Types of Marijuanas Products:
16 Cannabis Products & Consumption Methods

It’s safe to say that the types of marijuanas products are many and growing every day. Whether you’re new to cannabis products or not, it can be a challenge to stay on top of the selection of goodies on offer online or at your favorite local dispensary.

Not to worry — we’ll cover the common kinds of weed products so you know what’s what. By the time you’re done reading this, hopefully you’ll feel confident in your knowledge of the different types of THC products available to you.

Kinds of Marijuana Items — An Overview

To get you oriented, this high-level information may be helpful when we delve deeper into the wide world of pot products in the next section.
What Are Marijuana Products?
This might sound like a silly question, but the first step to navigating the ever-evolving world of marijuana dispensary products is knowing what separates marijuana products from other types of cannabis products.

In the US, the government separates cannabis products into two camps: hemp or hemp-derived, and marijuana or marijuana-derived.

Federally legal hemp products must be made from industrial hemp, which may be rich in cannabinoids but cannot exceed 0.3% THC content. Any hemp plants that exceed this amount of THC fall into the marijuana products category.

While we’re focusing on marijuana products, hemp-based cannabis products are often available in the same form as marijuana products. So you can refer to this guide even if you aren’t looking for products that will give you that signature THC buzz.
Administration Methods
Marijuana products are either for internal use or external use. They come in many preparation styles that can be consumed in one or more of the following ways:
  • Orally (ingested)
  • Sublingually
  • Topically
  • Transdermally
  • Intranasally
  • Smoking
  • Vaping
  • Inhaling
  • Injection
Not Just For People
Just a fast final note before we dive in, we’re focusing on cannabis products for people. But, there are tons of similar products and formulations designed especially for animals out there as well. Our non-human friends can benefit from the power of plants, too!

How To Consume Different Types of Marijuana Products

We also wanted to mention a few things about consuming cannabis because informed, responsible, and sensible cannabis use is the best approach.
  • Most cannabis products are intended for adult use.
  • Always read and heed the product instructions and guidelines. They should be on the packaging, inserts, and/or labeling.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying or using cannabis products.
  • If you have a health condition or are taking medications or supplements, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor before starting to take cannabis.

What Are the Different Types of Marijuanas Products for Medical or Personal Use?

If you’ve poked around anywhere that’s selling weed products, you know that the dispensary items list is very loooong! You can find a cannabis product for just about any need it seems.

With that in mind, here’s a fairly exhaustive rundown of the types of marijuana products you may find on the market. So, if you’re wondering, “What do they sell at dispensaries?” — there’s a good chance it’s a plentiful mix of these goods.

1 - Flower (aka Buds): A Symphony of Strains and Varieties

These are the holy grails of the cannabis plants. They’re packed with tons of plant goodness — cannabinoids, terpenes, and more.

Your local dispensary probably has a mind-boggling selection of different strains, each with its own taste, scent, and effect profile. Some varieties may be more recreational, while others are more medicinal.

There are three types of cannabis strains: indica, sativa, and hybrid. These distinctions are based on the plant's genetic makeup and can play a significant role in the overall experience. Ask your budtender for guidance if you’re not sure which strain is right for you.

The flower you find for sale has probably been dried, cured, and packaged in jars, tins, or bags.

How to Consume Marijuana Flower

Buds can be loaded into the bowl piece of a dry pipe, dry herb vaporizer, or water pipe or rolled into a joint and smoked. This is the most common way of consuming flower.

Flower can also be ingested. Raw cannabis can be consumed in foods and beverages for its nutritional profile.

