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Cannabis 101

Ways to consume cannabis: Your go-to guide

12.21.21 - 4 min read


  • You can consume cannabis in three main ways: Inhalation, orally, and topically 
  • There are several types of cannabis products to consider in these three main categories 
  • Each marijuana consumption option offers an altogether different experience

Flower, vape pens, concentrates, capsules, edibles, drinkables, tinctures, topicals —if you’ve visited your local dispensary lately, you’ve probably noticed there are more ways to consume cannabis than ever. 

With so many options and innovations, you may have found yourself wondering, “What’s the best way to consume cannabis?” Simply put, there’s no single right answer for that question. Everyone has different needs, and our bodies interact with cannabis in different ways. 

Luckily, learning more about each way to consume cannabis will give you a better understanding of your choices. Scroll on to explore our guide and find the perfect fit for you—whether you’re new to the game or are highly experienced. 

best way to consume marijuana
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Methods we’ll cover include: 

  • Inhalation of Marijuana 
    • Smoking Cannabis 
    • Vaping 
    • Cannabis Dabbing 
  • Oral Marijuana Consumption 
    • Edibles 
    • Drinkables 
    • Capsules 
    • Cannabis Tinctures 
  • Topical Ways to Use Cannabis 
    • Cannabis Topicals and Transdermal 

One final note before we get started: it’s important to remember that laws and regulations for cannabis consumption methods vary from state to state, so be sure to stay informed about what’s legal where you live. 

flower marijuana consumption
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Inhalation of Marijuana 

When you want to feel the full effects of THC and other cannabinoids quickly, inhalation might be for you. As the cannabis smoke or vapor flows into your lungs, it quickly travels into your bloodstream, providing near instant results. The effects peak in about 30 minutes and then last for up to three hours. Sound like a good fit for you? If so, then the next step is choosing the right inhalation method: smoking, vaping, or dabbing.   

Smoking Cannabis 

Smoking cannabis involves lighting cannabis flowers and inhalation of the smoke. You have your choice of hand pipes and water pipes in plastic, metal, and glass materials. Additional options include rolling up marijuana in papers yourself or purchasing pre-rolls (depending on your state’s regulations and laws). 

Advantages of smoking 

  • Easy to find the right dose and control your experience 
  • Works quickly and wears off within just a few hours 
  • Convenience factor 
best way to use vape pens
Vape Pens are a popular format.


When it comes to vaping and marijuana, you use a specialized device to heat up the cannabis flowers or concentrate to a controlled temperature. At that temp, the cannabis vaporizes, allowing you to breathe in the cannabinoid- and terpene-rich vapor. 

Advantages of vaping 

  • Keeps actual smoke out of your lungs without compromising on the effects 
  • Works within minutes, so you can adjust your dose accordingly 
  • Discreet and easy to take on the go 

Cannabis Dabbing 

With cannabis dabbing, you use specially designed rigs to heat marijuana concentrates so you can inhale the vapor. There are many types of concentrates available, including oil, shatter, and wax extracts.   

Advantages of dabbing 

  • Allows you to feel the cannabinoid effects more quickly 
  • Some users report more intense effects than smoking and vaping 
  • Offers a strong flavor profile from each strain used in the concentrates 

Oral Marijuana Consumption 

Oral marijuana products add even more variety to the cannabis consumption experience. Whether you use edibles, drinkables, or capsules, the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids travel through your digestive system and get processed by your liver. Although this can take an hour or two, it’s well worth the wait. If you want to speed things up, you can use cannabis tinctures sublingually instead. [Source]  

oral cannabis consumption-edibles
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Available as candies, cookies, brownies, snacks, and so much more, cannabis edibles are a tasty way to enjoy the effects of marijuana. All you have to start your journey? Eat and enjoy! 

Advantages of edibles 

  • Discreet and flavorful 
  • Can have longer lasting effects vs. other consumption methods 
  • Comes in many varieties that let you control the amount of THC and CBD you consume 


Drinkables are cannabis-infused beverages like CBD & THC drinks that let you sip your way to feeling a variety of possible effects. Many drinkables, like Cann, have fewer milligrams of THC and CBD per serving than edibles. Despite that, the liquid delivery can make them work much faster. 

Advantages of drinkables 

  • May work within about 15 minutes and the effects can last for hours 
  • Lower dose options allow you to better control your experience 
  • Great alternative to alcohol  


Cannabis capsules contain a single dose of marijuana extract suspended in a neutral oil that’s easy to digest. You just take one or more capsules as needed to get the desired effects, which may last anywhere from six to twelve hours. 

Advantages of capsules 

  • Allows for extremely precise dosing on a strict schedule 
  • Easy to keep on hand for when you want to feel the effects of marijuana 
  • Comes in a wide range of THC and CBD ratios to further dial in your experience 
ways to consume capsules
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Cannabis Tinctures 

Cannabis tinctures are a marijuana extract made using fat-soluble liquids or 80-proof alcohol. They are highly concentrated as a result, only requiring a few drops under the tongue to start working. Out of all the oral cannabis consumption methods, tinctures may work the fastest. 

Advantages of tinctures 

  • Rapid onset, especially when allowed to absorb under the tongue 
  • Quick to use and wholly discreet for faster dosing  
  • Comes in many varieties with different cannabinoid and terpene profiles 

Topical Ways to Use Cannabis 

Cannabis topicals and transdermal products are a great way to help manage physical discomfort. They feature decarboxylated cannabinoids that are fully activated and ready to absorb into your bloodstream.   

best way of consumption- topical
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Cannabis Topicals and Transdermal 

Cannabis topicals come in balms, lotions, salves, and other formulas that you apply directly over muscles and joints. There are also transdermal patches and gels that slowly release cannabinoids over a longer period of time. 

Advantages of topicals 

  • Fast, easy application and discreet use 
  • May not cause the intoxicating effect normally associated with consuming THC 
  • Available in various THC and CBD formulas for a custom experience [Source] 

Ready to explore cannabis consumption methods? 

Whether you’re just getting started as a beginner cannabis user or are simply looking to try something new, the patient care specialists at your local RISE dispensary are here to help. 

In our mission to make well-being accessible to everyone, we’ve filled our dispensaries with a wide array of products. Our knowledgeable staff members will learn about your specific needs and provide you with personalized care.  

So find a convenient dispensary location near you and come by for a visit. We’ll help you explore all the top ways to use cannabis—just remember to bring your curiosity. 

marijuana consumption


Use responsibly. Always consult with your doctor before using cannabis.

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