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How Consumption Methods Can Make a Difference?

The increasing acceptance of cannabis, both for medical and recreational purposes, prompts a closer look at the different consumption methods available. From smoking marijuana using traditional methods like joints or a glass pipe to more modern approaches like vaping cannabis or consuming edibles, the choices are diverse.

Vaporizing cannabis, with its rapid onset and lower respiratory effects compared to smoking, has gained popularity. It’s vital to grasp the importance of knowing these methods, considering factors such as health effects, psychoactive outcomes, and the increasing prevalence of highly potent products.

In this blog post, we explain the importance of comprehending these different consumption methods, considering factors like health effects, psychoactive outcomes, and the rising trend of using alternatives like cannabis-infused liquids extracted from soda bottles.

Inhalation Methods

Inhalation Methods

Inhalation methods are common ways to consume cannabis, providing a rapid onset of psychoactive effects. Smoking marijuana, either through joints using rolling papers or pipes such as glass pipes, involves inhaling the smoke produced by burning the cannabis flower.

Vaping cannabis or vaporizing marijuana, on the other hand, utilizes a heating chamber to release vapour without combustion, offering a healthier alternative to smoking. Vaporizing cannabis allows for a more controlled intake of THC, the psychoactive compound in weed, resulting in more substantial effects compared to smoking.


Smoking marijuana is when individuals use rolling papers or glass pipes to inhale the smoke produced by burning the cannabis flower. The rapid onset of psychoactive effects is a characteristic feature of smoking, making it a preferred method for recreational marijuana use.

The smoke contains THC, the active compound responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. Smoking marijuana poses risks to lung health, including respiratory effects. Research indicates that smoking cannabis may be associated with a chronic cough and other respiratory issues.


A bong is a water pipe that filters and cools the smoke from burning weed. It consists of a bowl to hold the marijuana, a water chamber to filter the smoke, and a tube to inhale the smoke. The user places weed in the bowl, which is lit, causing smoke to travel through the water, cooling it before inhalation.

This method provides a smoother smoking experience compared to smoking marijuana directly. While bongs may offer a slightly healthier alternative by filtering some harmful substances, they still involve inhaling smoke, which poses risks to lung health.


Pipes are simple and efficient devices for smoking cannabis. You place a small amount of marijuana into the bowl of the pipe. As you ignite the weed with a lighter, inhale the smoke through the mouthpiece. Unlike rolling papers or soda bottles, pipes offer a straightforward way to smoke cannabis.

The process involves the combustion of marijuana, releasing THC and other cannabinoids in a psychoactive form. This inhalation method provides a rapid onset of effects, making it a popular choice among young people and recreational marijuana users.


This method involves rolling cannabis into thin rolling papers, creating a cigarette-like structure. When you smoke a joint, you ignite the rolled cannabis, releasing THC and other cannabinoids in a psychoactive form.

The inhaled smoke provides rapid onset and more potent effects than other consumption methods. While smoking marijuana through joints is a standard method, it comes with risks. The respiratory effects of smoke, whether from marijuana or tobacco, can impact lung health.


In this method, cannabis is rolled in a tobacco leaf wrap, creating a cigar-like structure. Unlike smoking marijuana through joints or pipes, blunts combine the psychoactive effects of THC with tobacco. When you smoke a blunt, you inhale the smoke, allowing for a rapid onset of the impact.

Combining cannabis with tobacco poses risks to lung health. Research from the National Institute suggests that smoking blunts may lead to respiratory effects and chronic cough.


Vaping marijuana involves heating cannabis in a device with a heating chamber to release vapour, providing a healthier alternative to smoking. You inhale the smoke, avoiding the harmful respiratory effects associated with smoking weed. Vaping offers a rapid onset of psychoactive effects, making it a standard method among young people seeking more substantial results.

Research suggests that vaping cannabis may have lower risks of respiratory issues compared to smoking. The heating process extracts cannabinoids like THC from the cannabis flower or oil, delivering a potent yet discreet method of consumption.