When using flower to make edibles or homemade cannabis goods (e.g., infused butter, hand salve, etc.), the cannabis should be decarboxylated before extraction or infusion. The decarboxylation process activates the cannabinoids. When smoking flower, your lighter achieves this effect.
Pros
Readily available & accessible
Versatile
Lots of product options
Retain tons of control over grind, dosing, etc.
One simple ingredient
Often cheaper than other product types
Accessible to many medical marijuana users
Cons
Hard to dose accurately and consistently
Can get moldy or spoil if not properly stored
May contain harmful residuals from the growing or manufacturing process
Smoking is hazardous to one's health
Usually requires specialized, often expensive, equipment to use
Can be a hassle/time consuming to prep

2 - Edibles Including Gummies, Candy, Foods & Beverages

If your marijuana comes in a form that you have to chew, sip, or suck on — it’s an edible! Edibles are ingested products and can include baked goods, chocolates, jellies, teas, milks, and more. You may find them pre-made and ready to consume, or you can make your own.

Once you’ve downed your edible, it travels through your digestive system. The cannabinoids enter your bloodstream from there.

How to Consume Edible Cannabis Products

An appropriate amount — e.g., a serving — is eaten or drunk. When it comes to enjoying these delectable treats, it's essential to keep a few key pointers in mind.

To start, always pay attention to dosage. Begin with a low dose and allow ample time for the effects to kick in before considering additional consumption.

Edibles can have a delayed onset, so patience is key. It may take up to a couple of hours to take full effect, and the experience can last much longer than smoking or vaping.
Pros
Unlimited options of edibles (if you’re willing to make your own)
Quick and easy to consume
Great for newbees
A range of doses/potencies available
Single-serve items make dosing simple
Many edibles are in travel-friendly formats/sizes
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
May provide a more gradual onset, high, and come-down than some other formulations
Cons
Slower acting than formulations that enters the bloodstream directly
Perishables have a short shelf life
Ready-made products may not be widely available or may be prohibited in your area
Ever-changing legal landscape
No definitive regulatory oversight of manufacturing or product quality
Not suitable for those who have difficulty swallowing
Good or Bad? You Decide!
Effects may last longer
Systemic effects
May have lots of ingredients besides cannabis

3 - Pre-Rolls

As you might guess from the name, pre-rolls are already-made-for-you cannabis cigarettes (minus the tobacco). They come in a whole slew of varieties: different fillings, wrappers, potencies, sizes, shapes, and quantities.

In addition to being convenient, pre-rolls make consuming cannabis more accessible for those with physical limitations who can’t roll their own joints.

How to Consume Marijuana Pre-Rolls

Pre-rolls are lit up and smoked like a regular cigarette or homemade joint.
Pros
Convenient and accessible
Quick onset of effects
Portable
Readily available
Lots of product options
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
No mess or fuss
Highly effective delivery method
Cons
Smoking is harmful to lungs
May contain other ingredients that are harmful
Expensive
Smoking can lead to tooth, nail, or skin discoloration
Smoking can accelerate the aging process and wrinkles

4 - Concentrates

Concentrates are just what they sound like — extremely concentrated forms of cannabis extract. In these products, the percentage of THC (or other cannabinoids or terpenes) is typically very high.

Common forms of marijuana concentrates include: oil, hash, rosin, wax, shatter, budder, crumble, sugar, sauce, and sand.

How to Consume Marijuana Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates are smoked or dabbed using a dab rig, nectar collector, and vape device.

A dab rig consists of several key components, including a water chamber that cools the vapor, a nail or banger where the concentrate is placed, and a heating element, often a torch. As the nail or banger is heated to the optimal temperature, the concentrate is applied, instantly vaporizing and creating a potent vapor that is inhaled through the rig.

A nectar collector can be used for a more direct and controlled dabbing experience. Resembling a straw, the nectar collector is equipped with a tip made of glass or quartz that is heated and then used to touch the concentrate, instantly vaporizing it. As the vapor rises, the user can gently inhale through the device.

Vaping is another popular option for consuming concentrates. Vaporizers designed for concentrates offer a convenient and discreet way to enjoy the effects without the need for open flames or extensive equipment.
Pros
Lots of different product options
Widely available
Quick onset of effects
High potency
Purer form of cannabis
May be easier to discern the nature and magnitude of the product’s effect on your body
Cons
Smoking is harmful to lungs
May require having specialized smoking/dabbing paraphernalia
May contain harmful residuals from the growing or manufacturing process
Can be messy
Smoking can lead to tooth, nail, or skin discoloration
Smoking can accelerate the aging process and wrinkles
Greater risk of burn injury
Possible legal risks

5 - Vapables (Cartridges)

Vapable cartridges are all the rage these days. These cartridges contain cannabis extracts and are used with a vaporizer. The devices heat up the extract so that its compounds are released and aerosolized as you inhale.

