If you are a first time cannabis user, there are a couple of things you need to know. For example, there are various ways to consume marijuana. You may be wondering which consumption method is right for you, and most of the time is it a personal decision. Whether for medical use or recreational purposes, consumers now have more options that ever before. The best method of consuming cannabis really depends on your preferences and how you prioritize convenience, price, strength, health, etc. There are four main methods of ingesting marijuana: inhalation, oral, sublingual, and topical. Each method as unique characteristics that make it more or less appropriate for some consumers.

Smoking and Inhaling

A good majority of consumers prefer smoking marijuana because it is one of the most easiest and common ways individuals get introduced to it. Smoking marijuana is the fastest way to feel its effects because the compounds go straight into your bloodstream via lung capillaries. This means you may start to feel high within minutes and the sensation can last as long as 1-2 hours. If you are just starting out, it is good to start with small amounts of cannabis due to low tolerance levels that are associated with first time users.

The two common ways to inhale marijuana is by smoking and vaporizing. Smoking marijuana involves burning the flowers and inhaling the active components of the plant that are released and this can take the form of a “blunt” (rolled up paper that is similar to a cigarette). Vaporization acts in the same way, but the plant is not burned, rather it is heated to a temperature at which the active ingredients in the plant are released as vapor that is inhaled by the consumer, vaporization can take the form of a “vape pen” much like an e-cigarette. In addition, vaporizing can be a healthier alternative to smoking because it eliminates the irritation of the throat and lungs that comes from the exposure to high heat and burned organic matter.

Oral / Edibles

Marijuana can also be ingested orally. This can be in the form of edibles, tinctures, capsules or oils. Unlike the fast-acting effects that comes from smoking cannabis, the effects that originate from ingesting marijuana are felt later on and are not immediate mainly due to your digestive system, it activates more slowly because it must be processed by enzymes in your digestive tract.

Sublingual

Marijuana can also enter the blood stream when placed under the tongue and held in the mouth (within the mouth there are a large number of blood vessels which can absorb cannabinoids. Common examples of these type of products include dissolvable strips, sublingual sprays,, or medicated lozenges or tinctures. (Tinctures are usually alcoholic extracts containing cannabis and may be an appealing method if you want to avoid smoking. A user will often take a drop of the tincture under their tongue and the extract will enter the body via the blood vessels there.

Topical Application

A final way to consume marijuana is through topical applications. These come in the form of lotions, salves, bath salts and oils that are applied to the skin. The skin has a relatively complex absorption process that is based on a chemical’s ability to dissolve in H20. The cannabinoids penetrate the skin and work to reduce pain and inflammation. This method is very popular with older consumers because it works well on localized pain (like from arthritis) and is non-psychoactive. Many people use topicals for arthritis, inflammation, or general muscle soreness. Even if the lotion or salve contains THC, you will not fell high from this route of administration because the cannabinoids do not typically penetrate deep enough into the bloodstream to cause intoxicating effects.

Which Method Should I Go With?

When it comes to deciding which method, there is no right or wrong way, it all depends on your needs and what you want to accomplish with your particular cannabis product whether it be for medical or recreational purposes. Regardless of which method you decide to go with, it is important to start off with small doses because taking large amounts of cannabis-related products can be overpowering and can cause unwanted side affects like vomiting and hallucinations just to name a few.

What to Expect?

The effects of cannabis can range from energizing to sedating and varies by person. The effects a person feels can vary in intensity depending on the following criteria:

  • how much you consume
  • how much THC it contains
  • your body weight and body fat percentage
  • your metabolism
  • whether or not you’ve eaten
  • your tolerance

First-Timer Tips

If you are new to cannabis, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start with a low-THC strain
  • Keep your dose low and wait at least 2 hours before re-dosing, especially if using edibles
  • Try it when you have a chunk of free time to ride out the high, like on our day off
  • Have water handy to help avoid dry mouth and a cannabis hangover
  • Eat something before getting high, and be sure to have snacks on hand because you will get hungry
  • Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol or other substances
  • Have a friend with you in case you become anxious or have a bad reaction

If you have been using marijuana for a very long time, then consuming marijuana is not a problem, but it’s your first time, it is recommended that you ease into it. Before running a marathon, you want to take the one mile run test, and the same principle applies to consuming marijuana whether it be by smoking or by some other means, take baby steps.