In the new world of legal marijuana there are so many options that finding the right one can be overwhelming. Dispensaries are full of innovative products with many different ways to consume cannabis. Understanding the different methods of ingestion is the first step in picking the right product. How do you pick the right way to consume cannabis that works best for you?  

Know The Basics to Consume Cannabis

There are 4 ways to consume cannabis, applying it to the skin, ingesting it orally, absorbing it under your tongue, and inhalation. When we apply cannabis to the skin it’s called a topical. Cannabis when eaten as food it’s an edible, but when taken sublingually (under the tongue) it’s called an oral drop or tincture. The most common methods of inhaling cannabis are smoking or vaping.

1. Topicals

We can consume cannabis by applying it directly to the skin, like creams, balms, bath soaks, and sprays are called topicals. Skin is the body’s largest organ and has an amazing ability to synthesize and respond to cannabinoids. Topicals can treat localized pain and inflammation, superficial burns, and eczema. They’re a perfect way to get the benefits of cannabis with no psychoactive side effects. Effects begin around 20 minutes after application and last about 3 – 4 hours, and with no psychoactive effects you can re-apply as often as you like.

2. Oral Drops (Tinctures)

Also known as tinctures, oral drops are cannabis extract suspended in an oil or alcohol base, which should be taken sublingually (under the tongue). Oral drops can be custom blended to address specific conditions like insomnia and chronic pain. They work best on an empty stomach, when held under the tongue for at least a minute. The typical onset for sublingual absorption is 10 – 15 minutes, peaking at about 30 minutes and effects last 2 – 4 hours.

3. Edibles

When cannabis oil is infused into foods like chocolates or gummies its called an edible. Good for those who cannot, or choose not to smoke cannabis, edibles offer the longest lasting effect of all methods. Because they can be unpredictable, beginners should always go low and slow when starting out. Read the product labeling, understand the milligrams per dose before taking and avoid alcohol until you know how edibles will affect you. Effect onset may occur between 30 minutes to 2 hours after consumption and last between 3 – 6 hours.

4. Inhalation

We inhale cannabis into the lungs such as smoking or vaping. Traditionally, people smoke cannabis flower or hash by rolling them by hand, but dispensaries often sell perfectly measured pre-rolled joints. Vape pens are devices that produce vapor rather than smoke, making them gentler on the lungs. Made of a rechargeable battery and cannabis oil filled cartridge, vape pens are a convenient way to consume cannabis.

Because inhaled cannabis enters the bloodstream quickly, it’s the fastest way to feel the effects, allowing users to make in-the-moment adjustments, inhaling as much or as little as needed. It’s especially effective for anyone experiencing nausea or those who are unable to consume other medications. The effects of inhalation are almost immediate, with peak effects about 10 – 30 minutes after inhalation, typically lasting about 2 hours.

The Choice Is Yours

Now that you know the 4 ways to consume cannabis: topicals, oral drops/tinctures, edibles, and inhalation, you’re ready to choose what’s right for you!