Cannabis Consumption Methods

Cannabis can be administered through various methods. Including: capsules, concentrates (dabbing), lozenges, tinctures, dermal patches, oral or dermal sprays, cannabis edibles, and vaporizing or smoking dried flower. 



Edibles – Edibles are food and drink items made with cannabis flower or concentrates, and the cannabinoids are absorbed through the digestive system. Products range from cookies to gummies to cooking oils and butter to infused coffees. This method of ingestion requires no inhalation, making it perfect for those who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis consumption without the health risks of smoking or vaping. However, the effects take longer to feel—it could be anywhere between 20 minutes and 3 hours depending on the edible and on your body. They are easy to dose as the potency is indicated by the milligrams of THC or CBD in one product. For example, each gummy in a pack of gummy edibles might have 10 milligrams of THC and 2 milligrams of CBD. So, if you want to consume only 5 milligrams of THC and 1 milligram of CBD, you can eat half of one gummy and know exactly how much of each compound is entering your body.

Cooking with cannabis requires that you first decarboxylate your cannabis. This means that the cannabis is heated at a low level which essentially allows the cannabinoids to be activated and accessible so that when the infusing takes place, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the fat in the food item.

Cannabutter and cannaoil are infused with cannabis for the purpose of incorporating into cooking. They can be purchased in the infused form or made at home using flower or concentrates.

Every Friday, we post a new cannabis-infused recipe on our social media. Follow us for all of your edibles inspiration!

Want to learn to make infused cooking oils at home? Learn more  here, here, and here. And check out this video on how to make weed gummies.

Tinctures – Tinctures are glycerin or alcohol-based cannabis concentrates.  Cannabis flower is combined with either glycerin or high-proof, food-grade alcohol to create a strong, cannabinoid-infused solution. To consume, they are typically dropped under the tongue or added into food or drink.

Tinctures are great for medical patients because they allow complete control when it comes to dosing. They contain varying levels of THC & CBD expressed in ratio form (e.g. 10:1 CBD to THC), so you will always know exactly how much of each cannabinoid you are consuming. This is helpful when trying to find that “sweet spot” for medical patients where you can reap the benefits of cannabis without feeling intoxicated.

Learn to make your own cannabis Tincture here, here, here, and here.

Topicals – Topicals are cannabis-infused products that are applied to the skin. There is a vast array of products available, including lotions, salves, oils, sprays, transdermal patches, and more. They are used primarily for localized pain and inflammation, and have no intoxicating affect even when they contain active THC. Because of this, they are a great choice for medical patients who want to reap the health benefits of THC without the psychoactive effects. They also have shown promise in treating some skin conditions, headaches, and cramping. Additionally, they often contain ingredients like essential oils to further the benefits of the product.

Learn to make your own cannabis Topicals here, here, and here.


Smoking – Smoking is one of the oldest and most popular ways of consuming cannabis. Flower or concentrate is heated to the point of combustion, and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The active cannabinoids are then absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. This method is popular due to the almost immediate onset of effects, but there are obvious health risks associated with inhaling smoke of any kind. For those who do wish to consume their cannabis by smoking, there are several ways to achieve this based on product being consumed and personal preference.

Rolling Papers – One of the most common ways of consuming cannabis flower is by rolling the flower into a cigarette and smoking it. The primary way of doing this is by rolling a joint. A joint is cannabis rolled up in a thin rolling paper. These papers are usually white, but come in a wide variety of flavors, sizes, and materials. They typically have a small filter and can also be purchased pre-rolled at a dispensary.

The other kind of rolling paper-based cannabis delivery is called a blunt, a cigar wrapper that has been emptied, filled with flower, and rolled. They are typically bigger than joints, but the cigar wrapper contains nicotine, making them less popular with health-conscious consumers.

Learn how to roll a perfect joint from this video of canna-royalty, Seth Rogan!

Learn how to roll a blunt in this video.

Pipes – Hand pipes, or bowls, are small, typically glass, pieces, commonly used to smoke marijuana flower. They come in a variety of sizes and designs suited to different needs and preferences. Pipes function by trapping the smoke from combusted cannabis, which is then inhaled. Pipes are preferred for their portability and user-friendly nature. They also use less flower than a joint or blunt, making them great for solo users and those who want to monitor their consumption.

Want to known more about how to smoke cannabis from a pipe? Check out this video.

Water Pipes – Another common method of consuming cannabis flower is via a water pipe. There are two primary kinds: a bong and a bubbler. A bong is an upright piece of glass that comes in many styles—but almost all bongs have a bowl, a downstem, and a tall, cylindrical smoke chamber. The bottom part of the bong—between the downstem and the smoke chamber—is filled with water. The smoke is filtered through the water before inhalation, cooling it down and making the hit less harsh. A bubbler is a smaller piece of glass that marries the benefits of a hand pipe and a bong. They are used like a pipe but have a chamber for a small amount of water, so like a bong, the smoke is cooled before inhaling.

Want to learn more about the anatomy and logistics of a bong? Check out this video.

Dabbing – Cannabis concentrates can be smoked, as well. This is done in primarily two ways—with a dab rig or with a dab straw. A dab rig is a piece of glass that slightly resembles a bong. It is used by heating the nail, a small chamber attached to the dab rig (think the bowl on a bong), with a torch, and then applying the concentrate on the using a small tool called a dabber and inhaling the resulting smoke. A dab straw, or nectar collector, is a long, cylindrical piece that is heated on one end with a torch. Then, the heated end is touched to the concentrate and the resulting smoke is inhaled. Dab straws are easy to use and portable, but the user has less control over the temperature and quality of the hit.

Learn how to properly use a dab rig in this video.

Learn how to properly use a dab straw in this video.

Vaporizing – Vaping cannabis involves heating concentrates or flower to a temperature where the cannabinoids are released without creating the toxins associated with combustion. This has made it a great alternative for those who wish to receive the benefits of inhaling marijuana (such as immediate onset of effect) while remaining more health conscious. Vaping requires a device—either a tabletop vaporizer, a portable vaporizer, or a vape pen. Tabletop vaporizers and portable vaporizers are both made in various models, some for flower, some for concentrates, and some for both. They can be expensive but allow the user great control over the temperature of the vapor they are inhaling. Once the device is heated to the set temperature, the product is placed in a chamber within the device and the resulting smoke is inhaled.

Dab pens are similar to e-cigarettes. There are generally two options when it comes to purchasing a dab pen—a rechargeable battery that is paired with a cannabis oil-filled cartridge, and a disposable, all-in-one battery and cartridge. They are portable and discreet, making them great for those who need to consume on-the-go.

Learn about which cannabis delivery method is right for you here, here, and here.

Information courtesy of:

Alternative Wellness Centers