There are multiple different ways to take cannabis, choosing the right one can depend on your medical condition and very much personal preference. Cannabis products can come in the form of:
joint, vape, capsule, concentrate, oil, tincture, suppository, edible, as well as applied topically.
Each method can result in a different experience and are absorbed differently. By understanding further how each of these products and methods works, we can make a better conclusion as to which method is best for us.
Inhaling cannabis directly into the lungs is the fastest delivery method. Once inhaled, the cannabis is absorbed into the bloodstream almost instantaneously. It is also one of the more potent methods. I always recommend beginners take 1 draw from a joint and wait at least 5 minutes before taking another.
Most dried cannabis has an average of 15-25% THC, whereas a vape (depending on the concentrate),could contain twice the amount you’re used to. Always be cautious, and never be nervous to ask questions about products before using or purchasing.
Capsules can contain either oil or powdered plant material. It’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re purchasing. THC is hydrophobic and fat soluble. This means that in order for cannabis to be absorbed adequately in your system, it needs to be taken with fat. Seed and nut oils, as well as dairy products like milk or yogurt, would be an excellent source of fat
Edibles can be made in a variety of ways. Some are made from cannabis flower, others are infused with oils or even sprayed with powder. All these factors can determine your stone. Distillate (view here)for example, is an approximately 95-99% THC concentrate, whereas cannabis flower will only contain upwards of 20% average.
Edibles made from an RSO (view here) will have a greater overall medicinal benefit, as this concentrate is a ‘whole plant extraction’ and will contain a variety of medicinal cannabinoids as opposed to edibles made with THC distillates or CBD isolates (view here)
Both capsules and edibles undergo what is referred to ask ‘the second pass’. Capsules and edibles are digested in the stomach and are then filtered through the liver. This second pass allows for only an average of 14% of the original dose taken to then be absorbed in the system.
(Pro Tip: Suck on any edible candies if possible, to allow for absorption in the cheeks ~ therefore bypassing the liver.)
Capsules and edibles have a wait time of anywhere between 20 minutes- 2 hours and usually have a longer lasting, physical effect. This can be beneficial for people seeking pain relief. Always wait at least an hour before taking more of a capsule or edible. The most common mistake people make is taking too much because they “didn’t feel anything”.
Always Start Low and Go Slow!
The length and on-set of a capsule can be affected by numerous factors. one factor in particular to be aware of are the time of day. Capsules and edibles taken first thing in the morning will hit harder. Your body has fasted throughout the night, so the first thing you introduce to your body at this time is important. Try eating first before medicating.
Alcohol and medications are another factor. Alcohol and certain medications can amplify the feeling of intoxication and can be potentially dangerous.
These products are absorbed sublingually, which means under the tongue or inside of the cheek. This bypasses the liver and allows you to absorb all of the medicine and provides a relatively quick on-set time. This generally takes 15-20 minutes.
This product is delivered from the rectum which, much like tinctures, bypasses the liver and allows you to absorb all of the medicine and provides a relatively quick on-set time. This delivery method is an excellent option, but not limited to, people experiencing conditions such as Lyme, colon/liver/breast/bone cancer, fibromyalgia, hemorrhoids, fissures, brain injury, seizures, MS nerve pain, menstrual cramps, Crohn's disease. See more in Who Would Benefit From This Delivery Method? in Suppositories.