What are the Common Ways Marijuana is Consumed? 

Now that marijuana is becoming more legalized in several locations than ever before, people are finally able to safely – and openly – experiment with the plant as they please. While there are many ways to consume marijuana for the myriad of benefits it brings, some seem to be more common than others. The booming industry now allows users to try anything from classic smoking, vaping, eating, and applying marijuana products to their skin. In this article, we shed light on the four most common ways people consume  Marijuana.

1. Inhalation

The most common – and classic – method of consumption is inhalation, for it provides the fastest way to deliver results. When a consumer inhales marijuana, most of the cannabinoids enter the body through the lungs, where they are passed on directly into the bloodstream to take effect. This way, it gives almost instantaneous results. Inhalation can be done through either smoking or vaporization: 


Smoking marijuana involves burning the flowers and inhaling the active components of the plant that are released as a result. It’s good to remember that you can smoke the plant in several forms; a joint, blunt, or spliff. Because there’s no right or wrong method here, you can experiment with the different types and decide which you prefer and which one gives you the best smoking experience. If you are completely new to this then it won’t hurt to do a bit of research to figure out how different methods may have different effects.


Vaporization acts somewhat similar to smoking – using heat – except that in this case, the plant is not burned. Instead, a vape is used to heat it up to a temperature at which the active ingredients are released as a vapor that is then inhaled through the device. Although they may be slightly different on the inside, marijuana vapes look strikingly similar to regular vapes in terms of appearance. 

In this method of inhalation, the plant is used in the form of oil – an approach that seems to have revolutionized the way that many people consume it. Many vapes now come up with features that help users control temperature, dosing, as well as flavors. They also come in creative, colorful designs. 

2. Ingestion

Another popular method of consumption is through orally ingesting the plant. In addition to tinctures, capsules, and oils, the world is getting more creative with it. From edibles like gummies and candies, brownies and cupcakes, gourmet restaurant recipes, burger sauces, raw cookie dough bites, breakfast cereal, popcorn and honey, marijuana infusions are now taking the food industry by storm. The fact that the plant can be used in many recipes opens up a whole new world for users who also happen to be foodies! 

On the other hand, the beverage industry is also discovering ways to incorporate the effects of marijuana into its products. There are now many infused drinks and cocktails in the market aimed at creating a whole new form of fusion. From coffee and iced chocolate drinks, shakes, sparkling water, mixes and smoothies with tropical fruit, organic vegetable detox drinks, as well as delicious whipped cream toppings, to alcohol-based cocktails, marijuana-infusions are all the rage. 

It’s good to know that the onset of action for oral ingestion takes longer than inhalation, due to the cycle of digestion. It is also reported to be stronger and to last for longer periods of time. This is because, during the process of digestion, the cannabinoids undergo a chemical transformation that makes them more potent. This means that the effects are usually reported within thirty minutes to one hour or longer after ingestion, with effects peaking at two hours, and a total duration of up to six hours. 

A point worthy of note is that none of the plants is lost by ingestion, unlike with smoking where some of it might stick to the pipe or rolling paper. However, you should remember that it may be more challenging to know your dosage this way due to the increased time of effect onset, at least at first, until you get the hang of it. 

3. Sublingual

Another oral method is to take the plant sublingually; meaning to place it in the mouth, directly under the tongue where large numbers of blood vessels are located, which can absorb cannabinoids rather quickly and effectively – namely quicker than other ingestion methods that require digestion. Although the plant is taken “by mouth” in this case, it is not considered ingestion, for the substance doesn’t have to go through the gastro-intestinal tract for processing. 

Topical Application

Topical applications of marijuana come in the form of lotions, creams, ointments, balms, bath salts, and oils that are applied directly to the skin. This method allows cannabinoids to penetrate the skin and help reduce pain and inflammation. 

This method is mostly popular with older consumers aiming to manage localized pain (like arthritis) and other skin problems like eczema. The effects are reported to start within minutes and last for one to two hours. Needless to say, this approach eliminates the psychoactive effects of the plant and is reserved for medicinal purposes. 

The Choice is Yours 

Across many ancient cultures, the marijuana plant was used for both mental and physical well-being, as well as spiritual exploration and enlightenment. Today, people continue to use this wondrous herb for the plethora of benefits it brings. 

When consuming marijuana, the method of intake can have a major effect on your entire experience. And because preferences in this arena are quite subjective, there is no right or wrong way to do it – only ways that are better for your unique needs

Smoking, vaping, eating, drinking, and applying it topically are all common ways to consume the plant. So, give yourself the time – and proper chance – to try the methods that better fit your needs in terms of using; required onset of action; desired duration of effects; preferred experience while consuming; as well as your expertise when it comes to identifying your dosage and controlling it.  That’s why it’s recommended that you take your time, explore the different ways to do it, and see what works best for you. 

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