These days, a wide variety of consumption methods exist. Traditionally, cannabis is smoked in either a pipe-type instrument or rolled in paper and smoked like a cigarette (a joint). Oral ingestion (eating cannabis-infused foods) has also been a traditional consumption method in many cultures.
Recently, with advancements in extraction technologies, a new form of concentrated resin has been developed as well as concentrated forms of cannabis oils that can be ingested orally, mixed with topical lotions and applied to the skin, or vaporized and inhaled – smoking the flower is no longer the only method; you can truly take a pill that contains a very precise and consistent dosage of medication, i.e. a pill with 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD.
Here is a quick rundown of the most common forms of consumption and the cannabis forms for each:
Inhalation – smoking or vaporizing and inhaling through the lungs (joints, pipes, and vaporizers).
Ingestion – the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the flower as oil and then either ingested as-is, combined with another medium like food or processed into pills, gel caps and other traditionally seen medicinal forms that can enable very precise and controlled dosing experiences (edible baked goods, pills, capsules and tinctures).
Oral absorption – the extracted oil is combined with another medium. The finished product is kept in the mouth while it dissolves under the tongue, on the tongue or through the inner cheek (mints, lozenges and breath strips).
Topical – the extracted oil is combined with a product that is applied to the skin (lotion, ointments and transdermal patches).