How to Use Marijuana Vapable Marijuana Products

Vape cartridges are loaded onto a battery to heat and vaporize the oil within the cartridge. Once the product is loaded into a vaping device, it is then activated and operated per its instructions, often by pressing a button. The vapors the device produces are then inhaled.
Pros
Highly effective delivery method (5)
Temperature control
Less lung irritation then inhaling smoke
Quick onset of effects
Convenient
Portable
Can be a very discreet consumption method
Lots of device and flavor options
Cons
Still can be harmful to lungs
Regulatory uncertainty
Social stigma
Likely contains other harmful ingredients
Can be tricky to get the hang of at first
Often more expensive than other options
Devices usually require batteries or charging
Maintenance and cleaning

6 - Tinctures & Drops

Tinctures and drops are a form of cannabis product made by diffusing the compounds of marijuana or hemp into a solution or carrier oil. The result is a dilution of cannabis that’s user-ready.

This kind of marijuana preparation offers a lot of flexibility. It can be administered in a number of ways. It can be used as-is or integrated into other things (e.g., DIY edibles or topicals).

Cannabis tinctures and oil drops are ubiquitous, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them at dispensaries or even online.

How to Use Cannabis Tinctures & Drops

Tinctures and drops can be taken orally, or sublingually (under the tongue). They can also be used topically, though taking them internally is more common. They can be consumed straight-up or added to recipes.
Pros
Infinitely versatile!
Quick and easy to use
Great for newbees
Usually fast-acting
Long shelf life with proper storage
Widely available in a variety of sizes, flavors, and potencies
Retain lots of control over usage
Often a better value per dose than other formulations
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Appropriate for daily usage routines
Sublingual administration is a relatively effective delivery method
Cons
Some may have an undesirable taste or aroma
Can be difficult to accurately do partial doses
Messy if spilled or not carefully administered
Not in travel-friendly formats/sizes
Not suitable for those who have difficulty swallowing
Good or Bad? You Decide!
Systemic effects if taken internally
Localized effects if used externally

7 - Topical Creams, Lotions, Oils, Tinctures, Serums & Ointments

Topical marijuana comes in a range of products, from roll-ons, to squeeze tubes, to cream tubs, to lip balms to bath bombs to bath salts to salves to massage oils to lubes. They’re an easy go-to for beauty and wellness applications. As such, topicals can have a place in both medical and personal care regimens.

With topicals, the THC and other cannabinoids tend to stay near the surface of the skin — they don’t enter the bloodstream in the same way as other formulations might. Because of this, topical marijuana products are likely to have a more localized, shorter-lasting effect.

How to Use Topical Cannabis Items

Topicals are for use on top of the skin. Gently wash and dry the affected area and apply the topical of choice onto the affected area. Simply massage into the skin until fully absorbed.
Pros
Easy to use - Designed with convenience in mind
Readily available
Great for newbees
Available in a ton of varieties to suit diverse needs
Near-immediate onset of effects
Long shelf life
Some products may be in travel-friendly formats/sizes
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Appropriate for daily usage routines
Cons
Can be messy to apply
May transfer to other surfaces
Hard to gauge dosing
Difficult to be precise or consistent with application
May require more frequent re-application
May be expensive
Good or Bad? You Decide!
Effects wear off sooner (often within a few hours)
Localized — not systemic — effects
May have lots of ingredients besides cannabis

8 -Softgels, Capsules & Tablets

Marijuana also comes in pill forms. The different kinds of cannabis pills — softgels, capsules, and tablets — have their own unique features. Some are oil-based; some are coated; some have time-release mechanisms; some are smaller and easier to swallow. Shop around to find the characteristics that are best for you.

