Cannabis & CBD Ingestion Methods

Cannabis, CBD, and Ingestion Method

The method you use to ingest cannabis or CBD can have an impact on how it makes you feel – and how long it makes you feel that way. There are many things within your control that can impact your cannabis experience. The ingestion method you choose is one of them.

What is meant by ingestion method?

As cannabis legality has expanded, so too has the number and variety of methods to consume it. “Old school” ingestion methods like hand-rolled joints, bowls, and bongs have given way to pre-rolled joints, sublingual tinctures, edibles, sprays, topical creams, and salves.


The most common method of ingesting cannabis is still by smoking the flower, whether in a joint, bowl, or bong form.

And while there is currently no established connection between cannabis smoking and lung cancer, chronic cannabis smoking often produces symptoms similar to those of chronic tobacco smoking including cough, sputum production, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Until it’s proven otherwise, it’s probably wise to assume that smoking cannabis could potentially be as harmful as smoking cigarettes.

When you smoke cannabis, the effects are felt within a few minutes because the cannabinoids have a more direct path to your bloodstream and your brain.


Vaping is a relatively newer form of cannabis and CBD delivery that has increased in popularity over the past decade, especially among younger generations. Cannabis (whether in flower, oil or wax form), is heated through a vaporizer almost to the point of combustion. Some people believe that vaporizing cannabis is a safer alternative to the traditional method of fire combustion and inhaling, but this is not proven.

Because the vaporizer never achieves full combustion, the THC and other active ingredients desired by the user still can be ingested without the added risk of residual tar created by exposure of the plant substance to combustion (like when a lighter ignites cannabis flower). 

CBD vaping can be done in flower or oil format, with oil being the more popular choice. CBD oil used for vaping comes in three different categories, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. 

Vaping has proven risks, for both cannabis and nicotine, but these risks vary depending on the frequency and amount consumed. Of course, according to the American Cancer Society, it’s best to avoid vaping and smoking altogether.

The experience with vaping is considered to be similar to that of smoking, although some people think that vaping is easier on their throat and lungs than smoking.

To be safe, we like to assume that vaping is just as bad for you as smoking.


Edible cannabis products run the gamut from gummies, chocolates, beverages, brownies, cookies, mints, and various types of cooking ingredients. These products have been infused with the plant’s primary compounds, and are often seen as more desirable (and healthy) alternatives to smoking or vaping. Consumers who enjoy edibles typically prefer extended and more intense effects that are often observed as compared to other types of cannabis products. 

CBD edibles are also a favorite ingestion method among users. They are able to be made in a variety of flavors, can carry a higher a longer effective period compared to other methods.

As cannabis legalization has expanded, the market for edibles has surged, especially among first-time users and others looking for a kinder and gentler way to consume cannabis.

A study noted that over-use of edibles can lead to highly aversive experiences that can result in cognitive and motor impairment, extreme sedation, agitation, anxiety, and minor cardiac distress.

With edibles, in particular, it is especially important to start with a small dose and work your way up from there to <determine your optimal dose>.


Tinctures are liquid extracts from the cannabis or hemp plant using various extraction agents, such as alcohol or glycerin. Like edibles, tinctures can be consumed orally in the form of sprays and oils, primarily sublingually (under the tongue), or infused into food and beverages. Because this form of cannabis and CBD are more concentrated, it’s often used for medicinal and sports-related purposes. Tinctures also offer the ability to be flavored in order to produce a better consumption experience compared to regular CBD or cannabis oils.

Some users have reported side effects from using tinctures, including drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches, but these effects have varied depending on the delivery method and ratio of CBD to THC. As such, more comprehensive studies are needed to draw more reliable conclusions.

Because tinctures are often administered sublingually, the effects are usually felt sooner than with edibles, because the product doesn’t have to pass through the digestive process before effects are felt. 


Topicals are similar, in that they are oil extracts from the cannabis plant, but they typically are thicker and applied to and absorbed through the skin to relieve muscle pain and soreness. Topicals are not typically designed to produce a high, but rather to address therapeutic relief for muscle and body recovery. CBD topicals are often a popular choice for individuals with health issues like arthritis or long-term injury effects as the topical allows for quick localized treatment of the inflamed area.

How does the ingestion method impact my cannabis experience?

Your choice of ingestion method can have a material impact on your cannabis and CBD experience. Consuming a 5mg gummy can provide a different effect than, for example, smoking the same dose with a vape pen.

According to a 2017 study comparing the effects of smoked, vaped, and orally ingested cannabis, users that consumed cannabis orally reported less impactful results. But this study was a survey of reported effects, so it should be interpreted cautiously.

Which ingestion method do you prefer? Which gets you the best results?

Getting answers with Jointly

Jointly is Your Cannabis Companion – a smartphone app that answers your important questions by aggregating experiences from a community of users just like you. Jointly is safe, secure, private, unbiased, and easy to use. Jointly only includes legal and licensed products from legal and licensed brands.

Jointly can help you identify the best products for your goals, based on real experiences of other people, like you, with the same goals.

By submitting reports and ratings in Jointly, your own personal in-app Learning Center helps you understand how to improve your experience:

How do you find your optimal dose?
How much time should you wait between sessions?
How does ingestion method impact your experience?
How does time of day impact your experience?
Does it matter if you exercise before, during, or after cannabis use?
How does the amount of sleep you get the night before change things?
What about hydration?
How much food is in your stomach?
The quality of your diet?
Your environment?
The people you are with?

We hope you get the results you deserve. And, be sure to learn about the steps you can take to increase your odds of success.

And, if you have any feedback or ideas for improving Jointly, please let us know. We’re here to help, but also to learn.


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In no way is any of the information contained on this site or in the Jointly app intended to be a medical or prescriptive guide or a substitute for informed medical advice or care. If you believe or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your doctor or health care provider. You should never delay seeking or disregard advice from a medical professional based on something you have read here.

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