Whatever you call it weed, pot, marijuana, Mary jane, bud, ganja, Kush, chronic, dope, dank, grass, skunk, green, outdoor, bo-bo - You’re in the right place for youth-focused information to make informed choices

It starts with The Cannabis Plant – The term cannabis most accurately refers to a whole plant species known as Cannabis sativa. There is cannabis sativa, indica, and hybrid sub-types, but most week consumed is a hybrid of some sort

The plant is comprised of various parts (stem, leaves, flower-bus) used for different purposes:

  • Dried buds/flower and oils from the female cannabis plant – the richest source of cannabinoids (psychoactive and non-psychoactive)
  • Fibers, seeds, and oil from other parts of the female plant and the entire male plat (hemp plat) – used to create lotions, fabric, plastic, and much more and do not contain potentially intoxicating cannabinoids
  • Terpenes are oils found in plants responsible for tase and smell – there are many terpenes specific only to cannabis and different among strains giving team unique aromas
  • Flavonoids are compounds in plants which give plants their pigmentation (Color) and play a role in plant health-flavonoids in cannabis are thought to have beneficial effects in particular, anti-inflammatory effects

Methods of Consumption and Effects

  • Inhaling (smoking and vaping) and ingesting (edibles, tinctures, ingestible oils) cannabis are not the only methods of consuming it, but they are he most common. Risks and onset and duration of effects differ between methods.

The type of product being inhaled or ingested is also important

  • Botanical matter (buds, flowers) is less risky than concentrates (especially shatter, wax, hash oil) – concentrates used by dabbing (heating and inhaling a pinhead size of wax, resin or rosin) or vaping have extremely high THC
  • Concentrates have THC concentrations of 70-90%+ compared to up to 5-30% in legally available botanical materials.


  • Smoking (in a pipe, bong, joint, spliff, or blunt) is probably the most common method of consuming smokable flower.

Onset: 30 seconds to 15 minutes. Wait to gauge effect before inhaling again.

Duration: 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on train and dosage; may last up to several hours.

Risks: Lung irritation, spreading germs when sharing device used to smoke. Spliffs/blunts, which combine smokable flower with tobacco, increase risk of head rush, nicotine additional, and lung damage.


  • The term “vaping” or ‘vaporizing” can refer to a variety of different method. There are dry herb vaporizers, which heat, but do not burn, botanical cannabis matter, therefore risks associated with smoking are reduced. Active chemicals ae released into the vapors when heating coils get hot enough, and these can be stationary or transportable units. There are also vaporizers that can be manually loaded with concentrates, like shatter, and follow a similar process of heating. Additionally, there are “vape pens”, which are typically pre-loaded and designed specifically to vaporize cannabis distillates and oils. They are called vape pens because they resemble a traditional pen in look.

Onset: 30 seconds to 15 minutes. Wait to gauge effect before inhaling again; one inhalation may be all it takes to get high.

Duration: 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on strain and dosage; may last up to several hours and more intense if oils used.

Risks: The toxins are released from heating coils and inhaled (health effects not yet known); if oils are vaped, stronger effects occur which can be risky if the dosage is high.


  • Edibles refer to cannabis-infused food products like cookies, brownies, coconut oils and butters. Ingesting may become more widespread because it does not affect the lungs. They are cautions to be aware of like more intense and delayed effects.

Onset: 30 minutes to 2 hours but depends on a variety of factors such as whether the stomach is empty or not, and metabolism.

Duration: roughly 3 to 6 hours, although effects may last over 24 hours depending on dose

Risk: ingesting too much if not aware onset of effects is delayed; “bad high” can result from over consumption because effects are more intense when eaten. First time consumers must start with low dose (2.5mg) and ingest slowly.

Note: Cannabis beverages are also available on the legal cannabis market, however these products use a technology called “nanoemulsion”. Nanoemulsion based cannabis beverages are fast acting (10-30 minutes) and have high bioavailability, meaning the body will absorb a higher amount of the THC or CBD.

  • Tinctures and Ingestible Oils. Tinctures and oils are either ingested as drops under the tongue or added to food and beverages. Information below about one and duration refer to sublingual drops. Otherwise, effects are similar to edibles consumed in food or drinks.

Onset; 1-4 hours depending on dose

Duration: 20 to 40 minutes sublingually; 30 minutes to two hours if ingested.

Risks: Similar to edibles if over consumed.

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