Noel Palmer, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, CBx Sciences

Long gone are the days of simple cannabis flower.

For those going to dispensaries to purchase a medical or recreational cannabis products these days, the selection can be overwhelming. Beyond the apparently countless companies making cannabis products, the type of cannabis product and/or administration form can be daunting. While not an exhaustive list, cannabis has been successfully infused into: tablets, candies, lozenges, cookies, ice cream, bacon, gummies, patches, creams, sprays, tinctures, soaps, nasal sprays, eye drops and even suppositories. A very reasonable question might be – “which product is best for me?” The answer will involve considering a few different factors, and for many situations, the answer is likely a combination of products.

The three primary administration forms for cannabis are: (1) pulmonary / inhalation, (2) ingestion / edible, (3) topical. In each case, cannabinoids are physically transferred and connected to receptors throughout the body – albeit in different mechanisms. For example, in pulmonary ingestion – cannabinoids are diffused directly into the blood stream via the lungs – and subsequently transferred systematically throughout the body. In contrast, topical applications will direct cannabinoids locally and interact with receptors as such.

There are a number of considerations for anyone trying to select the most appropriate cannabis product for their wants and/or needs. A few specific concepts are worth considering; bioavailability, duration to onset and potency.

As we’ve discussed, different administration forms can direct cannabinoids to certain receptor systems in the bodies – more-so than just the endocannabinoid system (i.e. CB1 and CB2 receptors). As well, different administration forms will affect the time for effects to take place and duration of effects. Experienced cannabis users will recognize that inhalation yields nearly immediate effects – in contrast to edibles, which can take a few hours before the effects are fully noticed. For those seeking immediate effects, there is probably no better alternative than inhalation for the rapid onset of effects.

However, most users find that a combination of product types is the most effective approach.

For example, an athlete may prefer to use an Amplify Vape to get energized before a training session and Intensive Salve on his hands and knees to recover afterwards. The combination of cannabinoids and complementary ingredients from other botanicals work synergistically to provide a combination of effects ideal for this user. The Amplifty Vape would deliver cannabinoids systemically – while the Intensive Salve would work locally. The complementary ingredients boost the overall effects.

So how do you find your perfect combo? Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet, and nothing works the same for everyone. However, an understanding of product types, cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG and THCA, and most importantly some experimentation, will start you on the right path.

What’s your favorite combo?