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What Are The Different Ways To Consume Marijuana?

When you enter a medical marijuana dispensary, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the options to choose from. Most traditional medications these days only provide one way to administer them whether it is a pill, cream, patch or injection. However, medical marijuana is different as there are a variety of ways to consume it. Which consumption method is right for you can depend on a number of factors, such as personal preference and what symptoms you are looking to help treat.


The guide below will provide you with an overview of what the different consumption methods are, how to use them, and what to expect.


Cannabis Flower

Cannabis flower is likely the form most of us are familiar with. It can be smoked using a variety of different methods including joints, pipes (bowls), bongs and more.

Pipes, or commonly known as bowls, are generally made of glass. Cannabis flower can be ground up, either by hand or using a grinder, and be packed into the bowl. Next, you will place your finger over the carb hole and light the bowl. Once the flame touches the flower, inhale until you feel smoke, release your finger off of the hole and exhale.

Similar to pipes, bongs are also usually made of glass and can come in a variety of sizes. First, you will pack the bong bowl with the cannabis flower of your choice. Once it is packed, light the bowl and begin inhaling until smoke travels through the water and up through the bong. When you've had an appropriate hit, pull out the slide from the bong and exhale.

Joints, or blunts, are a very simple method as it includes rolling the marijuana flower into the paper, lighting the joint or blunt and inhaling.


The onset of smoking cannabis is fast and can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to begin feeling its effects. Depending on how much you smoke and your tolerance level, the effects will usually last around two to four hours.



Vaping medical marijuana can be done by using a vape pen with a THC cartridge or by vaping cannabis flower.


Similar to smoking, you will feel the effects within 5 to 15 minutes and will last around two to four hours. 


Three of the main types of vaporizers you can use: tabletop vaporizers, portable vaporizers and vape pens.


Tabletop vaporizers are ideal for at-home use, as they require a solid surface to sit on while operating. Depending on the type of vaporizer, some use a bag that will collect the vapor, while others use a tube that allows the vapor to move. Tabletop vaporizers can be used with concentrates or cannabis flower and they include a temperature dial that can help regulate the temperature.


Portable vaporizers work in a similar way as a tabletop vaporizer, except they are smaller and much more discreet. They include a compartment that holds either the concentrate or cannabis flower or concentrate and with the click of a button, it will heat the components and vaporize the cannabis to allow for inhalation.


Lastly, vape pens are made specifically for vaporizing distillates and oils. Compared to portable vaporizers, their design is more simple as it contains only a battery and cartridge. The cartridge is filled with either cannabis distillate or oil and is heated once the battery is activated.


Cannabis-Infused Edibles

Edibles can include a variety of products such as brownies, chocolate, cookies or the most common form, gummies.


When taking edibles, it is important to pay attention to how much THC is in each edible. Typically, the average dose for edibles is about 10 mg. However, if you are a beginner it is recommended to start out with 5 mg.

Unlike smoking cannabis, edibles have a longer onset and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before the effects kick in. Therefore, if you consume an edible and do not feel the effects right away, wait it out and then determine if you would like to take an additional dose. 


Some of the significant benefits of edibles are that they are discrete and a good option for patients who do not wish to inhale their cannabis. 



Tinctures are alcohol extractions of marijuana flower and leaves. They can be administered simply by placing the proper dosage under your tongue and effects can be felt within 10-15 minutes. You can also incorporate tinctures into food or drink products by adding a few drops. With this method, you can expect to begin feeling effects about 45 minutes to an hour later- similar to edibles.


Tinctures produce no smell and do not cause irritation to the lungs, making it an ideal option for patients who want fast relief without having to smoke. 


Topicals include products such as creams, lotions, salves or oils. They are generally used for localized relief and are great for helping to treat areas of pain, sore muscles or skin ailments. Relief from topicals can happen within minutes and lasts up to a few hours. 

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