From Buds to Concentrates: Exploring Different Forms of Cannabis Consumption

Published: 1/10/2024
By: Harry B. Nuggs
Mountains

From Buds to Concentrates: Exploring Different Forms of Cannabis Consumption

Cannabis consumption has expanded well beyond simply smoking and vaping buds. Today there exists a dizzying array of options for both recreational users and medical patients to experience marijuana’s effects and health benefits. As legalization spreads globally, both existing product categories and new creation methods continue evolving. This guide explores major ways to consume cannabis from traditional flowers to modern concentrates and edibles.

Dried Cannabis Flower

Weed or cannabis buds remain the conventional staple allowing access to the plant’s full spectrum of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Typically either indica or sativa strains, effects differ from body-focused or sedating to energizing and cerebral. 

Consumption methods include:

  • Smoking via joints, pipes, bongs, blunts

  • Dry vaping flower with no combustion or smoke

  • Cooking buds directly into edibles

Pressed Hash and Kief

While buds contain around 20% THC on average, preparing compression-extracted hashish concentrates THC to 30%-70% levels through heat and pressure separation. 

Pressed hash variations include:

  • Bubble hash – Ice water extraction of trichome heads into hardened resin glands

  • Lebanese/Moroccan hash – Sieved and compressed dried buds into blocks

  • Charas – Hand-rubbed cannabis flower resin

  • Kief – Loose cannabis trichome crystals shaken or sifted from flower

Oils 

Cannabis oils are concentrated extracts from cannabis plants that are dissolved in an edible oil base like coconut, olive, or hemp seed oil. The THC and other cannabinoids are extracted from the plant material using solvents like CO2 or ethanol. The solvents pull the desired compounds from the plant and are then removed, leaving behind a potent cannabis oil. Oils allow for precise dosing as the exact concentrations of cannabinoids can be controlled. They can be taken orally or used to make infused foods and drinks. Effects take 30-90 minutes to manifest and can last for several hours. 

Tinctures 

Cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts. The plant material is soaked in a high-proof alcohol which acts as the solvent, pulling out the THC, CBD, and other compounds. The plant matter is then strained out, leaving a concentrated liquid tincture. A few drops under the tongue is a fast way to get cannabinoids into the bloodstream. Sublingual absorption allows the effects to start in 15-30 minutes. Tinctures offer consistent dosing and long-lasting effects making them popular for medical uses. 

Sprays 

Sublingual sprays apply a fine cannabis-infused mist under the tongue. The small droplet size leads to fast absorption directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes. This allows rapid onset of effects within 15 minutes. The dose can be tailored by controlling the number of sprays. Sublingual sprays combine convenience with consistent results. Like oils and tinctures, the effects can persist for several hours. 


In summary, liquid cannabis concentrates allow more precision in dosing than smoking or vaping flowers. Sublingual dosage methods lead to a relatively fast onset of effects that can last for a prolonged duration.

Solvent Extract Concentrates

Chemical solvents strip cannabis to its bare essential cannabinoids and terpenes for inhalation methods providing rapid effects and next-level potency including:

  • Butane hash oil (BHO) like wax and shatter

  • CO2 oil – Food-grade carbon dioxide extraction

  • Live resin – Flash frozen fresh plant matter preserves terpenes

  • Distillate – Pure isolated cannabinoids refined from crude extracts

Infused Edibles and Beverages

From gummies to baked goods and beyond, edibles provide longer-lasting effects of 4+ hours through digestive absorption. Microdosing with 2.5-5mg THC allows controlling strength for inexperienced users before working upwards. Consider starting low with:

  • Gummies and baked goods infused with cannabutter

  • Beverages like cannabis coffee, tea, seltzers and juices

  • Chocolates or mints containing precise THC dosing

Transdermal Patches and Topicals

Patches applied to venous parts of the wrist/ankle provide 8-12 hours of steady cannabinoid absorption without psychoactivity. Fast-acting topicals like CBD muscle creams and THC intimacy oils offer localized anti-inflammatory analgesic relief without systemic effects.


As you explore the growing diversity of consumption methods, consider your lifestyle factors, desired quickness of effects, and reasons for using cannabis like medical treatment or recreational enjoyment. Combining multiple methods also keeps your experience novel while obtaining full advantage of this incredible plant medicine!

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