When it comes to consuming cannabis, there are more options available than ever before. Whether inhaling, ingesting, or applying topically, different methods yield different results – and everyone experiences cannabis in their own way. With seemingly endless possibilities, it can be intimidating for new users to choose a product or method.
This guide will help you understand how to consume cannabis and has some tips on where to start.
Inhalation is the most common method of cannabis consumption. It’s not only easy, it’s also one of the quickest ways to get THC and other cannabinoids into your system. Typically, you will feel the effects in under two minutes.
Cannabis can be inhaled a few ways:
Joints or blunts
Joints, sometimes called cones, are dried flower rolled in cigarette or rolling paper. They are arguably the most well-known of the cannabis delivery systems. If you aren’t comfortable rolling your own joint, look into pre-rolled joints or cones.
Blunts, like joints, are dried flower but are rolled with cigar paper and are thicker, slower burning, and able to hold more cannabis than a smaller, more fragile joint. Blunts are great to share with a group of people. If you want to avoid tobacco try a palm leaf blunt.
Pipes and bowls
Compared to joints and blunts, pipes and bowls require no rolling, making them a quick and easy way to smoke marijuana. Simply fill the bowl piece with cannabis and light up to use.
On the side of most bowls and pipes, you’ll see a small hole – known as a carb or rush. You will need to cover this hole with your finger while you inhale. It is designed to help clear the smoke from the pipe, so your next hit isn’t stale. For more info, check out our post on how to use a pipe.
Bongs, bubblers, and hookahs
A popular way of inhaling cannabis is via a bong or water pipe. These come in all shapes and sizes and are typically made of glass, silicone, ceramic, or plastic. All bongs are designed to filter, cool, and condense smoke allowing for a smoother inhale and a larger hit. Similar to bongs, bubblers are water filtered pipes, typically with a carb hole. Here's how to use a bubbler. They are usually the size of a large pipe and offer a similar experience to the bong. And, of course, there is the hookah. It’s one of the oldest methods of smoking marijuana – as well as hash, tobacco, and other substances.
For those wanting a more portable and discreet way to inhale cannabis, vaporizers are a popular choice. With vaping devices, the cannabis flower or concentrates are heated to the point where the cannabinoids and terpenes vaporize but the material does not burn, so no smoke! The effect is strong and immediate.
Dabbing is a form of vaping raw concentrates, typically through a specially designed pipe called a Dab Rig. Dabbing uses THC resins extracted from the marijuana plant. These are usually extracted with butane. The resulting extract may be in oil form (hash oil or honey oil), a soft solid form (wax, sauce, crumble, sugar, badder, or budder), a hard solid (diamonds or shatter), or a rosin (extracted using heat and pressure) or resin.
To inhale dabs, a glass pipe, nectar collector, or bong with a specially designed attachment (banger or nail) is needed. The tip is heated with a blowtorch (rather than a lighter) and the resin extract is then placed into the pipe where it immediately creates a potent vapor. Dabbing is thought to produce a greater high than smoking marijuana and is not for beginners.
For those who would rather not smoke or inhale cannabis, there are a multitude ingestible options available.
Edibles are consumed orally and include gummies, chocolates, caramels, hard candies, baked goods, and more. When cannabis is consumed via edibles, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, it will take longer for the cannabinoids to take effect. It takes a minimum of 30 minutes but can take up to 120 minutes or longer. Once the effects take hold, they will be stronger and last longer – up to several hours longer.
People typically describe the effects of edibles as felt more in the body rather that in the head like with smoking and vaping. For those inexperienced users or those sensitive to the effects of cannabis, it is important to find your dose. A great recommendation is to start with a low dose (2.5-5mg) and give the edible plenty of time to take effect – as in, don’t eat more because you don’t feel it yet. Also make sure to experiment in a comfortable setting and do not over consume.
Tinctures, also called sublinguals, are oils extracted from marijuana plants and dissolved in a carrier oil. The user places a few drops of the solution under the tongue and it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, producing an intense and immediate effect. Because this form of marijuana is highly concentrated, highly potent, and fast-acting, it is generally used for medical purposes.
Topical oils are extracts from the marijuana plant that are then infused into salves, balms, bath soaks, oils, and other products. They are placed on the skin and absorbed to relieve localized muscle pain and soreness. Topicals often contain various essential oil blends to compliment the intended effect of the product. Because marijuana topicals do not produce a high, they are usually used only for medicinal purposes.