Consumption Methods

Cannabis is an incredibly versatile medicine that can be consumed in a variety of methods. A consumption method refers to the way (or method) that the medicine is delivered to the body. The 4 main methods of consumption are inhalation, sublingual, oral, and topical. Some methods require additional consumption devices (like a vaporizer, hand pipe, etc.) while others do not require anything more than the medicinal cannabis product.


The method of consumption is incredibly important to take into consideration when deciding on a medical product. Each consumption method has a different onset of effects after consuming medical cannabis. Learning about the methods and corresponding effects, it will help you realize what medicinal method is best for you.

inhalation - sublingual - oral - topical

Inhalation: Smoking, Vaporizing, & Dabbing
  • Onset of effects occurs fast: between 5 to 10 minutes

  • Fast onset time makes it easier to modulate dose

  • Great for breakthrough pain

  • Effects generally last around 3 to 4 hours 

Sublingual: Tinctures, Cannabis Oils, lozenges
  • Onset of effects occurs moderately fast: between 15 to 30 minutes

  • Generally fast onset time makes it easier to modulate dose

  • Each dose can be very precisely measured out

  • Great for fast relief

  • Effects typically last around 2-3 hours and as long as 4-6 hours

Oral: Cannabis Capsules, Mouth Sprays, Etc.
  • Onset of effects is generally slow: can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before you notice the effects

  • IMPORTANT TO BE PATIENT: Over medicating on cannabis can be an extremely unpleasant experience, but it is impossible to die from overdose

  • Effects last much longer: typically 8 to 12 hours

  • PLEASE NOTE: Edibles are not currently legal for purchase in Maryland, but you can find easy to follow recipes like on this website.

TOPICAL: LOTIONS/SALVES/etc. + Transdermal Patches
  • Onset of effects is moderately fast, but can vary person to person

  • Provides localized pain relief and medicinal benefits

  • Many patients find maximum benefits by combining topicals with other delivery methods

  • Effects vary in the time they last 

The information on this page is intended for educational purposes and Positive Energy does not recommend anything as medical treatment. 

Always speak with your doctor before using medical cannabis and other drugs.


9939 Jerry Mack Road, Suite 500

Ocean City, MD 21842

Tel: 410-877-2017


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