How to Take Marijuana Pills

Regardless of variety, softgels, capsules, and tablets are intended for internal use via oral consumption. Simply wash it down with a beverage and you’re good to go!
Pros
Extremely quick and convenient
Precise dosing
Easy to use
Widely available in a range of doses, and quantities
Travel-friendly formats/sizes
Good shelf life with proper storage
May provide a more gradual onset, high, come-down than some other formulations
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Appropriate for daily usage routines
Cons
Relatively expensive per dose
Not suitable for those who have difficulty swallowing
Partial dosing may not be possible
Good or Bad? You Decide!
Effects may last longer
Systemic effects
Frequently available as functional wellness formulations (e.g., sleep, mood, or muscle recovery aids)
May have lots of ingredients besides cannabis

9 - Transdermal Patches & Gels

Transdermal products are similar to topicals in that they’re designed for external use and go on the surface of your skin. But, there are significant differences that set transdermals apart — like their formulation and how long the effect last.

Transdermal gel is specially made to deliver substances through the skin and into the bloodstream in a time-release manner. Patches are pre-loaded with transdermal gel.

Transdermal patches and gels are commonly used by those with persistent, recurring, or chronic body aches.

How to Use Transdermal Cannabis Products

Transdermal patches and other transdermal cannabis products should only be applied to clean, dry, unbroken skin. It may be necessary to change the application site each time. Patches and gels are intended to be put on the skin over the target area.
Pros
Patches last for a long time (Some can be worn for hours or days.)
Quick onset of effects
Sustained or prolonged effects
Patches are readily available
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Patches are no mess or fuss
Highly effective delivery method (1)
Cons
Expensive
Gels not as commonly accessible
Gels are messy
High risk of contaminating other surfaces (e.g., other areas of body, clothing, etc.)
May not be able to reapply in same spot
Can’t use patches on irritated skin or areas with hair

10 - Sprays & Mists

Squirtable marijuana? Yup! Oral, nasal, and facial cannabis sprays are a thing. They simply have a liquid that’s infused with THC, CBD, and/or other plant compounds. You’ll see cannabis sprays for an assortment of beauty and personal care purposes.

Effects and other usage characteristics depend on which type of spray you opt for. Oral and nasal sprays will cross the tissue barrier and enter the bloodstream like sublingual/ingested and intranasal products. Facial sprays are topicals.

How to Use Sprayable Cannabis Products

Oral sprays are spritzed into the mouth, nasal sprays are spritzed into the nose, and facial sprays are spritzed onto the face.
Pros
Convenient
Easy to use
Quick onset of effects
Readily available
Relatively fast acting
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Great for those who have difficulty swallowing
Decent shelf life with proper storage
Cons
Imprecise application and dosing
May be difficult to do partial doses
Not necessarily a great option for travel

11 - Dissolvable Strips

While not the most common of cannabis-infused products, you may be able to find dissolvable marijuana strips. These work like those breath strips that you place in your mouth and let melt away. Some of the cannabis will enter your system sublingually while the rest is ingested.

How to Consume Dissolvable Marijuana Strips

The strip goes under the tongue and is left there to [quickly] dissolve.
Pros
Portable & convenient
Rapid onset of effects
Dosing is variable, easy and precise
Great for travel or on-the-go people
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Sublingual administration is a relatively effective delivery method
No mess or fuss
Cons
Not as easy to find
Taste may be off-putting, especially for higher-dosed strips
May contain other ingredients that are harmful
Fragile — easily ruined if they get wet or are in a humid environment

12 - Intranasal Creams & Gels

The main distinction between these and run-of-the-mill topicals is that intranasal creams and gels are immediately absorbed through the nasal membranes. This means the cannabis directly enters the bloodstream and essentially impacts your body like an internal-use product.

