To Smoke or Not to Smoke: Different Ways to Consume Cannabis

Photo by Shelby Ireland

Long before there was legal Massachusetts cannabis (or any state, for that matter), if someone mentioned using weed, your mind would likely go to one place: smoking. Today, cannabis use is more complex than that. There are many people who use cannabis regularly but have never even considered smoking. Let’s take a look at the different ways to consume cannabis to get a clearer picture. 

The different ways people use weed are often influenced by the reason they turn to the plant in the first place. At our Fitchburg dispensary, we have customers who want social experiences and opt to smoke or vape with their friends. We also have customers who don’t like inhaling anything but enjoy recreational cannabis, leading them to choose an edible or cannabis beverage. On the other hand, we have plenty of people who just want pain relief or comfort and choose topicals or non-intoxicating tinctures for therapeutic effects. 

There are so many options available to the modern cannabis consumer. 

Cannabis consumption methods 

Each cannabis consumption method is unique. How you choose to consume influences onset time, duration of effects, and even the type of effects. We’ll start with the most well-known, smoking. 


Smoking weed remains the most common consumption method for adult users. This is no surprise, given it has always been the most popular choice. After all, it gets the job done with great efficiency. 

To smoke weed, users can grab a pre-roll from a Fitchburg pot shop, load a pipe with ground flower, pack a bowl in their bong, or put flower in any smoking device they like. When smoked, users can feel the effects within minutes of the first inhale. The high will typically reach its peak anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes after consumption and wear off within 1-3 hours. 


Vaping weed is similar to smoking, but there are some key differences. When you vape cannabis, assuming your vaporizer is doing its job right, there should be no combustion. 

Combustion is the process of burning something, which is exactly what happens when you smoke. Vaping, on the other hand, just heats the cannabis to a high enough temperature to produce a vapor, but never high enough to burn. 

Whether you vape cannabis oils or dry flower, the effects of vaping should come on at the same rate as smoking. How long they last will depend on the potency of the cannabis, and whether it is a concentrate or flower. 


Surveys have found that eating cannabis is the most common method after smoking. At our Fitchburg weed store, we see similar patterns. For consumers who don’t want to smoke weed, edibles are a popular choice. 

Cannabis edibles come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Edibles in Fitchburg are abundant, and The Healing Center has a wide range of infused fruit chews, chocolates, mints, and other goodies to munch. 

Unlike with smoking or vaping, the onset time for edibles are anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. This can be dangerous for users who don’t know their edible tolereance, as some people choose to eat more than necessary when they don’t initially feel strong enough effects. This can sometimes lead to a dose that is too high and can cause users to feel uncomfortable or panic. 

A good rule of thumb is to start low and go slow if you don’t know how you’ll react to certain edibles. You can always eat more, but you can’t undo the effects once you’ve consumed too much. 


Typically, cannabis beverages fall into the same general category as edibles. You drink them and wait anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to feel their full effects. This is not always the case with beverages though, as some are made from nano-emulsions which begin to absorb into the bloodstream immediately as you drink them. 

Depending on if your cannabis beverage is nano-emulsified or not, you can expect to feel effects anywhere from 15 minutes after consumption to two hours. Our same edible warning goes for beverages: start low and go slow if you’re not sure of your ideal dose. 


Humans have been crafting medicines out of plants and herbs for ages with tinctures. Tinctures are made by soaking plant materials in alcohol or other solvents to pull out and concentrate the active compounds in a plant. It’s no surprise that cannabis tinctures remain a popular choice for consumers to this day. 

Unlike edibles or beverages, tinctures typically take effect within 15 minutes of sublingual consumption. This means dropping cannabis under the tongue and allowing it to absorb into receptors for at least 90 seconds before swallowing the remainder. 

Tinctures are versatile and can be stirred into drinks and food recipes or taken on their own. They’re a great alternative for users who want quick effects and control over their dosage without any inhalation. 


Cannabis topicals are applied directly to affected areas for targeted relief. As they are rubbed into the skin, cannabinoids bind to receptors in the specific area to provide therapeutic effects. 

Since topicals only bind to local receptors, they do not get users high – with one exception. Transdermal cannabis products are also applied to the skin, but they penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. These products can, in fact, get users high. 

Topicals come in the form of creams, gels, lotions, and other similar products. 

Cannabis use is personal 

While many people opt to smoke socially and recreationally, it’s far from the only way to use cannabis. There are so many consumption methods to choose from, and what works best for you is subject to many factors. 

Whether you’re new to the plant or just want to try something different, don’t hesitate to ask any of our friendly Fitchburg dispensary workers for advice. We can work with you to figure out what kind of results you want from your cannabis. Enhanced social experiences, pain relief, relaxation, and so many other things can be achieved if you know the what and how of using cannabis. 

Stop by The Healing Center 

Need weed? We’ve got you covered. Stop by our Fitchburg dispensary for all of your cannabis needs. And if you have any questions, we’re always here to help and direct you to the best products on the market. 

We are a recreational dispensary located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, serving all guests 21 or over with legal identification. We carry a wide selection of brands with a variety of categories like cannabis flowerconcentratespre-rolled jointsvaporizer cartridgesediblesinfused drinkstinctures, and accessories. Give us a follow on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

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