cannabis tincture vs smoking

“Consumption Junction, What’s Your Function?”

Many of you are probably too young to know about Schoolhouse Rock Back in those days consumption was strictly about smoking (and the occasional ambitious friend who attempted to bake brownies that came out awful). But as cannabis legalization heats up across the nation, we’re not exclusively limited to smoking anymore.


A quicker way to feel the buzz than with edibles, tinctures are either oil or alcohol-based extracts that are administered sublingually (under the tongue). Sublingual administration will be slower to hit you than just smoking would, but the effects are typically far more intense. Additionally, the effects last longer than a smoking session, just like edibles might.

Tinctures are incredibly useful for medical users who want a long-lasting, fast dose of cannabinoids. They’re popular because of how fast they get absorbed into the bloodstream and how little a dose you must consume before feeling the effects. Just a drop or two can have those with a lower tolerance wanting to take a nap for a few hours.

While it can seem intimidating with just how little you need to feel something, the opposite is typically the case. On the contrary, because of the ease in consumption method, tinctures make it easy to regulate and measure each dose. For those who don’t want to dive straight into edibles but want to stray away from smoking, tinctures pose as a viable option.


Much like tinctures, sprays are delivered orally, typically sublingually, as an alcohol or oil-based product that delivers a fast-acting dose into the bloodstream. Sprays will have a variety of strengths and ratios, so some may be CBD-heavy rather than THC-heavy, the same as tinctures. Sprays are popular for beginners and experienced cannabis users alike for the sheer range of options available. Between different flavors and a wide selection of strengths, anyone trying to stray away from smoking can find interest in a cannabis spray.

Canna-butter or Canna-oil

If you want to dip into the world of edibles without diving in head first, rationing off doses of canna-butter or canna-oil is a potential option. Instead of a daunting 1,000mg THC brownie waiting for you, you can use canna-butter or canna-oil a little bit at a time with each meal you want to experiment with. Discover your favorite edible combinations and find out what strength is the best dosage for you with this method.

Infused Drinks

If you live in a legal state, you know how popular cannabis-infused drinks are. Between cannabis-infused juices, sodas, coffees, and countless other beverages, the market for cannabis drinks is clearly booming. Though drinking cannabis isn’t new, and probably not the most common way to consume it, it is an alternative to smoking that can often lead to a much more intense, longer euphoric experience.

In states where it’s recreational, you can purchase canna-infused coffees that contain enough THC to get you stoned, and the buzz mixed with the caffeine from the coffee offers an interesting experience that you wouldn’t encounter through smoking. There are, however, plenty of CBD teas and other CBD beverages that provide all the medicinal benefits without the psychoactive effects that come with THC.

The more popular cannabis-infused drinks become, the more the type increases in variation. Infused lemonades and canna-sodas are running rampant across legal states, all the way up to canna cocktails and margaritas for a toasty cross-fade you can’t get anywhere else. Whatever your need might be for consuming the plant, there are infused drinks that can make it far easier to take in than smoking or even forcing down edibles.

Chewing Gum

Primarily used for CBD, there are also some variations of THC gum that can provide an inviting buzz discretely and effectively. Gum is a popular option among medical patients that suffer through chronic pain conditions, such as IBS or fibromyalgia. Gum is more effective than regular edibles as the cannabinoids are absorbed in the mouth through the mucous membranes instead of in the digestive system. This makes gum deliver the effects of CBD and/or THC faster, more effectively, and for longer.


While vaping is certainly similar to smoking, there are some added benefits that some consider makes this method superior. Vaping is more convenient than having to clean out a cashed bowl and load it every time. In fact, if you get a vape that you can put raw bud in, you can use the already vaped bud for edibles, to smoke, or for a variety of other purposes, so it gets reused instead of simply put in the ash tray.

Vaping also reduces the health risk of smoking cannabis. Instead of holding in smoke and possibly tobacco if you’re smoking out of a blunt, vaping helps to reduce the risk of ingesting toxins that you otherwise would through the smoke. This is because vaping heats the cannabis without combustion, though this is also what decreases the smell. Especially if you’re using a THC or CBD cartridge instead of raw leaf cannabis, the smell with vaping is almost non-existent.

Finally, the amount of THC or CBD extracted into a vape cartridge or extracted through raw bud from the vape is typically much stronger than the amount you’d smoke. For example, a typical THC cartridge can contain anywhere between 60% and 99% THC. Raw cannabis that’s to be smoked, on the other hand, contains 15% to 30%, on average. In short, you’ll get a much more intense buzz by vaping rather than smoking.

