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How to Use Medical Marijuana

Start Low And Go Slow

Medical marijuana can offer significant benefits for patients, but its effects aren’t always immediately felt. Everyone responds differently. Finding effective products and doses may take time, as it does for many types of treatment for illness. Methods of using medical marijuana can be discussed with a patient care representative at our Verilife Cincinnati dispensary. Our goal is to help you find a method that can help manage your symptoms, paired with a delivery method that is comfortable for you to use. Finding a balanced ratio of CBD and THC that creates the right combination of both compounds is the goal. The basic principle for dosing medical marijuana is to “start low and go slow."

Medical cannabis has a wide margin of safety and there is a limited risk of overdose. However, caution is warranted until you fully understand the effect that it  may have. Dosage varies greatly among individuals, even when treating the same condition.

There are many factors that can impact the effects of Medical Marijuana, including:

Amount used (dosage)

Attaining desired results relies on using the correct dosing. Using medical cannabis in excess of an individual’s ideal dose can lead to diminishing returns and adverse outcomes.

Strain used

A strain is the variety of plant within a species. Strains define a specific cannabinoid profile—the mixture of THC, CBD, etc. within it. Each strain has its own physical characteristics, or phenotypes, such as height, leaf structure, and color. Depending on the strain and its corresponding cannabinoid profile, the plant will deliver varying effects and possible benefits. See a list of strains and possible effects.

Method of consumption

It is important to choose a delivery method that works best for you and your condition. Absorption rates vary based on your chosen method of consumption.

Verilife’s Cincinnati Ohio Medical Marijuana Dispensary Products

What you’re looking for matters. We’ll help you find it.


Inhalation Overview

Inhaling through the lungs through:

Vapor inhalation
Battery-powered handheld vaporizer
Disposable handheld vaporizer with replacement cartridge options
Electronic vaporizing device

Effects are felt almost immediately, within minutes.

Effects peak in 10–30 minutes, tapering off after approximately 2–4 hours, lasting about 4–12 hours in total.

With inhalation, dosage is easily adjusted for maximum benefit.


With vaporization, the temperature needs to be high enough to extract THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids but not too high to release the potentially harmful toxins that occur during smoking.

Vaporization is claimed to reduce some of the health risks associated with smoking.

Flower: The actual flower of the cannabis plant. This is the part of the plant that is harvested and used for medical purposes as it contains the highest concentrations of active cannabinoids. Ohio law prohibits smoking or the combustion of cannabis, but it can be inhaled through a vaporizer machine that heats the medical cannabis plant material and releases a steam-containing THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis. 

Oil:  Cannabis oil is a thick substance made up of cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant. It is obtained by separating the resins from cannabis flowers using a solvent extraction process. Oil can be administered through a vape.

Vaporizing devices must not be capable of being heated to temperatures at which medical cannabis plant material will burn.


Oral Overview

Taking cannabis in through the mouth under your tongue will absorb via the digestive system or blood vessels in the mucous membranes in the mouth.

Offers a faster onset than edibles but much slower absorption than inhalation, with 15-40 minutes before effects are felt.

Patients see lower, more delayed peak THC levels with oral administration, with effects lasting approximately 45 minutes - 2 hours.

Many patients are more comfortable with oral administration of medical marijuana.

Tinctures or oils: are concentrated forms of medical cannabis that are taken under the tongue (sublingually) or by mouth.

Spray: A spray is also a cannabis oil extract that is absorbed directly under the tongue (sublingual) and into the mouth.

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Ingestion Overview

When taking cannabis in through the mouth, it enters the bloodstream after being digested or broken down in the stomach and absorbed into the digestive system.

Ingestion takes the longest to take effect, with onset at 30 minutes - 2 hours.

Patients see effects lasting between 5-8 hours on average.

Many patients are more comfortable with edible medical cannabis. Edibles have a longer-lasting effect than other oral products.

Capsules: Medical cannabis in a pill allows chemicals to enter the bloodstream through the digestive system to provide potent treatment. Taking medical cannabis in pills instead of smoking produces a stronger and longer lasting effect.

Food/Candy: Cannabis that is eaten enters the bloodstream after going through the digestive system. Edible medical cannabis is often used when smoking isn’t possible and produces a stronger and longer lasting effect than smoking.

Beverages: Beverages with medical cannabis can produce a stronger psychoactive effect because as the body processes a liquid form of medical cannabis, it changes the structure of the THC, one of the chemicals in cannabis.

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Topicals Overview

A topical medicine is applied to the skin directly ‘on top’ of the place where it is needed.

Topical forms act very quickly.

Transdermal patches will take at least 1 hour. 

Topicals can last 1-2 hours. 

Transdermal patches can last up to 12 hours.

Topical medical cannabis works by being absorbed directly into the skin; it does not enter your bloodstream or have psychoactive effects. Some people prefer this method so they get the benefits of medical cannabis without it affecting their mind or mood. 

It comes in a variety of forms, such as ointments, lotions, balms, or transdermal patches. 

Ointment/Lotion: Medical cannabis can be used in ointments, lotions, and creams for symptoms like rashes or joint pain. These forms are not absorbed into the bloodstream and do not have any psychoactive effects.

Transdermal Patches: Many medicines are delivered transdermally, or through the skin, like pain medications or nicotine replacement. Medical cannabis delivered this way will eventually be absorbed into your bloodstream, and have psychoactive effects. 

Balms: Medical cannabis can be used in a balm—for example, to topically treat headaches or muscle pain. Medical cannabis in a balm is not absorbed into your bloodstream and doesn’t have any psychoactive effects.


Have Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

No matter your level of comfort or knowledge with medical cannabis, we can help answer your questions. Our friendly patient care representatives are happy to talk.

Our hours are 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. CST.



This website contains medical cannabis information and is restricted to individuals 21 years of age or older. Please confirm your age and state:

  • IL
  • MD
  • MA
  • NY
  • OH
  • PA

Did you know that most medical marijuana information is state-specific? We have dispensaries in each of the above states, along with state-specific resources for patients. For the best experience, please select a state.