how to use marijuana Some people are intimidated by cannabis-based medicine because they don’t know how to use marijuana.

The truth is, there is nothing to be intimidated about when armed with the right knowledge.

There are many ways to consume cannabis, and having a grasp on the variety of administration methods available can help patients approach this topic with more confidence.

The raw flowers are the most abundant means to access useable herb. Many individuals choose to smoke the flowers of the cannabis sativa or cannabis indica plant after they have been dried, cured and manicured.

But there are plenty of other ways to use weed.

Cannabis can be ingested, vaporized or even used in the form of a topical cream or oil.
The number of ways cannabis can be taken is reassuring for individuals who are hesitant to smoke pot but want the medical benefits.

If you are thinking about trying medical marijuana for the first time, you may consider availing yourself of the resources offered by a cannabis clinic. These organizations specialize in marijuana for beginners and will assist you every step of the way.

Before trying marijuana as a medical treatment, we do recommend that at the very least you speak with a qualified health care practitioner who can help you plan your treatment.

How to Use Marijuana

There are many different ways to use cannabis, but they can be broken down into three dominant categories.

  • Inhalation, through smoking or vaporizing
  • Ingestion, through edibles or capsules
  • Absorption, under the tongue, or topically with lotions, balms or transdermal patches

The range of options includes products like:

  • chewable CBD gummies
  • chewable THC gummies
  • CBD tinctures
  • THC tinctures
  • Rick Simpson Oil
  • Cannabinol pills
  • CBD Oils and Extracts for Vaping
  • Wax
  • Shatter
  • smokable CBD dabs
  • smokeable THC dabs
  • marijuana infused chocolate, Cookies, brownies, cakes and other treats

At the time of writing this article, options for medical marijuana patients in Canada are still limited to dry buds that can be smoked or vaped and oils that can be ingested or taken sublingually under the tongue.

With legalization of recreational use, it is expected that more and more options will become available to patients and recreational users.

How to Take Marijuana Without Smoking

Smoking a rolled marijuana cigarette, often referred to as a joint, is perhaps the most ubiquitous method of administration.

But smoking is just the tip of the ice berg for how medical marijuana can be administered to patients. For those trying marijuana for the first time, there are a lot of routes of administration that are less involved.


One of the easiest ways to consume weeds is in the form of gummies.

Chewable CBD gummies typically have an activation time of 5 minutes.

They deliver a high dose of CBD, or cannabidiol, to the brain, and research indicates that this cannabis compound may support treatment plans for improving epileptic seizures (Cunha et al. 1980).

CBD also has known anti-anxiety effects that can create a calm feeling for consumers.

The CBD compound of cannabis has been shown to speed apoptosis of cancerous tumours in a lab environment. Apoptosis is the death of cells.

The research is too limited to say what role cannabinoids like CBD may have in fighting cancer, but researchers are continuing to explore the possibility of using cannabis to support treatment for forms of cancer like prostate carcinoma (De Petrocellis et al. 2013).

THC gummies act much in the same way as CBD gummies, with a similar period of activation, but the medicinal properties of this cannabinoid are quite different.

THC can create a heady, sedating sensation in users. Some of the medicinal applications medical experts ascribe to THC are appetite stimulation and alleviating nausea. A growing body of research is also investigating the treatment possibilities of THC in slowing the effects of Alzheimer’s (Cao et al. 2014).


CBD and THC tinctures are a liquid form of cannabis-based medicine that can be taken orally, by adding it to food or drink, or through absorption directly under the tongue. Of all the ways to use marijuana, these might be the most straightforward.

Tinctures are often recommended in Cannabis-based treatments for people who deal with anxiety on a regular basis but are put off from the idea of smoking or vaping cannabis. For patients who want to use cannabis to level the thoughts, tinctures provide a very straightforward option.

Oil Capsules

For patients who don’t like smoking, cannabinol pills are also available, which are rich in a slightly psychoactive cannabinoid called CBN for short that is different from THC and CBD.

