Understanding the effects of different methods in consuming Cannabis is crucial. Whether you’re new to cannabis or a seasoned user, it’s important to choose what’s right for you. No matter what you choose, remember to start low and go slow.  Using cannabis can have health risks.  Individuals with a history of mental health issues or who are pregnant or breastfeeding should never use cannabis due to the potential for serious health risks.

Smoking

Cannabis is often rolled into what’s called a joint and smoked like a cigarette, but it can also be smoked through a water pipe called a bong. The effects are felt almost instantly, and last anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours. Keep in mind that just like cigarettes, smoking cannabis can harm your lungs. If you choose to smoke, avoid inhaling deeply or holding your breath to minimize the amount of toxic substances you take into your body.

Hand Pipes

These are probably the most common smoking device in circulation today and generally favored for their convenience: they are small, portable, and simple to use. Hand pipes have grown into an artistic expression and are available in countless creative forms and styles, both for decoration and functionality (such as disguise pipes that imitate everyday objects). Hand pipes operate by trapping the smoke produced from burning cannabis, which is then inhaled by the user.

Oils

Perhaps you’ve heard of pot brownies? Cannabis oil can be taken on its own, or mixed into food and drink like cakes, candy and tea. It takes much longer to feel the effects – up to two hours – but they’re much stronger and last longer than smoking or vaping, so it’s important to start small until you know how oils affect you. Go slow and wait at least two hours after your first dose before taking more.

Vapourizing

Like e-cigarettes, vaporizers offer a smoke-free way to responsibly enjoy cannabis. Often called “vaping”, it works by heating dried cannabis or cannabis oil without burning, creating a vapour that’s gentler than smoke. The effects of vaping are similar to smoking – felt instantly, they can last up to three hours. It’s still important to moderate your use and avoid mixing cannabis with other drugs or alcohol.

Regardless of how you consume cannabis, it’s always possible to take it too far. Overdose symptoms can include drowsiness, confusion, chest pain, panic attacks or even hallucinations, especially if you have a history of mental illness. Cannabis also impairs your depth perception and reaction time – so don’t drive high. Not only is it dangerous, it’s also illegal.

Edibles

Eating or drinking cannabis provides significantly different effects from delivery methods that immediately enter the bloodstream, such as smoking or vaping. Edibles can be defined as any food that contains cannabis, whether or not the cannabinoids are bioavailable. These products have longer onsets and tend to cause powerful full-body, psychoactive effects.

Infused food and drinks can be made a variety of ways depending on the dish. Most often, edibles are infused with a staple infused ingredient high in fat — like butter or olive oil — that enable extraction of the plant’s therapeutic properties. Adding tinctures to dishes is another great option for dosage control and simplicity. Generally, cooking with cannabis flower can be difficult because of the complication associated with cannabinoid activation (including sensitive heating temperatures and times, and sufficient solvent fat). However, as the prevalence of cannabis grows, so does the presence of flower in the kitchen.

Topical Delivery Methods

Topical cannabis administration utilizes full cannabis extract — a thick oil that has been decarboxylated to activate cannabinoids. Once cannabinoids are activated, they can be absorbed through your skin.

Topical effects differ from other medicating methods in that they don’t provide the cerebral stimulation that users describe as “being high.” Because of this, topicals are appropriate for consumers needing a clear head and localized relief (for example, muscle aches or soreness).