What is the best way to consume cannabis? Is traditional inhalation better than vapes, edibles, and tinctures? The answer varies from person to person. There are many different ways to consume cannabis (and many different types of cannabis). Finding the right intake method for you may require some exploration.
For people who have never used cannabis before, we recommend trying many different intake methods to discover the best fit for your needs. However, even experienced cannabis users may benefit from a new intake method. The way our bodies respond to cannabis can change over time, so switching to a new intake method can impact how your body responds.
This guide will help you determine whether traditional inhalation, vapes, edibles, tinctures, or other cannabis intake methods are right for you.
What is it? When we talk about cannabis, traditional inhalation is often the first intake method that comes to mind. Traditional inhalation refers to cannabis that is smoked in rolling papers, pipes, water pipes, or other devices. The dried cannabis flowers are ground up, packed into a smoking device, then burned. The user inhales the cannabis smoke directly into their lungs.
Recommended for: Traditional inhalation can be a great choice for new users because it’s widely available and often less expensive than other intake methods. Many dispensaries sell individual “pre-rolls,” which are a convenient, cost-effective way to sample different types of cannabis.
Disadvantages: Because you’re inhaling smoke, traditional inhalation may aggravate respiratory issues like asthma. Cannabis smoke often has a powerful odor, as well, which some users find unpleasant. It is also illegal to smoke indoors in many states.
Vapes, Dabs and Oils
What is it? Vapes, dabs, and oils have become one of the most popular cannabis intake methods in recent years. Vaporizers use a powerful heat coil to raise the temperature of cannabis dabs or oils. Vapes are available as pre-loaded, disposable pens, or you can buy more expensive models to use with your own dabs and oils.
Dabs and oils are highly concentrated and free from the excess plant material found in traditional cannabis flowers. This results in a “clean” vapor, often with higher levels of pure cannabinoids. Many users find that vaping delivers a stronger effect that comes on faster and lasts longer than traditional inhalation.
Recommended for: Vaping dabs and oils is an option for casual users or individuals who are averse to smoke. They are also more discreet than traditional inhalation. Many cannabis vapes are visually indistinguishable from nicotine products. They also have little to no odor.
Disadvantages: Vapes, dabs, and oils can be more expensive than other cannabis intake methods. Vapes are also prone to the same issues as any electronic device. They need to be recharged and can be damaged by being dropped or exposed to moisture.
Edibles (Food and Drink)
What is it? An edible is any form of cannabis consumed as a food or drink. The most popular commercial edibles are usually desserts or snack foods, like cookies, chocolate bars, gummy candies, popcorn, and chips. Cannabis-infused lemonades, iced teas, coffee drinks, and sodas are also available in most dispensaries. There are even commercial microbreweries that make cannabis craft beer.
However, if you take the DIY approach, almost any food item can become an edible. By making your own cannabis oil, butter, or simple syrup, you can add cannabis to virtually any of your favorite recipes.
Recommended for: Cannabis edibles are an option for nonsmokers, foodies, or anyone looking for a new way to experience cannabis. Edibles can be consumed discreetly in many places where smoking and vaping are banned. (However, always be sure to check your local cannabis law before consuming edibles in public spaces.)
Disadvantages: Depending on the serving size and amount of THC, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more to feel the effects of a cannabis edible. As a result, some people accidentally consume more cannabis than intended when using edibles. Edibles can also produce an effect that lasts longer and feels more intense than other forms of cannabis. For some, this can be unpleasant.
What is it? Tinctures are a liquid form of cannabis. Also known as cannabis extracts, tinctures are created by infusing liquid (usually glycerin or alcohol) with highly concentrated cannabis. Tinctures are usually packaged in small bottles with an eyedropper, which is used to measure servings.
Cannabis tinctures are available commercially in a wide variety of strains. Tinctures are among the most popular intake methods for medicinal cannabis and CBD. Cannabis tinctures can be consumed directly, added to food and drink, or used topically.
Recommended for: Tinctures are recommended for users who prefer an alternative to smoking and vaping. CBD tinctures can be used daily in small amounts, and many CBD tinctures are even recommended for pets. When stored properly, tinctures have a longer shelf life than other forms of cannabis.
Disadvantages: Because they are highly concentrated, commercial tinctures are often more expensive than other cannabis intake methods. If you’re using a tincture for the first time, it can also be hard to gauge the correct dose.
Choosing the Right Cannabis Intake Method for You
If you’re still not sure which cannabis intake method is right for you, it may be time to visit a dispensary and experiment! Just remember to consume cannabis safely and obey your local laws. Your budtender can help you find the right intake method for your unique needs. Visit our flagship Baltimore store today, or check out one of our partner dispensaries.