When drugs are inhaled through the lungs, they are sent to the brain before getting metabolized by the liver. This makes inhalation the fastest method for administering cannabis. Usually, between 20-30% of the phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD are absorbed this way. The heat from either smoking or vaporizing cannabis converts the acid cannabinoids into their neutral forms.
The short onset and duration make inhalation appropriate for acute problems (e.g. nausea or acute pain). The near-immediate onset also allows patients to titrate (adjust) and quickly find a desired dose. For those new to THC , overdose (getting too high) is short-lived when inhaling compared to other methods.
Smoking vs. Vaping, Bud vs. Oil
Oral mucosal tinctures usually come in one of two forms: an under-the-tongue spray or a dropper with a marking at a specific volume (usually 0.5 ml or 1.0 ml). This allows for consistent, measurable dosing. Pay close attention to the labels on these products. Products should be labeled with the dose of cannabinoids per spray or per ml.
Vaporizing, compared with smoking, has a slightly slower onset but facilitates better absorption. Although vaping is generally better for the lungs, thinning agents and other additives in oil extracts and cartridges can break down into carcinogens when heated in poorly-made vaporizers. This is not an issue when vaporizing flower.
Tinctures involve a solvent like ethanol or sesame oil.  Some of the adverse side effects attributed to cannabis extracts may actually be due to ingesting large amounts of the carrier oil.
I personally like to use strains that are high in both THC and CBD to make oil and salves. To learn more about the differences between strains, CBD and THC, see this article: “Sativa, Indica & Autoflowers, the Differences Explained”.
Cannabis oil is the foundation ingredient for ultra-healing homemade topical lotions, ointments, and salves – my favorite way to use it! Both THC and CBD have excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that cannabinoids have the ability to reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles, soothe redness and irritation, and balance natural skin oils. Also, cannabinoids (THC especially) are analgesic – meaning they reduce pain. I regularly use our homemade cannabis salve on my knees, ankles, and other aching or inflamed joints and muscles.
Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, THC, or…
Your choice! You can make cannabis-infused oil with hemp or marijuana, depending on what is legal and available in your area. Or, what you’re desired end-results are. Hemp oil will only contain CBD (or a very minuscule amount of THC), while marijuana-infused oil will likely contain both THC and CBD. The ratio and concentration of THC and/or CBD depends on the strain of marijuana and particular plant it came from.
On the other hand, simply chopping up weed to add to your brownie mix is not a good idea, for many reasons. As we already explored, cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means that they not only bind with oils during the infusion process, but also that cannabinoids are more readily absorbed and digested in our bodies when they’re consumed with fat – such as oil. If you add raw cannabis to baked goods, it is less likely that the cannabinoids will bind to fats for a consistent and effective edible experience. Using decarboxylated cannabis to make cannabis oil further increases precision and consistency.
Generally speaking, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. But THC does a lot more than change your state of mind! Studies show that THC has even stronger pain and stress-relieving properties than CBD, which is known to help with insomnia, seizures and inflammation. While they each have notable and distinct stand-alone benefits, an oil or salve containing both CBD and THC has the highest potential for a wide array of health benefits (albeit illegal in some places). Known as the “entourage effect”, the synergistic combination of both THC and CBD through whole-plant cannabis consumption and extracts is more powerful than either one on its own.