Dabbing is a highly potent inhalation method, offering a rapid onset of more substantial effects compared to smoking cannabis. To dab, you use a glass pipe or a dab rig, where a small amount of cannabis concentrate, such as hash oil or wax, is placed in a heating chamber. After heating the focus to a high temperature, inhale the vapour through the pipe.

This method is favoured by some cannabis users, especially among young people seeking a quicker and more intense psychoactive experience. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks associated with dabbing, including respiratory effects and potential mental health impacts.


Vaporizers heat the cannabis flower or concentrated oil in a heating chamber, producing a vapour that you inhale. This method eliminates the combustion process, reducing respiratory risks associated with smoking. The rapid onset of psychoactive effects makes vaping cannabis a popular choice among young people and adults alike.

Vaporizing allows you to experience the effects of THC, the active compound in weed, without the harmful byproducts of smoking. It’s a discreet and efficient way to consume cannabis, and research suggests that vaporizing may have lower respiratory effects compared to smoking.

Oral Methods

Oral Methods

You can consume cannabis orally through edibles, capsules, or tinctures. Edibles, like baked goods or gummies, allow you to consume cannabis without the need to smoke discreetly. Tablets provide a precise and measured dose, making it easy to control your intake.

Tinctures, which involve placing a few drops under your tongue, offer a rapid onset of psychoactive effects. Unlike smoking marijuana, oral consumption avoids the respiratory effects associated with smoke.

Edible Consumption

You consume cannabis by eating items like brownies, gummies, or beverages containing THC, the psychoactive compound in weed. The process works as your digestive system metabolizes THC, converting it into a more potent form.

Unlike smoking marijuana or vaping cannabis, edibles take longer to kick in. The onset of effects occurs within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consumption. This delayed onset is due to the time it takes for your body to digest and absorb the cannabinoids.

Cannabis Food & Drink

For oral consumption of cannabis, including cannabis-infused food and drink, the process is straightforward. You ingest cannabis orally by consuming edibles or beverages that contain cannabinoids, the active compounds in the cannabis plant.

Unlike smoking marijuana, which involves inhaling smoke and may have respiratory effects, oral ingestion eliminates the need to smoke cannabis. When you consume cannabis through edibles, the results take longer to kick in compared to smoking or vaporizing cannabis.

This delayed onset is due to the time it takes for your digestive system to break down the cannabinoids. However, once the cannabinoids are metabolized, the psychoactive effects are more potent and have a longer duration, like three to four hours.

Pills and Capsules

Capsules and pills are a straightforward way to consume cannabis. You ingest these in the same way you would any other oral medication. The process involves your body metabolizing the cannabis through your digestive system.

Unlike smoking or vaporizing cannabis, where the effects are rapid, oral ingestion results in a delayed onset. The liver processes the cannabinoids, including THC, before they enter your bloodstream. This method is preferred by some individuals seeking a more controlled and measured experience.

The effects of pills and capsules may be more potent and last longer than other consumption methods.

Tinctures and Sublinguals

Tinctures are liquids extracted from the cannabis plant, often alcohol-based. You place a few drops under your tongue (sublingually) and let them absorb. This method allows for rapid onset, bypassing the digestive system and delivering psychoactive effects sooner than consuming edibles.

Unlike smoking marijuana or vaping cannabis, oral forms eliminate respiratory effects associated with smoke. Tinctures and sublinguals are highly potent, with a lower proportion of THC compared to other substances like hash oil.

They are a preferred choice, especially for medical use, as the precise dosing makes it easier to manage treatment.

Topical Applications

Topical applications of cannabis involve directly applying creams or balms infused with cannabis onto your skin, which deliver active compounds like THC through inhalation. Topical applications work by absorbing cannabinoids through the skin.

This method is favoured for its localized effects, providing relief to specific areas without the psychoactive effects associated with other consumption methods. When you apply a cannabis-infused topical, the active ingredients interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in your skin, offering potential therapeutic benefits.