How to Use Intranasal Marijuana Products

Intranasal creams are dabbed onto the insides of the nostrils and gently, but thoroughly, rubbed in. It can help to lightly press the nostrils together after applying the product to help ensure coverage.
Pros
Highly effective delivery method (2)
Quick absorption and onset of effects (3)
Easy to use
Portable
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Cons
Not as available as other products
Could be messy
May contain other ingredients that are harmful

13 - Suppositories

At first blush, this may seem surprising. But, there’s definitely a place for cannabis products that are taken rectally or vaginally. Most often they’re used for therapeutic purposes, like alleviating pain and/or nausea.(4)

Depending on the product and way it’s use, suppositories can act like a topical and/or like internally-consumed cannabis. This is because the groin area has areas of membranes or very thin skin that let the cannabis pass through to the bloodstream.

How to Use Cannabis Suppositories

It may take some practice and finesse, but basically the product is positioned at the opening of the rectum/vagina and then pushed in with a finger or applicator.
Pros
Can be a very effective delivery method
Onset of effects is fairly rapid
Portable (usually individually wrapped)
Pre-dosed for ease and convenience
Readily available
Doesn’t require any special accessories or equipment to use
Cons
Stigma or “ick” factor often associated with suppositories
Some may find application of suppositories uncomfortable
Could be tricky to get the hang of using
May contain other ingredients that are harmful
May require refrigeration

14 - Inhalers

Cannabis inhalers look and function like asthma inhalers. A little pressurized metal canister filled with a marijuana-infused solution fits snugly into a plastic actuator that has a metering valve.

Because of the anti-inflammatory and bronchodilation properties of cannabis, this formulation is aimed at addressing airway ailments. It allows for cannabinoids to be inhaled without the risks associated with smoking.

How to Use Marijuana Inhalers

There’s a bit of art and science that goes into the proper use of an inhaler. The gist, though, is that one deeply breathes in (through the mouth) the aerosolized marijuana that’s expressed from the canister when it’s pushed on. The puff of substance is then held in for a short period (usually a few seconds) before being exhaled.
Pros
Effective delivery method for those with certain conditions
Portable & convenient
Quick onset of effects
Pre-dosed for ease of use
No mess or fuss
Cons
Not as widely available as other formulations
May contain other ingredients that are harmful

15 - Isolates (aka Crystals or Crystalline)

This is the purest form of cannabis. The processing techniques extract and isolate a single cannabinoid — like THC or CBD. All other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. are stripped away. What’s left is almost 100% pure crystals (aka crystalline), which are often pulverized into powder. Isolates have no flavor, fragrance, or color.

How to Use Isolate Cannabis Products

Isolates can be taken orally in capsules, mixed into food and beverages, or sublingually by holding it under your tongue. Sprinkling the crystals onto your bowl or into your joint and smoking it is another option.
Pros
Versatile
Highly concentrated
High potency
Retain tons of control over dosing
Readily available
Cons
Can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing
Not ideal for newbees
Highly processed product
No benefit from other cannabinoids or plant compounds
May contain harmful residuals from the growing or manufacturing process

16 - Injections

We’re including these here because they do exist, and we want to make it clear that injectable marijuana products are only used in certain medical or research settings.

How to Consume Injectable Medical Marijuana Products*

Don’t. It’s not intended for personal use or administration. It’s only delivered this way by a professional as part of a formal clinical study.
Pros
Medically prepared and supervised in a controlled environment
Cons
It’s dangerous. Don’t do it.

Takeaways on the Multitude of Cannabis Products

As you can see, there’s no shortage of marijuana dispensary products. You could try something new every sesh if that strikes your fancy!

But, to dial into the cannabis formulations and products that work for you — you’ll really have to assess your needs and preferences, consider the pros and cons of each preparation, and do some research. It may take some trial, error, and patience, too.

Your off to a great first step by doing your research. Once you feel confident, visit a reputable local dispensary. Explore the recreational and medical marijuana products for sale. Ask the budtender all your questions. And, when you’re ready, check with your doctor first and maybe give a few products a try.

Resources

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*FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

Copyright © 2024 Green Bee Life | Green Bee LLC, is a subsidiary of Green Life Media, Inc., a full service creative agency and production company.

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