Consuming Cannabis: Understanding the Different Medical Marijuana Forms

It’s no doubt that cannabis use is on the rise, especially in the medical sphere. In fact, the medical marijuana market profited nearly $4.5 billion in 2018 alone

With new research surfacing daily and more evidence proving the efficacy of cannabis as medicine, more and more Americans are joining in. 

From cancer to chronic pain, anxiety to insomnia, and even chronic diseases like MS and Parkinson’s, there may be an answer in medical cannabis.

This leaves many newer users with questions about what medical marijuana forms are going to be the best for them and their unique situation. 

That’s why we are going to discuss all the different ways that you can consume cannabis and discuss some of the pros and cons of each. 

Let’s dive right in. 

So Many Medical Marijuana Forms to Choose

As legalization spreads, more companies and have begun figuring new and improved ways to consume cannabis. 

As of now, there are dozens of different ways you can use medical marijuana. So how do you decide between them?

Are there some methods that work better than others? Some that are safer than others? There are many questions to be asked here.

The first step is understanding how they work, and who can benefit most from them. Here are some of the best ways to consume marijuana. 


This is, of course, the most common and well-known way to consume cannabis. 

Smoking provides a high bioavailability, allowing you to absorb nearly all of the benefits from the product. 

While smoking is one category, there are several different ways that you can smoke marijuana. Those ways include:

  • Smoking out of a bong or pipe
  • Smoking a joint, spliff, or blunt
  • Smoking from a vape pen
  • Smoking concentrate from a “dab” rig

The pros to this method are simple, the flower is the most readily available form of cannabis, it’s fast-acting, and it’s usually the cheapest. 

However, there are some cons to this method as well. The biggest con being, of course, that you are inhaling smoke.

While there are tons of benefits associated with cannabis use, all smoke inhalation can have a negative impact on your health when used long-term. 


This is probably the next most popular method after smoking. Edibles are a great smoke-free way to get all the effects of medical marijuana without the risk of long-term effects. 

These can be purchased at your local medical or recreational dispensary or made at home with your own flower. 

Edibles can be basically any kind of food you want. From sweets like gummies and hard candy to desserts like cookies and brownies. You can even make cannabutter and put it on your toast or cook your eggs in it. 

That’s one of the biggest pros, aside from being smoke-free, the fact that possibilities are practically limitless. 

There are some cons, however. The biggest being that the bioavailability isn’t’ all that great. You need a higher dose to get the same type of effects as you would from smoking. 

On top of that, it can take up to 2 or more hours to even start feeling the effects. This can lead to people taking more than they should or being caught off guard. 


If your main goal of using cannabis is to get some pain relief, then topicals might be right for you. 

These can come in many forms like oils, cremes, and lotions. They apply directly to the skin in the trouble area and can start working nearly right away. 

They won’t get you high, so you can use them all through-out the day with no side effects like drowsiness, loss of focus, or the munchies. 

Like all other medical marijuana forms, there are some cons to this method. 

The biggest being that it doesn’t always work for everyone and that it only treats one thing– pain. 

Oils and Tinctures

This method is becoming increasingly popular, especially after the legalization of hemp across the country.

Oils and tinctures can be applied directly under the tongue for near-instant effects or can be added into foods of beverages. There have even been attempts to start businesses around CBD coffee and other products.

These oils are also found inside of CBD and THC pills. Doses can vary largely from 5 or 10mg per serving to 100mg per serving. Certain people require a larger dose than others, so this is useful for medicinal purposes. 

They are another great smoke-free alternative that can be used for an array of conditions or symptoms. 

Some of the main pros include good bioavailability, easy to use, and fast-acting effects. The only real downside to tinctures is the cost. They are usually pretty expensive. 

Other Methods

These are by far the most common and easily accessible ways to consume medical marijuana. 

However, there are still some other more off-the-wall methods that we haven’t discussed yet. These include:

  • Bath bombs
  • Inhalers (like the ones used for asthma)
  • Cannabis-infused water
  • Sprays
  • Transdermal patches

The possibilities are endless, and there are more ways to consume cannabis surfacing on a regular basis. If none of these sound right for you, give it some time and something will surely pop up.

Start Your Journey Today

Now that you’re well equipt with the pros and cons of the many different medical marijuana forms, you’re ready to make an informed decision on what’s best for you. 

Just remember, everyone is different, and everyone will be affected in a unique way. For most people, there are multiple forms that work well, especially in conjunction with one another. 

Start slow and give a few of these a try, you might find you like one method more than you had expected you would. 

And, of course, check out our blog to learn more about how medical marijuana works, and how you can use it to brighten your future. We’ll see you there!