Flower is considered the dried flower buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. Flower is generally inhaled in the form of smoke or vapor.
Smoking the dried flower from the cannabis plant in a pipe, bong, or joint is a common method of ingestion. The chain reaction that occurs upon inhalation happens very quickly and delivers the cannabinoids to your system with extreme efficiency.
Onset: Within seconds of inhalation.
Duration: Effects will generally peak within thirty minutes and diminish anywhere from 1-3 hours.
Pros: Using cannabis flower gives users the most control of the strain, source, and cannabinoid content than any other method. Flavor is maintained.
Cons: Flower strains vary in potency, source and cannabinoid content. The smoke generated from burning papers and lighter fluid chemicals contain carcinogenic compounds. Individuals with compromised immune systems or lung problems should consider other methods of cannabis.
Onset: Within seconds of inhalation.
Duration: Effects will generally peak before thirty minutes and diminish in a couple of hours.
Pros: A healthier alternative to smoking. Portable vaporizers are more discreet than smoking as there is minimal odor, which dissipates quickly. Flavor profiles are enhanced through lower temperatures.
Cons: Some users find that vaporization has weaker effects than other forms of cannabis. Flower vaporizers can be costly.
Onset: Fifteen minutes to two hours depending on metabolism and other various factors based on the individual.
Duration: Roughly 4-6 hours, but could potentially last longer depending on several factors including but not limited to metabolism, body mass, and genetics.
Pros: Effects last longer than other forms of cannabis use. Discreet and convenient form of consumption. Controlled dosage. Wide variety of delicious options available.
Cons: Edibles may require more trial and error to find proper dosing for an individual’s experience. Edibles are not ideal for users who seek immediate relief, as the effects take longer to onset. Overconsumption can occur with edibles if the consumer does not follow the recommended dosing guidelines.
Concentrates refer to concentrated cannabis products like shatter, wax, rosins, resins, sauces, sugars and so on. These products are produced by isolating the active properties of the cannabis plant, like terpenes and cannabinoids, from plant matter by a method called “extraction”. Concentrates are much more potent than smoking cannabis flower and require less product for the desired effects.
Onset: Immediately after inhalation.
Duration: Slightly longer than other inhalation methods.
Pros: For experienced users, dabbing can be an efficient way to get a large amount of cannabinoids into their system and experience immediate effects. Consumers enjoy the heightened flavors and taste. With certain devices, concentrates can be more discreet and tend to have less cannabis aroma than regular smoking. The use of certain devices with concentrates can allow for a controlled dosing delivery system.
Cons: Since concentrates typically feature a high THC content, regular use of concentrates can raise a consumer’s tolerance so that other forms of ingestion are not as effective. With the high potency of concentrates, consumers should proceed with caution. Some delivery methods require use of a torch, which can be dangerous when using.
Tinctures are cannabis infused alcohol or oil concentrates administered sublingually in small doses using a dropper. They are available in a variety of cannabinoid formulations and dosages. Since tinctures are absorbed sublingually, the cannabinoids go directly to the bloodstream, allowing for a quicker onset.
Onset: Full effects are usually felt within 20-30 minutes. The onset of tinctures is faster than edibles.
Duration: Effects can last anywhere from 3-6 hours, depending on frequency of use and dosage. If a tincture is used to add to a food/beverage or administered orally, effects will typically last longer, similar to an edible.
Pros: Controlled dosing and quicker onset which allows the consumer to evaluate the effects in less time than regular edibles (unless added to food/beverage or taken orally). A smokeless, discreet, odor free way to consume, which will contain little to no sugar or calorie intake, unless added to food/beverages.
Cons: Tinctures that are formulated with alcohol may not be desirable for some users. Taste can vary. For more experienced users, tinctures may not be as effective as regular edibles and may require more of the product for desired results.
Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, salves and oils that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief of pain and inflammation.
Onset: Five minutes to two hours.
Duration: Lasting upwards of 12 hours.
Pros: Effective and efficient localized pain and inflammation relief without the psychoactive effects since most topicals cannot breach the bloodstream. Transdermal patches can provide hours of relief. Discreet usage and easy application.
Cons: Requires trial and error to find the correct dosage for the desired effects.