consumption methods


There are three primary ways to consume cannabis: inhalation, oral and topical. The right method for a particular user will depend on the form that they prefer, the desired effects, and the desired onset time.


Inhalation, through smoking or vaping, will cause active compounds in cannabis to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. Onset effect is typically immediate, but the effects will subside more quickly compared to other forms such as edibles.


Cannabis can be smoked via pipes (or bowls), water pipes, joints (cannabis rolled in paper) or blunts (cannabis rolled in cigar wrapping). In recent years, vaping has also gained popularity among consumers who are looking for a gentler alternative to smoking. Vaping involves using a device to heat cannabis flower or concentrate right below the point of combustion, transforming active cannabinoids to into inhalable vapor.



Oral consumption methods include edibles and tinctures.


Edibles include a variety of options: chocolates, baked goods, cannabis-infused beverages, gummies, capsules, and more. They can be dosed based on a user’s tolerance or experience with cannabis. (Inexperienced users are recommended to start with lower doses, around 5 mgs.) Because edibles are absorbed through the digestive tract, they have a delayed onset and can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours for their effects to be felt, and effects can last for several hours.

*Edibles are not approved for consumption in the Pennsylvania medical market


Tinctures – droplets of cannabis-infused oil or alcohol – are absorbed sublingually, by inserting a few drops under the tongue and waiting for the cannabis to take effect. The cannabinoids absorbed sublingually will have a rapid onset effect. Any cannabinoids not absorbed sublingually will be absorbed through the digestive track. This means that tinctures have rapid effects from what is absorbed sublingually, as well a second onset effect from whatever is absorbed from the digestive tract.




Al delivery method through which cannabis-infused creams and lotions are applied to the skin to provide localized relief for symptoms including pain or muscle soreness. Cannabis applied topically won't deliver any psychoactive effects.