Medical marijuana can be consumed in various ways resulting in slightly different effects, such as the length of time to take effect and the length effectiveness.

Smoking

The most traditional method of consuming medical marijuana has been to smoke dried flowers and leaves of the plant in a pipe, as a rolled cigarette or through a water pipe.

Pros: Smoking marijuana provides a rapid and effective method of delivery

Cons: Smoking marijuana has the potential to cause lung cancer and burning of the throat

Vaporizing

Vaporizers allow patients to separate cannabinoids from plant matter without inhaling smoke. Vaporizing is a healthier alterative to smoking because it diminishes the potential of causing lung cancer and burning of the throat. Vaporizing is an effective method of delivery, but patients must exercise caution when vaporizing and wait a few minutes to feel the full effects before inhaling more marijuana.

Pros: Vaporizing marijuana is a healthier method of consumption than smoking

Cons: Vaporizers are more expensive than other methods of consumption

Cannastrips

Marijuana-infused edible strips that dissolve directly on your tongue, resulting in a smoke-free delivery method.

Pros: Cannastrips can be used anywhere and provide immediate pain relief

Cons: Cannastrips have a bitter taste

Edibles

Marijuana-infused food products are a great method of consumption. Although edibles can take longer to take effect, they result in a longer effect than smoking or vaporizing. When taken on an empty stomach, edibles will take effect faster than ingestion immediately following a meal. As with vaporizing, using edibles requires caution until the patient feels the full effect of the marijuana as it is difficult to predict how strong an edible will be for any particular patient. Examples of edible forms are:

  • Sweets, such as cookies, brownies, cakes and candies
  • Savory dishes including sauces, meat and chicken dishes
  • Butter, oil and honey infused with marijuana can be substituted in recipes, ingested in capsules or mixed with honey into tea or other foods
  • Tinctures are alcohol-infused solutions used by dropping directly under the tongue or mixed into liquids

Pros: Edibles are a tasty method of consumption that offers a wide variety of recipes

Cons: Using edibles as your delivery method results in about a one-hour delay to take effect

As with any drug, marijuana works differently for every patient. Effectiveness depends on dosage and method of consumption. Some patients use only small amounts of marijuana for relief while others require more.