Whether you’ve decided to just stick with smoking or you’re going to branch out to discover new favorite ways to consume your bud, we hope this guide helped you figure it out. Through these different consumption methods, your eyes have now been opened to the wide range of ways we can consume marijuana and feel its effects.

Cannabis can be consumed in various ways. Not sure what's best for you? The education team at High There! has you covered. Read more about consumption here.

Should You Use Cannabis Tinctures Instead of Flower?

The days of only having one way to consume cannabis are behind us. (Flower, meet vape pen, topicals, and even marijuana tablets!) We’ve got a whole variety of methods these days, but this one is actually making an old-school comeback. Tinctures are cannabis extracts that have been diluted in a liquid form, usually sold in dropper bottles.

Before cannabis prohibition, tinctures were extremely popular. You could walk into any drug store to purchase them, with even small stores often carrying their own label of cannabis tincture. They were used for all kinds of mental and physical ailments, just as they are again today. (We can thank a real gem of a person named Harry J. Anslinger for this nearly-90-year detour from progress, but that’s another story.)

Why Use Tinctures?

Tinctures are probably the most underrated form of cannabis available. While they might not be as delicious as a brownie, or the many other edible treats in this new world of cannabis; and there’s not a ritual around it, no favorite piece to employ – cannabis tinctures also have benefits that other methods don’t offer.

1. Discreet: Taking a little liquid out of a dropper bottle is a whole lot less conspicuous than puffing on a spliff. Cannabis tinctures are a great way to medicate when in public or other situations where it’s not okay to employ other methods.

2. Careful Dosing: That little dropper is also a whole lot more adept at measuring your dose than say, “a big-ish bite of brownie.” Dropper vials allow you to measure exactly how much you want, enabling you to ingest the amount desired with clarity. Cannabis tinctures are especially great if you’re interested in microdosing.

3. Fast-Acting: Cannabis tinctures can be taken sublingually by dropping the liquid under your tongue and letting it absorb into your bloodstream. Rates vary depending on the person and tincture, but you can expect to start feeling it in 15 minutes and it will be effective for 2-3 hours. (You can also swallow the drops for an edible effect, which will kick in later.)

4. Can Double as a Topical: You can also use cannabis tinctures as a very potent topical, rubbing the liquid into your skin in small problem areas. This method can be used for pain and inflammation, skin care, and other issues; depending on the cannabinoids being employed.

5. Variety of Cannabinoids Available: In tinctures, you can often choose from a bigger variety of cannabinoids. Where it can be difficult to find even CBD flower from time-to-time, you can count on seeing a variety of CBD tinctures, and maybe other helpful cannabinoids like THCa.

6. They Can Get You High, Or Not: On a similar note to our last point, you can choose if you’d like to have a psychoactive experience based on what cannabinoids you choose. THC is the cannabinoid that gets you high, so be mindful of this when choosing your products.

How to Use Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures are a very simple method of cannabis consumption. First, decide how much you’re going to take. It’s always wise to start with a low amount, like 0.25 mL, and slowly add more until you reach the desired effect. Next, you either swallow it or let it absorb under your tongue (sublingually) to get it directly into your bloodstream.

If you swallow the cannabis tincture, it will process through your liver and take effect later. Some non-psychoactive cannabinoids seem to have a cumulative effect, with healing not being so obvious as a lack of symptoms. So be prepared if you decide to stop use because it doesn’t seem to be working anymore as the return of symptoms can be a very unpleasant surprise.

A Few More Thoughts on Cannabis Tinctures

Not every tincture is created equal. Tinctures can be made with different dilution methods that have their own strengths and weaknesses. Tinctures are technically defined as extracts diluted in alcohol, but that’s illegal in California; so you’ll find mostly MCT, vegetable glycerin, and olive oil tinctures at The Higher Path.

MCT stands for medium-chain-triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids that come from coconut and palm oils. Because cannabinoids are fat-soluble, science suggests that using oils high in these “good fats” leads to better absorption of cannabinoids.

Other plant methods fall under vegetable glycerin, like soy, that generally don’t have as much fat but that do have a palatable taste. Olive oil is a gentle form of extraction, leaving fragile terpenes intact. Again, these can’t hold as many cannabinoids due to having less fat – but they also don’t pull a lot of chlorophyll, which leads to a better taste. ( Fiddler’s Greens is a great example there.)

Is it Time to Get to Know Tinctures?

All-in-all, cannabis tinctures are a highly underrated mode of cannabis consumption. They are discreet, offer specific dosing, are fast-acting, and come in a variety of options with various strengths. Our friendly budtenders at The Higher Path will be happy to guide you to the option best suited to your needs.

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Flower has its benefits and so do cannabis tinctures. Thinking about making the switch or adding tinctures to your routine? Here's what you should know.