Methods of Consumption

October 18, 2018

What are the available cannabis products that customers will be consuming?

With the legalization of cannabis, many Canadians are exploring this newly legal substance. You may be wondering what’s allowable at this time when it comes to cannabis consumption.

For now, dried cannabis and edible oils are the only available cannabis products legally available.

What are the various consumption methods used with these products?

There are three basic delivery methods for cannabis or oils: you can inhale it, take it orally, or apply it topically. Each one will have a different onset and duration of effects for each user.

Inhalation of Cannabis

cinsumption inhaleInhaling cannabis involves either smoking or vaporizing dried cannabis.

Smoking is the act of burning cannabis with a heat source and inhaling the resulting smoke into your lungs. That process activates the cannabinoids and, because cannabinoids enter your body through your lungs, they’re passed along directly into your bloodstream. Once the THC hits your circulatory system, it only takes a few seconds to reach your brain.

Vaporizing heats up the cannabis to a temperature hot enough to vaporize it but not so hot that it ignites, resulting in a water vapor steeped in the essential oils of the cannabis. As you draw the vapor into your lungs, the cannabinoids are inhaled and the exhalation consists of only water vapor. With vaporization, almost all the cannabinoids are dissolved into the water vapor, making each inhalation more potent than smoking. Plus cannabis that has already been vaporized still contains some active ingredients and is technically decarboxylated, so you can collect it and use it in cooking.

Consumption oil capsuleOral and Topical Consumption of Cannabis

Edible oils can be consumed in three different ways:
• Direct ingestion (i.e. eating it)
• Sublingual absorption (placing oils under the tongue)
• Topical application (applying cannabis oil to the skin)

With the direct ingestion method, it can often take from 30 minutes up to two hours for the effects to become noticeable, and they can last six hours or longer depending on the user.

consumption oilSublingual is just a fancy way of saying ‘under the tongue’. Sublingual absorption is where you let the edible oils absorb through the mucosal membranes under your tongue, allowing you to bypass your liver and feel an even faster onset of effects then direct ingestion alone.


Topical use references using edible oils to be absorbed directly through the skin. This allows the user to stimulate or soothe particular areas of their body without the same type of intoxication. Some who experience issues like muscle or joint pain have found relief using topical cannabis ointments.

- The Cannabis Management team

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