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Ways to Consume Marijuana

Updated: 11/2/2023

When most people think about cannabis, the first thing that comes to mind is smoking. While it is still the most common method of consumption, there are many different ways to medicate with cannabis and explore its vast therapeutic potential. You can experiment with various forms to find a therapy that works for you.

Our experts at blüm describe several common ways of medical marijuana consumption so that you can make a well-informed decision and achieve optimal relief.


Smoking is a well-known method of cannabis consumption that is also the fastest way to get cannabinoids into your system.

When you inhale the medicinal compounds with the smoke, they will enter your bloodstream directly from the lungs. And once these compounds are in the circulatory system, only a few seconds part them from reaching your brain. You will feel the effects almost immediately or within few minutes.

Though providing the quickest relief, smoking is one of the least healthy ways to consume medical marijuana. You might face throat and lung irritation. It’s because the heat dries out the throat and lungs, which are meant to remain moist. Another problem is that burning produces waste products, which you inhale along with the cannabinoids. If you have lung problems or asthma, you should definitely look into alternatives to smoking.

You may use pipes and bowls instead of joints and blunts if you want to skip the act of rolling. Also, the dosage is more consistent if you smoke cannabis in a pipe rather than in a cigarette. There are also bongs and bubblers, which are actually bongs small enough to fit in your pocket.


Vaporizing or vaping releases the chemical compounds at a lower temperature than smoking, so you’ll avoid exposing your lungs and throat to the excessive heat. Another benefit compared to smoking is less combustion by-products. You’ll also find the flavor of vaporized cannabis to be different from the burnt taste of smoking it.

Besides being a safer alternative to smoking, vaporizers can also be used with oils. Vapes, also known as vape pens, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Convenient and practical, they will easily fit in your pocket. You may also get a table-top vaporizer to use at home.


Oral consumption is one of the top alternatives to smoking and vaporizing. People usually turn to edible products because they taste great and there’s a myriad of choices to get their medical marijuana rush. You’ll be able to choose from crackers, brownies, chocolate bars, gummies, macaroons, or even treat yourself with some tasty ice cream.

The relief edibles provide lasts a long time, but it also takes time for the effects to kick in – from 30 minutes to several hours. This is because the ingested cannabis has to make its way through the digestive system to the bloodstream and, ultimately, the brain.

But it is the trip that actually concentrates and enhances the effects. This is why they could be stronger than you assumed. So beware of overmedicating. Be sure to wait for the effects to manifest before deciding whether you need another dose.


There are various types of beverages available, such as juices, teas, sodas and even smoothies. Just like edibles, beverages have a slow-acting but long-lasting effect. Because they travel through the digestive system, it takes a while for the effects to kick in, usually between 30 minutes and two hours.

Beverages can also provide relief of anxiety and stress. Though it’s difficult to maintain strict dosing, these beverages are an alternative to smoking and vaporizing because there’s no risk of lung irritation.


Medical marijuana also comes in the form of pill or capsules, just like any other medication. Capsules are a good alternative to smoking, just be mindful of their potency.  They tend to be very concentrated, so make sure you know how strong your dosage is.


Tinctures and sprays are a quick way to get the much-needed relief. The mixture of cannabinoid extracts and oil, glycerin or alcohol comes in a small bottle and it’s taken in small doses. You can easily control the dosage.

To consume it, place a couple of drops of the cannabis tincture under the tongue using an eye-dropper. When the tincture is absorbed through the skin or mucus membranes into the bloodstream, you’ll feel the effects immediately. It takes effect faster than edibles. Though the effects don’t kick in as fast as in case of inhalation, you’ll avoid lung irritation.

Tinctures have a mild taste and you can also add them to food, but keep in mind that it will slow the absorption. Also, when a tincture is exposed to air for too long, it is subject to evaporation, which decreases the potency of an active ingredient.

Ingestion of fresh medical cannabis

By ingesting raw leaves of marijuana you can preserve all the active ingredients, even the ones that may be lost in the heating or drying process. Most people who turn to this method add fresh marijuana to smoothies and juices and drink it right away to make the most of its benefits.

The downside is that a regular daily dose is approximately 15 leaves and a few buds, which is quite a supply. Also, it’s hard to determine the exact dose of medicinal compounds. And don’t forget that cannabis has to travel through the digestive system, so you’ll have to wait for the effects to kick in.


Marijuana topicals have proved to be very effective in treating localized inflammation, soreness and pain. These creams and lotions are infused with active ingredients found in medical marijuana. They usually make use of the medical properties of CBD, which doesn’t affect the brain like THC does. Therefore, when applied near the area of inflammation or pain, topicals provide the healing and pain-relieving benefits without producing psychoactive effects.

Topicals are also a good choice for treating localized physical pain caused by cancer and some other conditions. They only affect the area where they’re applied, and the effects are long-lasting. Keep in mind that, though great for arthritis, eczema, chapped skin, muscle soreness, minor burns, joint pain and swellings, topicals don’t help cancer, epilepsy, PTSD or glaucoma.

Transdermal patches

Medical marijuana transdermal patches work similar to nicotine patches. Place a patch on a clean, hairless surface of the skin. You’ll get a time-released dose of active ingredients over a long period of time. Just keep a close eye on the skin, because some people can develop an allergic reaction.

While topicals are used for specific areas, transdermal patches put the active ingredients right into the bloodstream and help relieve general pain. Your body can absorb the entire dose.


Dabs are extremely strong extracts of cannabis, containing as much as 90 percent THC. Solidified hash oil, called the dab, is meant to be smoked using a device similar to a bong, called a dab rig. This is a specific type of water pipe used for smoking extracts, concentrates and smoking oil.

First, you need to heat the nail with a torch. Then put the concentrate on to the nail and inhale it through the vapor rig. The concentrate is burned at very high temperatures, creating vapor instead of smoke. With no combustion process, dabbing is easier on the lungs than smoking.

This method is meant for experienced users. If you’re not careful or accustomed to using the device, you can get burned. Due to high THC levels, dabbing may cause an overdose; never fatal, but uncomfortable. You are also at higher risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals.

This method isn’t recommended for patients with a low THC tolerance or those new to cannabis medications. It causes extremely strong psychoactive effects. Though dabbing is effectively relieving some of the worst symptoms, such as extreme pain or nausea, you should consult with your doctor before you try it.


Medical cannabis can also be taken in suppository form. When inserted into the rectum, it is absorbed promptly through the colon, so you’ll feel the effects very fast. And they last a long time. Most medical marijuana suppositories come in two strengths but can be cut in half for smaller doses. They need to be refrigerated, which makes them impractical to use away from home.

The administration of suppositories is what makes this method controversial and somewhat embarrassing, though some patients say they would never consider any other option.

Best among medical marijuana stores in Santa Ana, Oakland, and San Leandro

If you are looking into medical marijuana stores in Orange County, Oakland, or San Leandro, CA, blüm is your first & only stop! Visit us and enjoy our welcoming environment and check out our wide selection of medicines and accessories. Our professional and polite team of experts is happy to recommend the highest quality products and the most suitable administration method for your condition. Get the most out of medical marijuana’s healing benefits with your go-to dispensaries!

You can also shop online at our Santa Ana, Oakland, or San Leandro locations!