Cannabis 101

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Methods of Administration

There are a variety of methods and forms available to administer cannabis, with different onset times and durations.


Inhalation–either of smoke or through vaporization–is the fastest-acting method of administration. When inhaled, the active ingredients of the product pass directly into the bloodstream from the lungs. Pharmacological effects occur within 5-20 minutes of inhalation.

  • Peak effect: 15-30 minutes
  • Duration: 2-3 hours


Topical forms are typically used as creams or lotions, delivering active ingredients to the bloodstream through the skin.

  • Peak effect: 1 hour
  • Duration: 3-4 hours


Oral administration is one of the strongest delivery methods out there. Unlike inhaled Cannabis, ingested Cannabis is metabolized by the liver. This means that more THC is converted into usable forms by the body.

  • Peak effect: 2-6 hours
  • Duration: 4-12 hours


Sublingual forms are administered under the tongue and may be faster acting as the medicine is absorbed into the blood through the mucosal membrane in the mouth.

  • Peak effect: 15 minutes
  • Duration: 6-8 hours

Do You Use Your Sense of Smell when Choosing Your Cannabis?

Then you are familiar with terpenes—aroma and taste molecules in the essential oils of plants.

Terpenes are naturally occurring and provide each plant’s distinctive scent, or essence. Like roses or spices, different strains of cannabis have unique odors ranging from sweet to acrid and skunky to floral. In addition to influencing aroma, terpene content is one of the biggest differences between sativa and indica-dominant strains. Learn more about terpenes below.


A tropical, woodsy aroma reminiscent of thyme.


A floral, citrusy aroma with hints of lavender.


A piney, herbaceous terpene with hints of anise. 


A lilac, citrusy, woody aroma.


A citrusy, spicy aroma also found in many fruits.


An earthy, piney aroma that’s also found in pine needles.


A floral, earthy aroma that’s also found in hops.


A spicy, citrusy aroma, Caryophyllene (also found in black pepper).


A robust, herbaceous aroma also found in basil.

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