Common Ways to Consume Cannabis

Once you determine the kind of cannabis you want, it’s time to decide the way you’d like to consume it. With so many different ways to enjoy it these days, there’s a method to comfortably introduce cannabis into almost any lifestyle. 

Each different method has its advantages depending on what experience you’re after. So, to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, let's run through some of the most common ones.


  • A classic way to consume cannabis
  • Smoked out of all types of devices
  • Cannabis is absorbed through the lungs
  • Onset: 7 minutes or less
  • Common Duration: 1–3 hours

Smoking is a classic way to enjoy cannabis and has been for generations. Even with all the other ways cannabis can be used, smoking is still one of the most common ways to enjoy the plant. Cannabis can be smoked in a number of different ways using a variety of devices like joints, pipes, bongs—even an apple.

To smoke cannabis, the dried flowers are lit and inhaled. The smoke fills the lungs where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The effects from smoking cannabis are noticeable almost immediately and can last for a few hours*.


  • A convenient and discreet way to enjoy cannabis
  • Cannabis absorbed through the lungs
  • Onset: 7 minutes or less
  • Common Duration: 1–3 hours

Vaping, or vaporizing, is very similar to smoking with one key difference: instead of burning the cannabis, vaporization uses electronics to evenly heat cannabis or cannabis oil until a light vapor is released. The vapor is more discreet and much lighter than smoke because the plant matter is not completely burned. 

Compared to smoking, vaping can produce more pronounced flavors because the gentle heat allows specific flavors to stand out without interference from hot or harsh smoke. The effects of vaping can feel more clear-headed compared to smoking and often less cannabis is needed to get the right feeling.


  • Absorbed through the liver
  • Strong effects
  • Consistent dosing
  • Onset: 30–90 min
  • Common duration: 1–6 hours

Most people agree that eating cannabis is completely different than smoking or vaping. A few of the key differences are that it’s smoke-free, it’s dosed differently, comes in many different flavors and forms, and the effects can feel stronger and last longer.

When you eat cannabis, it’s absorbed through your liver—which is a much slower process than when it enters the bloodstream through the lungs. It takes between 30 and 90 minutes for effects to start, so be patient.

Once they do hit, the effects of edibles are typically stronger and may last longer because your body metabolizes it in a way that affects the central nervous system more efficiently.

Oral Ingestion

  • Absorbed through the liver
  • Targeted effects
  • Consistent dosing
  • Onset: 30–90 min
  • Common duration: 4–6 hours

Taking cannabis orally, like in capsules or tablets, is a similar experience to eating it. The THC or CBD is absorbed through your liver before entering your bloodstream so the onset can take some time before noticed. Like edibles, it’s best to be patient.

Oral ingestion is discreet, can be easily added to a medication or wellness routine, and dosing is formulated to target more specific and consistent effects and experiences.


  • Common with tinctures
  • Rapidly enters the bloodstream through blood vessels under the tongue
  • Onset: 7 minutes or less
  • Common duration: 2–4 hours or more

Tinctures are the most common way that cannabis is consumed sublingually. Though tinctures can be added to food or drink, which allows them to function more like an edible, many choose to drop the liquid directly under the tongue, absorbing rapidly through the blood vessels in the mouth.

Start with the recommended dosing on the package. The effects are typically noticed within minutes and generally last for a few hours, slowly tapering off over time.


  • Fast-acting, localized effects
  • No intoxicating effects (except some transdermal products)
  • Absorbs into the skin

Cannabis topicals are different because they do not create the same rush of euphoria that most other cannabis products provide. When you apply infused lotions and balms to the skin they give effects directly to the area and most often do not create intoxicating effects. 

Topicals may be a great option for those that don’t want to be slowed down by everyday aches and pains.

Be sure to check out our friends at Quadbuds Delivery for an expert source of same-day, usually less than 1 hour delivery in Canada, Ontario.

Note: Individual results may vary.

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