You can apply these sprays directly onto your skin, and the active compounds, such as THC and CBD, are absorbed through the skin into your bloodstream. Unlike smoking marijuana, which involves inhaling potentially harmful substances, using cannabis sprays eliminates respiratory effects. The rapid onset of products makes it a popular choice, especially for those seeking quick relief.

If you’re concerned about psychoactive effects, topical applications allow you to experience the medicinal benefits without the high associated with other consumption methods. These sprays are preferred for individuals looking for targeted treatment without affecting the entire body.

Creams & Gels

You apply creams & gels directly to your skin, allowing for localized relief without the psychoactive effects associated with other consumption methods. These products are particularly appealing if you want to avoid smoking marijuana or if you’re seeking relief for a specific area, such as joint pain.

The creams and gels work by absorbing through the skin and interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the body, providing a targeted treatment option. This method is discreet, easy to use, and offers a lower risk of respiratory effects compared to smoking.

Cannabis Patch

The cannabis patch is a convenient and discreet way to incorporate cannabis into your routine. This topical application delivers the active compounds of cannabis directly through your skin, providing a controlled and steady release of cannabinoids like THC.

The patch adheres to your skin, much like a bandage, and you can apply it to a venous part of your body for optimal absorption. This method is prevalent among those who prefer to avoid the psychoactive effects associated with other consumption methods.

Hybrid methods and emerging trends in cannabis consumption are providing new options for young people seeking alternative ways to consume weed. Vaporizing cannabis, or vaping, is gaining popularity as a smoke-free method.

This consumption method involves heating the cannabis without burning it, reducing the respiratory effects associated with smoking marijuana. Vaporizing cannabis allows for rapid onset of psychoactive effects, making it an efficient choice.

Additionally, consuming edibles, such as baked goods or liquids extracted from the cannabis plant, offers a discreet and highly potent alternative. A few drops of marijuana oil or a cannabis-infused soda bottle provide a different experience compared to smoking weed.

Dosage and Responsible Consumption

Starting with a low THC dose of 2 to 5 mg is advised for responsible consumption of cannabis edibles, beverages, and tinctures. This approach minimizes the risk of overconsumption, allowing you to gauge the effects before considering higher doses.

Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol or other substances. National surveys highlight the importance of responsible cannabis use, considering factors such as rapid onset, highly potent liquids extracted, and various consumption methods.

Cannabis Consumption for Medical Purposes

You can find relief by using cannabis products that contain THC, the active compound responsible for its therapeutic effects. Vaping cannabis or vaporizing cannabis extracts in a specialized device provides a rapid onset of action, allowing you to manage symptoms quickly.

Unlike smoking marijuana, vaporizing avoids the respiratory effects associated with inhaling smoke. Medical marijuana, whether in the form of oils, edibles, or tinctures, provides alternative ways to consume marijuana, catering to those who prefer not to smoke cannabis.

In a national survey, it was found that more THC, the psychoactive component, is present in smoked cannabis compared to other methods. Exploring different consumption methods based on your health needs is essential.

Considerations for Choosing a Method

Young people should be cautious, as cannabis can affect brain development. If you’re exploring ways to consume, vaporizing cannabis rather than smoking marijuana reduces respiratory effects and provides a rapid onset of psychoactive effects.

In a national survey, it was found that vaping cannabis might deliver more THC, the active compound in marijuana, compared to other methods. Keep in mind your health, especially lung health, when opting for smoking methods like using a glass pipe.

For those with a family history of mental health issues, be cautious with highly potent products like edibles or hash oil. Whether for medical use or recreational purposes, understanding the different consumption methods ensures you make informed choices about your cannabis consumption.


Why Do Young People Use Marijuana?

You use marijuana for various reasons, including curiosity, peer pressure, and the desire to fit in with friends. Some turn to it as a way to cope with anxiety, stress, and even depression. According to national surveys, young people often experiment with weed by smoking marijuana or vaping cannabis using soda bottles or glass pipes. The rapid onset of psychoactive effects from smoking marijuana may be appealing.

