Consumptions Methods

Conventional cannabis wisdom limits marijuana use to two widely-known methods: smoking it and eating it. This section explains how those are just the tip of the dab nail. If you don’t know what a dab nail is, read this section thoroughly and refer to it often. If you recognized the term, a quick skim could be help any potential gaps in your knowledge.


Contrary to popular belief, this method is not limited to combustion (smoking it from a pipe or joint for example), but also includes vaporizing, the smokeless process that uses lower, controlled heat for maximum potency with little to no carcinogens or other unwanted substances.

Combustion, the most widely known consumption method, is quick-acting despite its surprisingly low potency, compared to other methods, but guarantees you only inhale what is visible to the naked eye: flower (cannabis leaves), paper (if rolled into a cigarette), and smoke with perhaps a little ash. This ash is carcinogenic and, though minimal, does concern sufferers of respiratory conditions or a genetic penchant for respiratory issues. Naturally, secondhand smoke and pungent odors are additional cultural concerns, which explains public use and production prohibition.

Vaporization (vaping) provides enough heat to extract a high potency of cannabinoids without the resulting carcinogens from combustion. As a result, odors and secondhand smoke are significantly reduced if not altogether eliminated, depending on the vaporizer in use, as the variety of devices and brands has made for a vast, ever-expanding product market. This makes for a highly portable, efficient option adaptable to most forms of cannabis concentrates, typically oil and wax.

Dabbing a vaporization inhalation method by which a small wand (dab tool) carrying concentrate on its tip comes into contact with a highly heated dab nail (if you’re reading closely, that is the previously mentioned dab nail). The vapor that emerges from this contact is covered by a glass globe and then inhaled by a pipe attached to the dab rig. As this is a highly potent method, it is the subject of much debate, making it the most controversial vaping method and, for that matter, consumption method.



Most methods of this consumption type involve digestion (which delays bloodstream absorption until after traversal through the GI tract), making it an ideal option for a longer-term, control-released experience that can take up to two hours to take effects, then last all day in some cases. The following list is in ascending order of viscosity.


Tinctures (liquid drops) feature the most rapid effects onset, as taking a few drops under the tongue avoids digestion and immediately seeps into the bloodstream through the gums. Because alcohol (ethanol) is the most common extraction (production) method for tinctures, conversations about tinctures often include the word “proof” (alcohol content) the way discussion about alcoholic beverages does.


Although Beverages (soda or juice bottles) are liquids like tinctures, unlike tinctures they are meant to be swallowed. And unlike traditional sodas, a small amount of soda goes a long way. A quarter-cup portion is a great starting place for new consumers, who should wait at least half an hour to gauge effects onset before taking another dose.

Edibles are a great option for those who enjoy drawn-out cannabis experiences. Consuming them results in a delayed and control-release experience because of how the body process them. Typically, producing edibles involves adding tinctures to the ingredients list or infusing concentrates into the fatty ingredients of the recipe.

“New edible consumers should take care to read the label, often taking a fraction of the labeled serving size and waiting at least an hour before repeating dosage. This consumption method is best-known for a surprisingly and excessively potent effects onset, resulting in a negative experience including a chance for panic attacks and nausea.
It’s ill-advised to attempt home-made edibles, as it is a meticulous process strictly regulated for homogeneity, in addition to precise temperature requirements in order to avoid “smoking out” the THC the same way olive oil can easily be ruined by the wrong temperature.”


Simply put, this method involves a thick oil containing active cannabinoids applied to the skin for localized external effects. That is, they don’t result in any of the psychoactive or peripheral effects that the other ingestion methods provide. Topical products include lotions, pain salves and transdermal patches, which can lead to cannabinoid bloodstream absorption the same way nicotine patches do.