Medical Marijuana Consumption Methods: What’s Right for You


There are many ways to consume medical marijuana and patients find that one method tends to be better than others for their specific needs and conditions. The effects that patients feel varies from method to method, affecting things like length of time for the medicine to take effect to how long it remains active in their system.

We recommend that patients test the various consumption methods, document the results they experience from each method, and ultimately selecting the method that best alleviates their symptoms.

smoking marijuana


Smoking medical cannabis is the most common consumption method. Hash is also consumed with this method. Medical marijuana can be smoked with a pipe, rolled into a marijuana joint, or smoked using a water pipe.

For most patients, the effects from smoking cannabis are felt almost immediately and the effect diminishes quickly as well. Depending upon the patient, their tolerance, the cannabinoid content, and the marijuana strain, the effect of smoking wears of almost completely within 90 minutes to four hours.

Regularly smoking any plant material can have a negative health impact and is not advisable for any patients with existing lung conditions. If you do choose to smoke, here are some helpful hints to minimize the risks associated with smoking:

  • – Use more potent, higher THC cannabis so that less inhalation is necessary to acquire an effective dose

  • – Using a pipe allows for a more consistent and predictable dose

  • – Exhale immediately after inhaling deeply to avoid the tars in the medical marijuana from coating your lungs. It is a myth that holding your breath with create a stronger dosage or enable more THC to be absorbed




A vaporizer is a device that is able to extract the therapeutic ingredients within medical marijuana – the cannabinoids – at a much lower temperature than is required for smoking. This allows patients to inhale the active ingredients as vapor rather than smoke, eliminating the harmful effects of smoking.

People that are used to smoking medical marijuana initially they report not ‘feeling’ anything due to the lack of throat sensation that is experienced through smoking. Due to this, we advise patients to use caution and wait a few minutes to feel the full effects of the cannabis. Many patients report that half as much medical marijuana will provide twice the effect when vaporized.

Benefits of vaporizing:

  • – Free from toxins and tars

  • – Avoids the risk of repertory problems

  • – Immediate relief

  • – Potent dosage with controlled delivery




Ingesting medical marijuana through edibles is an extremely popular consumption method. The effects of consumed medicinal cannabis are much different when compared to smoking or vaporizing. Edibles are slower to take effect, slower to wear off, and usually give more of a body versus head high. This can be beneficial to those patients who suffer with chronic severe body pain.

The onset of effects from consuming cannabis can range from 20 minutes to over an hour. This can lead to over-consumption and over-medication with ingestion. Because it can take longer, we recommend that patients start with a small dose and wait an hour or two before ingesting more. Also, the effects of edibles will be felt much faster if ingested on an empty stomach.

Medical marijuana edibles are usually made from products that have used marijuana infused butter or oil. If you would like to make your own edibles, we have a great post on how to make Cannabutter.

Medical marijuana edibles are particularly helpful to relieve pain, spasticity, and sleep orders. We do not recommend patients that are experiencing nausea or vomiting use this consumption method.


  • – Edibles can vary greatly in potency

  • – Products often contain multiple doses or lesser doses of medicine

  • – Weight, metabolism, and eating habits can alter dosage effects

  • – Eating medical cannabis on an empty stomach can intensify effects

  • – Learn dosage management that works for you when ingesting medical marijuana

If you feel you have eaten too much edibles, do not panic, your symptoms will subside within a few hours. Remain calm. Stay hydrated and eat food to help symptoms pass.




Topical medical marijuana products are applied directly to the skin or muscles. They include lotions, salves, balms, sprays, oils, and creams. Our patients report they are tremendously effective for skin conditions like psoriasis, joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, restless leg syndrome, some spasms, and everyday muscle stress and soreness.

Unlike smoking, vaporizing or eating the medical marijuana, topicals are completely non-psychoactive. Topicals have been shown to not only have an anti-inflammatory effect, but also act as an anti-bacterial, shortening the healing time for injuries.


One dropper bottle with cannabis


A tincture is a concentrated form of medical cannabis in an alcohol or non-alcohol solution. Tinctures are highly concentrated and require careful dosage levels, starting out small and waiting to feel the effects before adding more. They can be taken under the tongue or mixed into water or other beverages.

Tinctures are particularly useful when experiencing vomiting or nausea, like many patients experience while undergoing chemotherapy.

Typical dosage of medical marijuana tinctures is between three drops and no more than two full droppers. As with edibles, it is best to start slowly and wait to see if the desired effect is achieved.


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