indicates that loss of mental stability is one significant side-effect from recreational marijuana use. In Ayurveda the Sanskrit term Unmaada means a profound impairment of judgement, perception and clarity.
The cause of Unmaada is multifold:
1.) The aggravation of the doshas
2.) Regimens not conducive to health
3.) Uses of substances or behaviors not conducive to health
These conditions can cause the mind and intellect to lose their state of balance. Unmaada is characterized by perversion of the mind, intellect, consciousness, memory, desire, manners, behavior and conduct.
These traits can be seen in Cannabis users as the different kinds of Unmaad.
Vata unmaada is characterized by longing for eatables not available. It is also characterized by out of context or inappropriate, incoherence in speech, smiling, laughing, dancing and singing.
Pitta unmaada shows excitement on inappropriate occasions, about hazardous or harmful activities; or becoming a motivational.
Kapha unmaada is seen as becoming slothful and sleepy, developing an aversion to cleanliness, staying in one place, inappropriate silence and sluggishness in speech and manner.
Alternatives to Creating Balance
It is understandable that people seek out natural substances like herbs to bring balance to their lives, to relax and to relieve pain and stress. However, from the perspective of modern science and from Maharishi Ayurveda®, the use of marijuana can create serious imbalances in the mind and body, especially when used recreation-ally. The pleasurable effect of a recreational substance is transient at best, with substantial negative side effects with continued use. And, though there are those who hope that marijuana might contribute to their health and enlightenment, it is the opinion of Ayurvedic experts that it does the opposite, contributing to loss of mental balance and integration. Research documents that the evolution of brain function associated with the experience of enlightenment depends upon increased neural coherence or integration. The use of marijuana, regardless of its ability to induce some subjective temporary relief, is incompatible with the path of enlightenment. Introducing disorder has never been an effective source of creating orderliness and balance in brain function.