An Option for Every Patient

While the efficacy of medical cannabis is undeniable, it is important to use the delivery system that is the best fit for you and your condition. Each consumption method produces different effects at different durations. Therefore, certain methods of consumption will be better than others in the treatment of each condition.

There are four main medical cannabis delivery systems inhalation, ingestion, oral absorption, and topical. Scroll down to learn the differences among each method to help decide which one is right for you.


There is only 1 method of inhalation that is allowed in Ohio- vaporizing – which provides a rapid onset and similar effects to smoking, which is prohibited. Inhalation involves heating medical cannabis so that cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs through vaporized medical cannabis. Medical cannabis extracts may also be vaporized through the use of various devices.


Ingesting medical cannabis produces much stronger and more psychoactive effects than other delivery systems. When digested, cannabinoids are broken down in the gastrointestinal tract and then passed through the liver before entering the bloodstream. As a result of this process, the cannabinoids pass through the blood-brain barrier more effectively, thereby increasing potency by making them more likely to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body. It may take 30 minutes to two hours to feel the full effects from ingested medical cannabis.

Edible medical cannabis affects everyone a little bit differently, depending on body size, metabolism, and experience. Many people associate edible medical cannabis with the traditional ‘pot brownie’, but that hardly gives this method the credit it deserves. This form allows for a very controlled and repeatable dosing event – like traditional pharmaceutical medicines, you can consume medical cannabis that is precisely dosed.

Oral Absorption

Cannabinoids can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream from three different areas inside the mouth – under the tongue (sublingual), on the tongue, and all other mucosa tissues lining inside the entire mouth.

The full effects from using this delivery system will be felt more quickly than by ingesting, but less quickly than with inhalation. The cannabinoids will be absorbed most quickly when held under the tongue. Most commonly, medical cannabis is consumer orally with infused mints, lozenges, and breath strips. In this method of delivery, the effects will be felt within 10 to 60 minutes.


Topical medical cannabis products come in a variety of forms including lotions, balms, creams, salves and patches. Topical medical cannabis products are applied to the outside of the skin.

In all forms of topical application other than patches, cannabinoids react with receptors under the skin, but they do not reach the bloodstream. As a result, most topical medical cannabis products do not provide psychoactive effects. Some transdermal patches, however, are able to transfer cannabinoids into the bloodstream.

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