D52: which mode of administration should I use?

A Guide to THC Administration: What You Need to Know About Methods, Dosages, and Effects

When considering medical cannabis, the mode of administration is a crucial factor to consider. Each method—be it edibles, topicals, tinctures, or inhalation—has unique pharmacokinetics, including absorption rates and durations of effects. Factors such as time to onset, effect duration, and typical dosages also vary. We’ll delve into the specifics of each mode to better inform your choices.

Comparison Table

Mode of AdministrationTime to EffectsEffect DurationTypical DosageEuphoric Consequences
Edibles30 min – 2 hrs4 – 12 hrs5 – 15 mgModerate to Strong
Topicals20 – 40 min2 – 5 hrsVariesMinimal
Tinctures15 – 45 min4 – 8 hrs5 – 15 mgModerate
InhalationSeconds1 – 3 hrs1 – 3 puffsStrong


  • Time to Effects: 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Effect Duration: 4 to 12 hours
  • Typical Dosage: 5 – 15 mg of THC
  • Euphoric Consequences: Moderate to strong
  • Edibles are processed through the liver, leading to a delayed but often more potent effect. The psychoactive metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC is produced during first-pass metabolism in the liver, which is generally more potent than THC (Vandrey et al., 2019).


  • Time to Effects: 20 to 40 minutes
  • Effect Duration: 2 to 5 hours
  • Typical Dosage: Varies
  • Euphoric Consequences: Minimal
  • Topicals are generally used for localized relief and are less likely to produce euphoric effects as they don’t typically enter the systemic circulation (Pertwee, 2015).


  • Time to Effects: 15 to 45 minutes
  • Effect Duration: 4 to 8 hours
  • Typical Dosage: 5 – 15 mg of THC
  • Euphoric Consequences: Moderate
  • Tinctures offer more controlled dosing compared to edibles and are absorbed more quickly.


  • Time to Effects: Within seconds
  • Effect Duration: 1 to 3 hours
  • Typical Dosage: 1 – 3 puffs
  • Euphoric Consequences: Strong
  • The effects are immediate but may lead to quicker dissipation of effects. However, the rapid onset makes it easier to titrate the dose (Loflin et al., 2017).


  1. Vandrey, R., Raber, J. C., Raber, M. E., Douglass, B., Miller, C., & Bonn-Miller, M. O. (2019). Cannabinoid Dose and Label Accuracy in Edible Medical Cannabis Products. JAMA, 313(24), 2491–2493.
  2. Pertwee, R. G. (2015). Endocannabinoids and Their Pharmacological Actions. Handb Exp Pharmacol, 231, 1–37.
  3. Loflin, M., & Earleywine, M. (2017). A new method of cannabis ingestion: The dangers of dabs? Addictive behaviors, 71, 1-7.

Cautionary Note

For individuals with certain medical conditions such as liver disease, respiratory issues, or those taking medications that interact with cannabinoids, it is crucial to consult a specialized medical professional for personalized guidance. Contact Dr. Caplan at CED Clinic for tailored, thoughtful care in such scenarios.

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