Oil capsules in both THC and CBD-dominant varieties are also available. These represent ways to use weed without puffing on a chillum or a joint.

Oils & Dabs

Wax and oil products have many different varieties.

Oil-based products, if extracted cleanly without residual solvents in the finished product, are considered by many experts to be a healthy alternative to delivering the medicine into the body by smoking dry flower.

Health Canada licensed producers manufacture a line of prescription-strength oils that are made by combining a cannabinoid-rich extract with a carrier oil like MCT.

While these are meant to be ingested or taken under the tongue, it is only a matter of time before pharmaceutical-grade oils will come on the market that can be administered with a vaporizer.

Currently, licensed producers in Canada do not supply the more potent forms of extracts such as wax and shatter, often labeled “dabs.”

Because these products currently exist in a grey market in Canada, there is none available at medical-grade quality. This is the main reason Canadian doctors do not typically recommend these forms for medicinal purposes.

Most dabs are done on a dab rig, with the extract touched to a superheated nail, creating a vapor, which is then bubbled through the rig to give a cool vapor to the person doing the dab.

One of the most highly-rated devices for smoking cannabis is the triple percolated bubbling dab rig, which is considered to give a full vape experience with the potency of dabs.

Though all dabs done on a rig are technically vaping, it is also possible to add wax to a bowl before smoking it. However, this is not recommended over vaping. Carcinogens are known to be created when combustion occurs.

Vaporizing Dry Flowers

A still better option is to use a vaporizer to inhale dried flower supplied by your licensed producer.

Specially made vape pens and stationary units can be used to heat cannabis to just under the temperature of combustion, resulting in a rich, carcinogen-free vapor.

Eating Dry Flowers

If you don’t like the idea of vaping or smoking, you can always eat your herb.

Just use a double boiler setup to slowly boil trim, big leaves, and crushed bud into coconut butter or butter.

You can then use the resultant green THC infused fatty butter in the recipe for brownies, cupcakes, brownies, biscuits or practically any baked good.

Many consider this to be the best way to consumer marijuana.

Different Types of Smoking Devices

how to vape CBD Oil There are others ways to smoke marijuana besides just lighting up a blunt.

For instance, one can use a ‘spoon’, or a short blown glass smoking pipe.

Of all the methods of smoking weed, this may be the most unpleasant. Some users report that these devices give a harsh smoke, which is why these small smoking pipes are often-times called nose burners.

The next level up from smoking marijuana out of a spoon-shaped double-blown glass piece is called a bubbler.

Bubblers have an inner chamber filled with water with a blown glass downspout. It pulls the smoke of the flowers through water, making a bubbling sound, before the somewhat cooler and less carcinogenic smoke is inhaled.

Bubblers are reported to reduce the amount of resin that reaches the lungs by up to 15% and are considered by many to be a smoother smoke.

There is always the trusty joint, which continues to be very popular. A joint is a rolling paper filled with crushed marijuana flowers and pinched at the ends.

Next on our list of smoking methods for the first-time smoker, the bong or zong.

The bong is basically a vase-like container with a hole drilled facing upward at a 45 degree angle, and is a larger version of a bubbler. It sits upright and is filled with cool water—sometimes ice cubes or crushed ice.

The smoke is pulled through a lighted bowl attached to a slide, which then pulls the smoke through the water or water-ice mixture sending a soothing draught of smoke swirling right into the smoker’s lungs.

This smoke is understood to be lower in toxins and resin than smoking from a joint or spoon. Many consider it to be the best method for smoking weed. 

How to Smoke Marijuana

Here are the steps to smoking cannabis using a basic joint:

  • Step 1: Prepare the cannabis by chopping it gently using scissors or a special granulator. It is not recommended to break the cannabis up with just your fingers as the precious resin in the herb can be lost. You need about half of a gram of cannabis.
  • Step 2: Take a rolling paper and hold it lengthwise on a surface with your thumb.
  • Step 3: Evenly scatter the chopped herb in a line on the paper.
  • Step 4: Use a card from your wallet and gently place it beside the line of cannabis. Carefully use the card to distribute the cannabis even more evenly in make the line straighter
  • Step 5: Take away the card and lick the gummed seal of the paper. Pinch each of the ends.
  • Step 6: Light one end and inhale from the other, holding the smoke in for three seconds or more before exhaling.

