There are many ways to ingest cannabis today, but which way is the best for you? If you were to go to a dispensary you would find products to inhale, ingest, and apply topically. The main difference between these forms deals with dosage amount and duration of time the product will provide you with relief.
Flowers are the bud of the plant, it is the product with the least adulteration being sold on the market. It is a product that is burned and inhaled. When inhaled compounds are absorbed by the lungs, into the blood. Effects are felt within minutes and will last 1-3 hours. This method is best to alleviate symptoms quickly. It has a quick onset of 1-10 minutes and is easy to titrate the dose because you quickly feel the effects and if needed you inhale again after a few minutes.
Vaporizing/ Oil Extract
The difference between vaporizing and smoking flowers would be the instrument used to heat the material. When smoking flowers, you are burning the plant material, when you vape you are heating the product. Also, many vape products contain an oil which is the extracted compounds at concentrated potencies of cannabinoids. The active ingredients are inhaled as a vapor. It is said that this is a healthier option versus burning the product. However, some companies have additives in their vaping products, and there have been little to no studies performed on additional ingredients.
A tincture is a medicine that has been made by dissolving it in a base liquid. These base liquids can range from an alcohol base, a glycerin base which is syrupy and sweet, and also medium-chain triglyceride (MCT oil). MCT is coconut or palm oil and is man-made through a process called fractionation, where the caprylic acid is extracted from the oil. The tincture provides a long-lasting effect but does take time to titrate the dose. It can be between one to two hours to reach the peak effects of the dose but is a long-lasting product that lasts up to six hours.
Edibles are food products with the addition of cannabis, it is similar to a tincture. However, you can establish high doses of edibles and it is easily consumable. Edibles and tinctures work well for treating chronic symptoms due to their long duration period of 4-6 hours. You must be careful with edibles as it is easy to overconsume due to the longer time of onset. One shall be prudent with edibles. When THC passes through the liver it turns it from delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol into delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol. This compound is slightly more psychoactive.
Raw cannabis juice contains the acid form of the cannabinoids. These acid forms are nonpsychoactive and have many health benefits.
Topicals are tinctures and oils infused into a balm or lotion and applied directly to the skin. Topicals are fantastic for skin ailments and for aches and pains that are close to the surface of the skin.
The decision of which product to use is ultimately up to you and your doctor. Many people use products in conjunction with each other. Vaping or smoking will bring you instant relief while you wait for a tincture or edible to kick in and aid in relief for hours to come. Topicals are very good for any skin issues, bruising, or arthritis. If you can touch your skin and feel the pain, a topical should be good for you.