Cannabis Highs: Smoking, Edibles, Sublingual, and Transdermal 

Blog, Education

Editorial / November 18, 2021

Smoking kush isn’t the only way to get the benefits of the cannabis plant. There are so many different ways to consume legal weed, but how do you know which one is right for you?


In this post, we’ll cover: 

  • Smoking / Vaping
  • Edibles
  • Sublingual
  • Transdermal
  • Different Cannabis Strains


Smoking / Vaping

Smoking-cannabis-highsWhen smoking or vaping, THC and other cannabinoids are absorbed through the lungs and take effect quickly. You’ll start feeling the effects seconds to minutes after inhaling because it is absorbed into the bloodstream immediately. Effects are different for each individual, they can peak at 30 minutes and last as long as 6 hours after use.


Smoking involves burning the cannabis flower through a joint, pipe, or bong and breathing in the smoke, whereas vaping is breathing in vapors from concentrated high THC content cannabis oil that is heated to a precise temperature.


Vaporizers, which are different from vape pens, heat finely ground flower to precise temperatures to vaporize oils that are then inhaled. Vaporizing produces very light smoke and does not burn the flower so you can taste the pure cannabis terpene flavors without the burnt plant material.


Is Smoking or Vaping Right For Me?

If you want to feel the effects immediately or enjoy the ritual of smoking you may enjoy this.



chocolate-cannabis-highsEating cannabis-infused foods and drinks can take from 90 minutes to 2 hours to start feeling the effects because it takes longer to be absorbed into your body as the THC is digested and processed through the stomach and the liver.


An edible high can feel three times stronger than a smoking high because the liver converts THC into a stronger form which adds to the intensity and longevity of the high. The effects of an edible can peak around 4 hours, and taper off several hours later.


Cannabis edibles are starting to look more like the fancy food show with all the chocolates, gummies, drinks, snacks, gourmet cookies, desserts, popcorn, and granola.


However, we should note: It’s not uncommon for new marijuana users to have a bad or unpleasant experience with edibles, and many people avoid edibles for the fact that they can be hard to dose and gauge. Therefore, it is best to start low at 5mg THC and wait at least 2 hours to see how you feel before having more. The worst case is that you don’t feel anything and try again another day with an increased dose.


Are Edibles Right For Me?

If you’re looking for a long-lasting high you may enjoy cannabis edibles. You may also want to try edibles if you dislike smoking (i.e., if you have asthma or allergies), want to be discreet, have a sweet tooth, or like trying new infused treats.


ticture-cannabis-highsSublingual means “under the tongue.” This method involves placing the plant’s cannabinoids (THC and CBD) under the tongue so they can be quickly absorbed into the body. With this method, onset time can be anywhere between 15-30 minutes — you may start feeling the effects faster than you would if you were to eat or drink an edible.


Generally, sublingual THC products come in tinctures, dissolving strips, mouth sprays, lozenges, and tabs. You simply place these products under your tongue and let it dissolve for about 5 to 10 minutes. Always remember to read labels carefully and check the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to CBD (cannabidiol) ratios so you know what dosing is best for you.


Products labeled as tinctures often contain an alcohol or oil base (usually MCT or olive oil). Flavored tinctures help mask the bitter grassy flavor, but if you enjoy the herbal grassiness of weed, try a whole plant, solventless tincture.


Is Sublingual Right For Me?

The sublingual method might be right for you if you are sensitive to smoke, smell, want to be discreet, or prefer to avoid the sugar in most edibles.



topical-cannabis-highsTransdermal products including THC and CBD infused balms, topicals, lotions, or bath soaks, are applied topically and cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin. This method is typically used for pain relief, to reduce inflammation, and for overall relaxation of the body. In low doses, there’s usually no head high, which is why it’s a popular choice with athletes and seniors looking for relief from muscle aches, swollen joints, and daily pain.


Is Transdermal Right For Me?

If you want to use THC and CBD for relief from physical pain without the psychoactive effects of THC, you may like transdermal products. Transdermal is also great for introducing your older parents or grandparents to the benefits of the cannabis plant because the topical application is easy to try and not as intimidating as smoking or eating an edible.


Different Cannabis Strains

The method of smoking isn’t the only thing that impacts your high, the strain of cannabis you use directly impacts how it will make you feel. Different types of cannabis strains can make you feel anywhere from deep intense relaxation to euphoric, energetic, uplifting feelings in both mind and body that are driven by each strain’s unique terpene profile.


Strains and terpene profiles can help you decide what to try based on effect. Certain strains and terpene profiles reportedly make people feel more creative, sleepy, focused, euphoric, relaxed, less anxious, and even provide pain relief.


Terpenes (tur-peenz) are natural aromatic oils found in plants, and in especially high concentrations in cannabis, that create the characteristic scent of many plants such as cloves, pine, and lavender, citrus, and hops.


Strain-specific products have different characteristics, flavors, and aromas that can shape your experience. Here’s how to pick the right cannabis strain for your needs.


Uplifting + Stimulating

Cannabis Sativa and Sativa-dominant strains that are often high in Limonene (citrus) and Caryophyllene (pepper) terpenes which tend to have uplifting, euphoric, energetic effects.


Goodbrands-sativa-prerollPopular Sativa strains like goodbrands™ Jack Herer or Orange Apricot are known for their stimulating effects. These strains are best for daytime use when you want to get house chores done or write the next great American novel.


Shop Canndescent CONNECT and CHARGE are Sativa and Sativa-hybrid strains that will keep you moving through the day.


Relax + Chill

Cannabis Indica and Indica-dominant strains with Linalool (lavender), Myrcene (mangoes), and Pinene (pine) terpenes are known for their characteristic body high and couch-lock feeling.


canndescent-CALMPopular Indica strains like Grape Ape, Zkittlez, and Ice Cream Cake are known for their deep relaxation and sedative effects. Canndescent CRUISE and CALM are Indica and Indica-hybrid strains that help you relax and mellow out. These strains are best for sleep and offer full body and mind relaxation and stress relief.

To learn more about promotions and product releases from Canndescent, sign up for our email updates.


Something In-Between

Hybrid strains that are cross-bred with both Indica and Sativa plants produce unique combinations in terms of flavor, aroma, and effects. Some strains may have higher CBD content which has a more mellow high that balances the THC. The most popular hybrid is Blue Dream, which is known for having a perfect balance of both body relaxation and cerebral mind high.


goodbrands-hybridgoodbrands’ hybrid strains Grease Monkey, Wedding Cake, and Trifi Cookies can also fine-tune any part of your day. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, a good night’s sleep, or to boost your creativity, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy cannabis. Ask the budtender at your local dispensary for guidance if you’re curious about new products.

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Written By Christina Wong

Christina spent over a decade in the food & restaurant industry, working with well-known chefs and restaurants in Los Angeles. A creator, baker, and creative consultant, her work won a Clio Cannabis Award in 2020. She bakes infused culinary cannabis creations at Baking With Chickens, and hosts a culinary cannabis cooking show “BAKED With Chickens” on YouTube.

4 replies on “Cannabis Highs: Smoking, Edibles, Sublingual, and Transdermal ”

It is difficult to say for sure which strains will help since there are many different types of migraines and, therefore, different strains that can ease discomfort. However, generally speaking, Kush strains, such as OG Kush, Purple Kush, and Bubba Kush, tend to help with Migraines. Strains high in CBD may also help with overall pain.

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