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Cannabis Consumption Methods

• Inhalation
• Smoking
• Vaping
• Oral
• Edibles
• Tinctures
• Beverages
• Topical
• Transdermal
• Rectal & Vaginal

Inhalation – Smoking

Combusting (burning) dried cannabis flower to release cannabinoids and terpense in gaseous
form
• Onset time: 1-10 minutes
• Peak time: 15-30 minutes
• Overall duration: 2-3 hours

Form factors:

• Flower – whole dried cannabis flower, burned in a pipe, bowl, chillum, bong
• Rolled into marijuana cigarettes or “joints”, also available as “pre-rolls”
• Shake – tiny bits of dried flower and leaves

 Pros:

• Most familiar method of ingestion
• Allows for aromatic enjoyment of the terpene profile
• Sharing a joint is one of the most social ways to consume in a group
• Delivers THC to the blood and brain through the lungs for fast onset
• High levels of cannabinoid and terpene delivery into the body

Cons:

• Conspicuous and smelly
• Includes lots of other compounds in the smoke (vegetative particles, butane, etc.)
• Potential carcinogenic
• Can irritate airways and lungs

Inhalation – Vaporizing

Heating plant material or concentrates to their boiling point, but lower than the combustion
temperate, and inhaling the resulting vapor
• Onset time: 1-10 minutes
• Peak time: 15-30 minutes
• Overall duration: 2-3 hours

Form factors:

• Flower – whole dried cannabis flower or shake, heated with a heating element that
doesn’t “burn” the material.
• Vape Carts – small electronic cigarettes that heat cartridges containing oil
concentrated with THC into inhalable vapor
• Other concentrates: hash, butter, resin, rosin, shatter, “dabs”, etc.

Pros:

• No smoke is inhaled from burnt matter, just vapor
• Delivers THC to the blood and brain through the lungs for fast onset
• High levels of cannabinoid and terpene delivery into the body
• Vape carts, particularly those with distillate, can be very convenient and discrete

Cons:

• Temperature control can be an issue in getting to boiling points, which are debatable
• Vaping plant matter is typically a less potent (see above)
• Vape carts don’t always work well, require a charged battery
• Negative stigma from VapeGate and Vitamin E Acetate
• Can still irritate airways and lungs

Ingestion – Edibles

Swallowed orally through the mouth
• Onset time: 15 minutes to 2 hours
• Peak time: 2 to 4 hours
• Overall duration: 4 to 8 hours, sometimes longer

Form factors:

• Gummies, lozenges, chews, mints that are chewed and swallowed
• Pills, tablets, capsules swallowed without chewing
• Concentrated beverage mixers consumed in beverages
• Coming soon: baked goods & beverages

Pros:

• Arguably healthier than inhalation methods (no lung irritation)
• Discrete
• Come in a variety of consistent doses and easily enable micro-dosing
• Many taste great
• Easy entry point for cannabis novices

Cons:

• Variable onset times that can be long
• Easy to take too much for reason above
• High potential for misuse by children
• Pass through the GI tract and liver prior to blood stream and brain, weakening the
effects

Ingestion – Tinctures

Sublingual: placed under the tongue and held there for a few minutes, then
swallowed.
• Onset time: 15 to 45 minutes
• Peak time: 60 to 90 minutes
• Overall duration: 4 to 6 hours

Form factors:

• RSO – Rick Simpson Oil in syringes
• Vials with bulbed droppers
• Dissolvable strips
• Sprays

Pros:

• Good for people who don’t want to inhale and have dietary restrictions
• Arguably healthier than inhalation methods (no lung irritation)
• Discrete, odorless
• Often come with lots of other cannabinoids and terpenes

Cons:

• Strength of effects and onset time variable

Topicals

Creams, Lotions, and Oils rubbed onto skin
• Onset time: Varies, generally around 20-40 minutes
• Peak time: Not clearly defined, as effects are localized
• Overall duration: 2 to 6 hours

Form factors:

• Creams
• Balms
• Lotions
• Oils

Pros:

• Good for people who don’t want to put anything in their mouth or
lungs
• Arguably healthier than inhalation methods (no lung irritation)
• Good for localized effects (skin, joints, muscles)

Cons:

• Strength of effects and onset time variable
• Very limited variety in NJ currently

Transdermals

Patches
• Onset time: 20-60 minutes
• Peak time: Varies, can be sustained over a long duration
• Overall duration: Up to 12 to 24 hours
• Form factors:
• Patches you place on your skin

Pros:

• Good for people who don’t want to put anything in their
mouth or lungs
• Arguably healthier than inhalation methods (no lung
irritation)
• Good for slow release over time

Cons:

• Strength of effects and onset time variable
• Not currently available in NJ

Rectal or Vaginal

Suppositories

• Onset time: 15 to 45 minutes
• Peak time: 60 to 90 minutes
• Overall duration: 4 to 8 hours
• Form factors:
• Suppositories inserted into body cavities

Pros:

• Good for people who don’t want to put anything in their
mouth or lungs
• Arguably healthier than inhalation methods (no lung
irritation)
• Good for slow release over time

Cons:

• Strength of effects and onset time variable
• Not currently available in NJ

Final thoughts

It’s important to note that individual experiences with these different consumption methods can vary greatly, and the timing and intensity of effects can be influenced by a variety of factors including the individual’s metabolism, the specific product or strain of cannabis used, and the dose. It’s always recommended to start with a lower dose and wait to understand the full effects before consuming more, especially with methods that have a longer onset time, like edibles.

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