Six Methods of

Cannabis Administration

You’ve got the recommendation from your medical provider, now it’s time to figure out which method of administration best treats your condition. How you take your medicine depends largely on what method works best for you, since everyone’s body is different. Here are a few of your options:


Historically speaking, smoking the cannabis plant has been the most common method for unlocking its healing powers. It also happens to be the least healthy. The toll it takes on your lungs can outweigh its therapeutic benefits. On the other hand, because smoking lets cannabinoids enter the blood stream directly through your lungs, this method is also one of the fastest acting.


Vaporizers are another way to administer medicinal cannabis. Patients can vape cartridges of cannabis extracts and concentrates, or “dry vape” the cannabis flower itself. With this method, effects typically take place within minutes. Though extracts offer a refined, concentrated dose of cannabis, no two are created equal—so it’s important that patients and caregivers be educated on the chemicals used to extract the cannabis oil.*


Another option is ingesting the cannabis oil through infused edibles such as tinctures, capsules and food. In this method, cannabis enters the blood stream after being broken down to its molecular form in the stomach and intestines. Patients who ingest cannabis often report the effects starting around the hour mark, then gradually subsiding over the course of several hours. Because everyone’s metabolism is different, this method affects different people in different ways.


Much like edibles, cannabis can also be administered by juicing the plant itself. This method leverages the full power of the plant and its many beneficial cannabinoids, all without the psychotropic effects that can happen when it is exposed to heat. Cannabis has high nutritional value, and can reduce inflammation, improve cell function and even act as anti-tumor agent.


Some patients prefer to administer their medicine topically rather than orally. Much like skin creams, balms and nicotine patches, cannabinoids can be absorbed through the skin via cannabis topicals. However, the time it takes to experience relief can be much longer than other administration methods.


Under the tongue are membranes and blood vessels that absorb certain medications directly into the bloodstream without having to pass through the digestive system. Sublingual ingestion is a great way to ingest cannabinoid oils because it allows for more immediate effects. Rerouting cannabis around the digestive system also increases the bioavailability of the drug, meaning it’s able to conserve more of its power passing through the liver.

These are the most common ways to unlock the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant. We recommend discussing with your doctor which one is right for you.

*Health concerns related to vaping are currently under review by the Centers for Disease Control. As always, patients should consult their physicians to determine which method of cannabis administration will work best for them.  

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