Inhalation is the most popular way to consume cannabis. This method involves heating dried cannabis flower, or cannabis extracts, and inhaling the smoke or vapour into the lungs. From the lungs, the active compounds in cannabis quickly enter the bloodstream. Inhalation deliveries rapid onset of effects, typically within 5 to 15 minutes.
Ingestion refers to either eating or drinking cannabis products. When cannabis is ingested, the active compounds (like THC and CBD) enter through your digestive system. Your digestive system then pushes the compounds through the bloodstream, to the central nervous system, and then to the brain. This process is more time consuming than inhalation and may take up to 4 hours for effects to be felt.
Topicals refer to products that are cannabis-infused, that are intended to be applied to skin, hair or nails. While most of these products will not cause intoxication or any psychoactive effects, they may allow for localized therapeutic effects of cannabis to be felt.