Methods of consumption

The effects experienced when consuming cannabis will vary by individual. Cannabis is available in a variety of forms, all of which will have varying effects on the mind and body, depending on various personal factors. There are four common methods for getting cannabinoids into your system – inhalation, ingestion, topical application, sublingual. Other methods of consumption can include juicing, nasal sprays, or suppositories. Different consumption methods will differ in the timing for effects to kick in as well as in the duration and intensity of these effects. Inhalation of cannabis will usually produce the quickest effects while ingestion will produce longer-lasting and stronger effects. Consuming small amounts, especially for beginners, will reduce the possible risk of harmful or unpleasant effects. 

It is important to understand how each method of consumption can impact your experience.

Factors That May Influence Your Body’s Response to Cannabis

Personal Factors

Genetics
Physical health
Mental health
Gender
Age

Cannabis Factors

Product type (oil, dried flowers, edibles)

CBD/THC content

Method of consumption
(inhalation, ingestion, topical application)

4 Main Methods of Consumption

Inhalation

This method of consumption involves the combustion (burning) or vaporization of ground dried cannabis flowers. Combustion involves rolling the dried flower in paper and lighting it with a flame or putting it in a pipe or water pipe (“bong”), which cools the smoke before it is inhaled.  Vaporizing or “vaping” involves the use of an electronic device that heats the cannabis to an ideal temperature for the release of its active compounds before it is inhaled. CBD vaporizer liquids can be vaped similarly to tobacco e-liquids.

Inhalation delivers the active compounds in cannabis to your body via the lungs. This method allows these compounds to quickly enter the bloodstream, producing rapid effects on the mind and/or body. Quantity and effect will vary by user. One inhalation may enough to feel the full effects. For this reason, it is recommended to wait 5 to 15 minutes after a single inhalation to gauge its full effect.

Ingestion

This method involves eating or drinking cannabis via capsules, oils or edible products. CBD oil comes as capsules, candy, foods, or beverages and can be mixed with a variety of products, including juices, baked goods, or salad dressing.

When you ingest cannabis, the active compounds enter your body through your digestive system and are carried by the bloodstream to your central nervous system and your brain. Because it takes longer to enter the bloodstream through this method of consumption, the effect takes longer to occur than it does through inhalation. This can lead to the consumption of more cannabis than intended. The effects from ingestion can also last longer than those experienced from inhalation.

If you’re new to ingesting cannabis, consider sampling a very small amount and wait at least an hour to determine your body’s response.

Topical Application

These cannabis products are used mostly for medical purposes. Even so, it’s wise to apply a small amount on your skin to start.  These work only on the uppermost layer of cells, so cannabidiol does not enter the bloodstream. Topical CBD can be massaged into an area of the skin experiencing pain, providing relief.

Sublingual

Sublingual delivery (under the tongue) is commonly used for CBD oils, tinctures, and concentrates. This method allows the compounds to be absorbed in mucous membranes and directly into the bloodstream. A patient choosing this delivery method will experience immediate and long-lasting relief.

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