How Should I Use Marijuana?

Smoking marijuana using a joint or a pipe is a standard method, but be mindful of respiratory effects. Vaporizing cannabis through a vaporizer provides a rapid onset of psychoactive effects with lower respiratory impact. Edibles, such as baked goods or soda bottles infused with cannabis, offer a discreet option, but results take longer. Capsules and tinctures are precise consumption methods, while topicals and suppositories provide localized treatment. Understand that the THC content varies across products, with highly potent options like hash oil. Consider various cannabis consumption methods based on your preferences and health considerations.

What is the Safest Method of Consuming Cannabis?

For the safest method of consuming cannabis, opt for an under-the-tongue tincture, an edible topical product, or a dry herb vaporizer. These methods minimize the risks associated with smoking marijuana, eliminating the potential respiratory effects linked to inhaling smoke. Using a vaporizer reduces exposure to harmful substances found in smoke, while tinctures provide a rapid onset of psychoactive effects without the need for smoking. Edibles, such as baked goods or sodas infused with cannabis, offer a discrete and controlled way to consume, making them a safer choice for your lung health.

What is the Bio-availability of Cannabis Consumption Methods?

The bioavailability of cannabis varies significantly depending on the method of consumption. According to “Mechanisms of Action and Pharmacokinetics of Cannabis by Sirichai Chayasirisobhon”When you smoke marijuana, the rapid onset of psychoactive effects is notable, but the bioavailability of THC through smoking is only around 4% to 12%. THC, being highly lipid soluble, quickly binds to fat tissue, leading to a plasma half-life of 1 to 3 days in occasional users and 5 to 13 days in chronic users. On the other hand, vaping cannabis, specifically vaporizing cannabis, offers a bioavailability range of 11% to 45% for THC. Meanwhile, oral consumption of CBD has a bioavailability of approximately 6%.


There are various ways to consume weed, each with its considerations. You’ve explored the diverse landscape of cannabis consumption methods, from smoking marijuana using a glass pipe to vaporizing cannabis for rapid onset.

Encouraging informed decisions about consumption methods is vital for your well-being. As the cannabis landscape evolves, staying knowledgeable about the health effects, such as respiratory impacts and psychoactive effects, is critical.

Whether you’re using cannabis for medical purposes or recreational enjoyment, being mindful of your choices is essential.


  • Trends in marijuana edible consumption and perceptions of harm in a cohort of young adults (October 23, 2019) Beth A. Reboussin, Kimberly G. Wagoner, Erin L. Sutfin, Cynthia Suerken, Jennifer Cornacchione Ross
  • Responsible and controlled use: Older cannabis users and harm reduction (March 30, 2015) Nicholas Lau, Paloma Sales, Sheigla Averill, Fiona Murphy, Sye-Ok Sato, and Sheigla Murphy
  • Importance of a standard unit dose for cannabis research (February 21, 2020) Nora D. Volkow and Susan R.B. Weiss
  • Smoking, Vaping, Eating: Is Legalization Impacting the Way People Use Cannabis? (March 2, 2016) Jacob T. Borodovsky, Benjamin S. Crosier, Dustin C. Lee, James D. Sargent, Alan J. Budney
  • Patterns of Marijuana Use and Health Impact: A Survey Among Older Coloradans (April 26, 2019) Hillary D. Lum, Kanika Arora, J. Alton Croker, Sara H. Qualls, Melissa Schuchman

I’m Zoey Roy, a Cannabis Compliance Specialist and Cannabis Activist. I am experienced in guiding individuals and businesses through complex cannabis regulations. With a Bachelor’s degree in Research from McGill University, I’ve worked at Neptune Wellness for 4 years as a senior researcher. Now I serve as a Cannabis Industry Analyst at Tilray Brands, Inc. I provide essential support in ensuring compliance, educating clients, and facilitating legal requirements. My expertise extends to marketing and laboratory skills, making me a well-rounded professional in the field.