Once I have my cannabis, what do I do with it?

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When it comes to cannabis consumption, the second-most important consideration, after the flower itself, is the delivery method. This point is often overlooked, as evidenced by the prevalence of consumers who have limited their experimentation to only one or two methods. If you’re primarily interested in cannabis for medical purposes, then let this be your checklist. Gaining the mental and physical benefits of cannabis is largely dependent on how it’s consumed. There are three basic delivery methods: inhalation, oral, and topical. Under these umbrella methods are various techniques that serve unique functions, each appropriate for different occasions.

I. Inhalation

When cannabis is inhaled, the gases enter the lungs before absorbing into the bloodstream. There are currently two prevalent types of inhalation methods: smoking and vaporization.

While smoking is an ancient custom, and the method most commonly associated with cannabis, and there are many different ways for consumers to smoke. Advances in vaporization technology, however, have offered smokers an alternative method with fewer health concerns. The effects associated with smoking are widely debated, but health professionals are in agreement that smoke-free methods pose less risk and are medically preferred.

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II. Oral

Oral delivery includes all techniques that are administered through the mouth, including tinctures, ingestible oils, and infused food/drinks. We most often assume that oral delivery denotes ingestion through the digestive tract before entering the bloodstream, but this is not always the case. Tinctures are essentially a topical application that is administered through the mouth, and they are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream unlike edibles or drinks.

III. Topical

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).

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