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Updated April 2023

Cannabis Application Methods

Cannabis Application Methods
(Cannabis Application Methods by Thrive Flower)

The Best Ways to Use Cannabis Application Methods (CBD and THC)

Cannabis (marijuana or hemp) is a plant that has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years. The plant contains over 100 different compounds, but the two most well-known compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” feeling associated with cannabis, while CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that has been shown to have therapeutic effects. In this article, we will explore the different cannabis application methods in which cannabis can be used, including smoking, vaporizing, edibles, tinctures, and topicals.


Smoking Cannabis

Gelato High THCa Flower infograph

One of the most common cannabis application methods is to use cannabis is by smoking it. This method involves burning the dried plant material and inhaling the smoke. Common ways to smoke cannabis include rolled joints or with glass pipes. The effects of smoking cannabis are usually felt within minutes, and they can last for several hours.

Smoking cannabis is popular because it offers a fast and effective way to experience the effects. It is also relatively easy to control the dosage of THC or CBD when smoking, as users can simply take a puff and wait a few minutes to gauge the effects.

However, smoking cannabis can have some negative health effects, especially when done frequently or in large amounts. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including chronic bronchitis and lung cancer*. Another study published in the journal Addiction found that smoking cannabis can have negative cognitive effects, including impaired memory and attention*.

Vaporizing Cannabis

Vaporizing cannabis is one of the newer cannabis application methods of consumption that involves heating the plant material to a temperature that releases its active compounds in the form of a vapor. The resulting vapor is then inhaled, providing similar effects to smoking cannabis but without the harmful smoke. These products are known as Vape Pens or Vape Cartridges.

Vaporizing cannabis is thought to be a safer alternative to the smoking cannabis application methods because it does not produce tar or other harmful byproducts that can damage the lungs*. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that vaporizing cannabis resulted in a more efficient delivery of THC to the bloodstream compared to smoking*.


CBD THC Ratio Products


Edibles are cannabis-infused food products that are ingested orally. Edibles come in a variety of forms, including gummies, chocolates, and baked goods. The effects of edibles are usually slower to onset compared to smoking or vaporizing cannabis, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to take effect. However, the effects of edibles can last much longer, up to 8 hours or more.

One potential issue with edibles is that it can be difficult to control the dosage of THC. According to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, edibles can be unpredictable in terms of their effects, with some users experiencing unexpected and intense highs*. This is because the liver processes THC differently than the lungs, and the effects of THC can be more potent when ingested orally. When taking edibles, it is important to start with a low dose. You can always eat more, but you can never eat less. Wait at least 3 hours before taking another dose. 


Tinctures are one of the cannabis application methods, which are liquid cannabis extracts that are typically ingested sublingually, meaning they are placed under the tongue and absorbed through the mucous membranes. They are also sometimes called CBD Oil, THC Oil, or Drops. Tinctures are a popular method of consumption because they offer a fast and discreet way to experience the effects of cannabis without the harmful smoke associated with smoking. Additionally, tinctures can be easily dosed by measuring out a small amount of liquid.

One benefit of tinctures is that they can be formulated to contain specific ratios of THC and CBD, allowing users to customize their experience based on their individual needs. A study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that a THC/CBD tincture was effective in reducing chronic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis*. However, it is important to note that tinctures can still have side effects, including dizziness, nausea, and dry mouth.


Topicals are cannabis-infused creams, lotions, and balms that are one of the cannabis application methods that are applied directly to the skin. Topicals are often used for localized pain and inflammation, such as arthritis or sore muscles. One benefit of topicals is that they do not produce the psychoactive effects of THC, making them a good option for users who want to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the “high” feeling.

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that a topical CBD ointment was effective in reducing skin inflammation and itching in patients with psoriasis and atopic dermatitis*.  Another study published in the European Journal of Pain found that a topical THC/CBD cream was effective in reducing pain and improving sleep in patients with peripheral neuropathy*.


how long does CBD take to work

Cannabis can be used in a variety of ways, each of the cannabis application methods with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Smoking and vaporizing cannabis offer a fast and effective way to experience the effects of THC, but they can also have negative health effects on the lungs and cognition. Edibles provide a longer-lasting high, but they can be unpredictable in terms of their effects. Tinctures offer a customizable experience and a discreet way to consume cannabis, but they can still have side effects.

Topicals offer localized pain relief without the psychoactive effects of THC. It is important for users to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each method and choose the one that best suits their individual needs and preferences. Additionally, it is important to note that cannabis consumption should be done responsibly and legally in accordance with local laws and regulations. If you would like personalized guidance on cannabis application methods, please reach out to our 1-on-1 support line

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