These days, cannabis patients have more options than ever when it comes to consumption methods. From smokable options and vaporizers to edibles and even topicals, there is no shortage of ways to use cannabis. But it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start! If you’ve been wondering how to consume cannabis, this article is for you.
Choosing a Cannabis Consumption Method
While the benefits of medical cannabis are undeniable, it’s essential to choose the delivery system that is the best fit for you. Every consumption method produces different effects that can last for different durations. And some methods will be a better choice than others depending on your treatment goals. The bottom line is that the best way to consume cannabis is a personal choice for every patient, and your ideal method may be different than those of others.
Let’s talk about the most popular ways to use cannabis and their advantages, so you can pick the one that works best for you.
How to Consume Cannabis
Smoking and vaporizing are the two different methods of inhalation, both of which provide a quick onset and similar effects. These methods involve either vaporizing or burning cannabis flowers, but can also involve other inhalation products like oils, shatter, hash, or “dabs.” When you use an inhalation method, the effects are felt almost instantly, and they can last between 1 and 3 hours (depending on product strength).
While smoking is the most popular and oldest way to use cannabis, a drawback of burning and combustion is that it can be harsh on the lungs. On the other hand, vaporization releases active cannabis compounds without actually burning the plant material. Keep in mind that even though vaping is safer, it might not be the best choice for those with certain conditions that affect respiratory health.
Ingestion with cannabis edibles is a good option for those who would rather not inhale cannabis products, and people love them for their stronger, more prolonged effects. They also come in a wide variety of treats to choose from, including:
- Gummies and Hard Candies
- Baked Goods
- Coffee and Sodas
- Chocolate bars
- And much more
When cannabinoids are digested, they are broken down in the stomach and then travel to the liver before entering the bloodstream. This process makes passing the blood-brain barrier more effective and increases the potency of the cannabinoids creating stronger effects. Because of this process, it can take up to two hours before ingested cannabis kicks-in. The effects can last anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on factors like:
- Product strength
Oral absorption is a great option for people who want to avoid smoking and vaping but don’t want the wait time of edibles. Cannabinoids can absorb directly into the bloodstream from inside the mouth, and the most efficient way is under the tongue (sublingual).
The most popular oral absorption products include things like tinctures, lozenges, mints, and oils. The full effects of this delivery system are felt a lot more quickly than ingesting, but not as quick as with inhalation. Expect for these products to take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes to kick in.
Last but not least, cannabis can be found in products designed for external use. These are referred to as topicals and include things like lotions, salves, and balms. They are designed to be rubbed on the surface of the skin and massaged into joints and muscles for focused effects.
With topical use, cannabinoids interact with receptors near the application site and are not absorbed into the bloodstream. That means you won’t feel any psychoactive effects from topicals, making them great for patients who want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without feeling “high.” They are also a perfect starting point for people that are curious about using medical cannabis.
Don’t know where to start? Ask a budtender! The knowledgeable budtenders at Seed Cannabis are your ally and are here for one reason – to help you personalize your cannabis experience. They can guide you through the sea of options and make recommendations based on your goals. We’re here to help!