As a budtender, the first question I ask someone during a consultation is always, “how would you like to consume your cannabis?” The most common options typically include smoking flower, vaping concentrates, edibles, tincture oils, and topicals. To figure out which of these options will suit your needs the most, consider the following: Would you like to feel psychoactive effects? If so, how long would you like to feel these effects? Do you want to feel the effects instantly? Are you comfortable with smoking? Will you be using cannabis recreationally or to fulfill a certain goal such as sleeping or pain management?
Let’s dive into the details for each of these routes. Smoking and vaping both offer the quickest relief. You will feel the effects almost immediately. This is great for beginners who are unsure about how much product to use. Simply take a puff, wait two minutes, and re-dose as needed. Keep in mind that there’s a direct correlation between onset and length of effects, so the quicker you feel the effects then the quicker the effects will go away. Effects of smoking and vaping generally linger for an hour or two, but can be longer or shorter depending on your tolerance. This option is perfect for those looking for a quick high. If you’re debating between whether to smoke or vape, there’s a couple key things to think about. Vaping is much more discreet than smoking. Many people feel comfortable vaping in their home without risk of an odor lingering around. On the other hand, many people feel as though the high from vaping is a bit subtle compared to smoking.
Let’s discuss edibles next. Edibles are a very fun and novel way of using cannabis. Standard edibles will take anywhere from one to three hours to hit. The effects will last at least a few hours, and as long as eight hours. This is a great option for those looking for heavier and longer relief, as well as those who fear smoking due to health concerns. Many people shopping for edibles are using them before bed. Because of the long duration of the high, they are very helpful in keeping people asleep throughout the night. Keep in mind that it can be a lot trickier to find your ideal dose with any oral means of consumption. The process is very trial-and-error. This can often leave people feeling either underwhelmed or too high their first time experimenting. In my opinion, it’s always better to be on the underwhelmed side of things than risk feeling anxious from being too high so always start low and go slow in terms of dosing.
Tinctures are one of my favorite forms of cannabis. I like to think of them as being a step between smoking and edibles. The onset is around ten or fifteen minutes, and lasts a few hours. Those who don’t like how long edibles last may prefer the sublingual swiftness of a tincture. I personally like how cost effective they are compared to edibles, as well as how discreet they are. Some tinctures are water-soluble and may be added to any beverage of your choice. For oil-based tinctures, be aware of the carrier oil used. It differs between brands, but MCT oil is the most common. MCT oil is not recommended for those suffering from liver disease. I’ve found that tinctures are very popular amongst professionals and parents who like a more inconspicuous option and can’t be high all day.
Topicals will be the last route that we discuss, though there are more less common options out there. Topicals are a great option to consider for those seeking physical relief from pain and inflammation without a high. When applied to the skin, the THC does not pass the blood-brain barrier to reach the receptors on your brain so there’s no worry of any psychoactive effects. I’ve found that topicals can be very hit or miss, depending on the person and the sort of relief you’re looking for. I personally respond really well to a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD with menthol for relieving tension in my shoulders from a stressful day. On the other hand, my partner who suffers from a chronic injury to his shoulder does not find any benefit. Don’t be discouraged if your first topical experience leaves much to be desired. Experiment with different ratios and formulas to see if any work better than others. For topicals with CBD, ensure you are using it frequently in your daily regimen. CBD needs to build up in the system, so it’s not something you will likely notice after using only once or twice.