If it is your first time smoking weed and you don’t have a high, you may be using a strain that is lower in THC and doesn’t carry the degree of psychotropic effects that is often expected.

If you are using medical cannabis prescribed by a healthcare practitioner, this lower THC level may be intentional based on your condition or patient profile.

Before bringing in a strain with a higher level of THC, discuss it with your doctor or prescribing practitioner as high THC may put your treatment plan off course.

Finishing a whole joint may be too much for medical purposes, so discuss all of your options with a licensed health care practitioner.

You should also be aware that the joint becomes more potent as it is smoked down because the compounds in the dried flower condense at the remaining part of the joint.

Essentially, a joint becomes higher in THC with each additional puff that you take.

How to Use a Dry Herb Vape Pen

Dry herb vape pens are easy to use and are one of the most popular ways to use pot.

There are two main types, those that heat the flower through conduction, and those that heat it through convection.

In a conduction heated vape pen, the dried herb sits directly on top of the heating element, whereas in a convection heated model, hot air is passed through the chamber containing the dried and crushed flower material.

Convection heated models are known to give a much more even vapor and tend not to overheat and create actual smoke from actual combustion.

To use this product, you simply load your vape pen’s chamber with crushed dried flower, then push down the button and give it a good pull.

Remember that some vape pens create a visible cloud of vapor, whereas others create a barely visible vapor. But this will not impact a pen’s efficacy.

How to Vape CBD Oil

Other vape pens are made specifically for cannabis concentrates if you want to kick smoking for good and stick with oils.

These products take specially made cartridges and heat the oil into a vapor that patients inhale.

Vaping CBD oil is a viable method of use and helps patients avoid some of the negative effects associated with smoking cannabis. CBD oil varieties also tend to be lower in THC, which is the cannabinoid largely responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects.

Patients concerned about getting high or experiencing any unpleasant psychological episodes are often better suited to this form, but it is always best to check with a healthcare practitioner before self-medicating with any cannabis-based treatment.

To vape cannabidiol oil, add CBD concentrate into your pen’s chamber, push the button and pull. some medical experts consider this to be the healthiest way to use marijuana.

Weed Tips for Beginners

First time marijuana use can be unnerving. We’ve assembled some best tips to help you have a good experience when you take cannabis for the first time.

Tip 1: Start slow

It is understood that psychoactivity tends to appear in most patients at 5 milligrams of THC. It is often recommended that patients start at this dosage, which is easier to determine with an oil that has a defined amount of milligrams THC per millilitre.

Tip 2: Don’t try it by yourself

If you do experience any unpleasant psychotropic side effects, you will be grateful for a person nearby who can help calm you down and who take you to seek medical attention if the psychoactive effects become overwhelming.

Tip 2: Don’t try it by yourself

If you do experience any unpleasant psychotropic side effects, you will be grateful for a person nearby who can help calm you down and who take you to seek medical attention if the psychoactive effects become overwhelming.

Tip 3: Consult with a health care practitioner

If you consult with a health care practitioner who specializes in medical marijuana before attempting to medicate a condition, you will mitigate the risks of adverse effects.

A licensed practitioner is the most qualified person to take your medical history into account and prescribe you a strain and dosage routine with the greatest chance of success.

Speaking to a medical professional can also help you avoid wasted money with strains and dosage plans that are mismatched to your condition.

Here are some common questions that first-time cannabis patients frequently have.

How does weed feel for the first time?

Individuals who have never tried cannabis before will likely experience psychoactive effects that may be surprising and unfamiliar. They may feel euphoric and happy, relaxed and sleepy or, on the negative side of the spectrum, paranoid and stressed.

