NJ legal weed: All the ways to consume cannabis

For centuries, smoking cannabis flower has been the most popular way to consume weed.

With dispensaries constantly releasing a wider range of products, we think it’s important to give you a guide of all the ways that weed can be consumed or delivered to your body.


Inhalation is the process of applying fire or another type of heat to a cannabis product to create smoke or vapor to be pulled into the warp and blown back out. It is the fastest way to consume weed and feel its effects.

Smoking, vapingand dabbing are all different methods of inhalation, and work slightly differently. Smoking can be done by grinding cannabis flower down into smaller chunks and either rolling it up into a cylinder or packing it into a device.

When rolled up, the material that has been used — a sheet made of natural fibers versus a tobacco wrap or emptied cigar — determines if this tube is called a joint or a blunt. Usually, the tube is lit on one end and puffed from the other.

Smoking: A smoking device can be a dry pipe like a bowl or stem, or a water pipe, where smoke is filtered through water. The most common type of water pipe is a bong.

Both types are used by placing weed in a bowl-shaped compartment and lighting it while simultaneously pulling air through the device.

Vaping: This method can be achieved with many forms of cannabis, and can be the easiest way to travel with cannabis. Weed flower or concentrates can be placed into a vaporizer that achieves medium to high temperatures without flame.

There are also vape pens that can be assembled by screwing a cartridge of concentrated weed oil to a rechargeable stick battery and puffed on discreetly. There has been a rise in popularity of disposable vape pens with contents that are not interchangeable or rechargeable.

Dabbing: Also growing in popularity over the years, dabbing can be achieved by heating a metal, glass or ceramic surface and applying concentrate directly to it. The consumer can then use a heat-safe tube to inhale the vapor that is produced — this whole set-up of equipment is usually referred to as a dab rig.


Oral consumption of weed can be very discreet and convenient, but often it can take a longer time for effects to be felt. Edibles and sublinguals are the two types of oral consumption, and each works with body chemistry in different ways.

Edibles are chewable, drinkable or dissolvable and are absorbed through the digestive tract.

These can be drinks, baked goods, Candies or everyday food items that have been made using a cannabis extract like weed oil, butter or concentrate. These can take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours for effects to activate.

Sublinguals, as their name suggests, are absorbed by the blood vessels under the tongue. The most common type are tinctureswhich are made by steeping weed in alcohol. Concentrates can also be used in tiny amounts (dots of .1 mg-.3 mg) under the tongue.

Tinctures often can give an immediate onset of effects, but can also be absorbed through the digestive tract and can provide a second wave of effects.

To read my more in-depth guide on how to safely consume edibles, go here.


Not all topicals can provide psychoactive effects, but they are still a great method of delivering the relief of cannabinoids (the chemicals in weed that do all the work) to the body in a localized way.

Balms, creams, lotions, salves, ointments, patches and gels can come in different concentrations and combinations of THC and CBD.

Some of these options can even be formulated to be transdermal, meaning that they penetrate the skin barrier and reach your bloodstream — potentially giving a slight buzz to the consumer.

Now that you have been armed with information about all the ways that weed can be consumed or delivered to your system, it is up to you to be vigilant about figuring out which methods or combinations of products work best for your lifestyle.

Experts suggest keeping a log or journal of how individual products and strains make you feel. Keep in mind that all weed is not exactly the same. Different types of cannabis (Sativa, Indica or hybrids) can range in their strength and effects. For more guidance about how to choose the right type of weed for you, check out this article.

Have a question about consuming weed? Ask me anything.


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Gabby Warren is NJ.com‘s Cannabis Life reporter. She’ll be covering all things weed retail, commerce and culture. Send your weed consumer questions to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @dimix3nation.

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