The degree of psychoactive effects is largely dependent on the THC content in the drug.

The amount of CBD in the strain will also influence the nature of the psychotropic effects as this cannabinoid has been observed to counteract some of the stress and anxiety that THC can generate.

First-time medical users should approach weed with caution because a particular strain can have different effects from consumer to consumer.

How long does being high last for the first time?

If you administer your cannabis medication by inhaling smoke or vapor, a high may last between one to three hours.

Peak blood concentrations of THC are reached within six to seven minutes after inhalation.
An interesting fact is that only 1 per cent of THC reaches the brain. 90 per cent of THC will remain in blood plasma bound to proteins. Some THC will also be converted to a highly potent and long-lasting metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver.

If you are using an edible to administer cannabis, the high could last three times as long. The onset can vary from person to person, but generally the absorption rate is slower and less efficient than inhalation.

The effects can last five to eight hours.

For this reason, patients should take great care not overdose as this can lead to intense psychactivity for a long duration of time. Speaking to a health care practitioner is always advised before medicating with cannabis edibles.

If administering under the tongue with a high-potency cannabis oil dropper, peak blood plasma levels are reached at four hours and will have a similar timespan to other oral routes of administration, such as edibles.

Symptoms of smoking weed for the first time?

The adverse reactions to cannabis, sometimes called their symptoms, are considered to be quite safe when compared to the dangers of overdosing on other pharmaceutical medications. All of the side effects are not life-threatening.

Symptoms of smoking weed for the first time may include:

  • Episodes of paranoia and panic
  • Light-headedness/dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control

These side effects can still be felt by experienced users who may be accustomed to the high of certain strains of cannabis and who try a strain with a higher THC volume.

We recommend speaking to a licensed medical professional who understands cannabis-based medicines. A qualified health care practitioner will help you navigate dose control based on your mental and physical health and help you avoid a bad first experience.

Read our article that covers everything about weed for beginners to learn more.

Best Marijuana for Beginners

If it is your first time using marijuana, your health care practitioner may recommend beginning with a strain that has a higher CBD to THC ratio.

In Canada, some of the strains and oils available from licensed producers that fit this profile include:

Strain Name THC to CBD Ratio
Cannatonic 2% to 24%
Desert Rose 4% to 12%
Decarb High CBD 3% to 97%
Shark Shock CBD 6.7% to 10.7%

However, if treating a medical condition is your goal it may be that your condition requires a higher THC to CBD ratio. The strains listed above may therefore be unsuited to your unique needs.

We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but rather than experiment on your own, consider reaching out to a health care practitioner who specializes in this form of medicine.

This person will be able to help you track your progress and make adjustments to your dosage or prescription as necessary.


There are a wide variety of ways patients can administer cannabis-based treatments.

Vaping CBD oil with a specially designed vape device is considered one of the best ways to use medicinal marijuana. It is a method favoured by many health care professionals who believe it gives the most health benefits with the least amount of risk.

There are other methods to deliver the medicine to your body. Whether you like edibles, flowers or vaping, there are many ways to use marijuana, depending on your preferences.

If you are a beginner user, we recommend that you consult with your family physician or a licensed health care parctitioner before you start trying different things and measuring the effects.

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  1. Eli Mcmullen

    Thank you for mentioning that a joint becomes more concentrated as you continue to smoke it. My wife has been experiencing anxiety at night which prevents her from sleeping, and I would like to learn how she can smoke marijuana safely so that she can remain functional when she wakes up and goes to school in the morning. Maybe we should take some time to learn how to smoke marijuana properly.

  2. Doug Rawson

    Thank you for your comments and for reaching out. Often, we find education and how to dose with products to be helpful. We will have further articles for each type in the future. I would recommend reaching out to your health care provider for further coaching on titrating your dose for your wife. Alternatively, you can look to other methods of consumption which can help with maintaining a steady-state for dosing. Thank you again and do not hesitate to reach out to us directly if we can help at

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