What is the difference between smoking, vaping and ingesting cannabis?

Region: Ontario Answer # 2303

The many forms of cannabis can be consumed in a number of different ways, the most common being smoking, vaping and ingesting.


Cannabis, usually marijuana or hashish, can be smoked in a number of ways, such as:

  • cannabis (sometimes mixed with tobacco) rolled in cigarette paper (known as joints or spliffs)
  • through a pipe or bong (a type of pipe)
  • as a blunt (a partially or entirely hollowed out cigar wrappers filled with cannabis)
  • inhaling cannabis usually brings on the effects quickly


Vaping, or vaporizing refers to the process of breathing in dried cannabis or liquid cannabis vapours through a vaporizer or vaping device, such as a “vape” pen or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette).

Ingesting edibles

Cannabis can also be consumed by eating or drinking food items, known as edibles, made with marijuana or hashish, or infused with marijuana or hash oils. Ingesting cannabis this way may take longer to product effects, however, those effect may be stronger and last longer than when consumed through other methods. Edibles can include:

  • beverages such as tea, soda
  • baked goods
  • candies


Other ways of consuming cannabis

Cannabis can be consumed in a number of other ways, including:

  • tinctures taken orally (most commonly CBD oils)
  • lozenges
  • lotions applied directly to the skin
  • suppositories
  • nasal sprays


Dabbing is another method cannabis users sometimes use. It refers to the act of heating cannabis concentrates, known as ‘dabs’, on a hot surface and inhaling the smoke, (vapours).

A “dab” is a very concentrated dose of cannabis made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids using a butane or propane torch. The heat vaporizes the cannabis concentrate and produces a sticky oil, or dab, also referred to as waxshatterbudder, and butane hash oil (BHO). The oil is then heated on a hot surface, usually a nail, and then inhaled through specific type of water pipe known as a dab rig.

Because of its extraction method, dabbing is considered a very dangerous method for consuming cannabis.

Edibles, concentrates and topicals not legal for sale until October 2019

It is important to note that the sale of edibles and cannabis concentrates will remain illegal until October 17, 2019, one year after the Cannabis Act came into force. This is to allow federal regulations for their production and sale to be developed and legislated.  However, the Cannabis Act and current regulations make it legal to make your own edibles and consume them at home (you just cannot sell them).

On June 14, 2019 Health Canada confirmed that the new regulations will come into effect on October 17, and in mid-December the following cannabis products will be legally for sale in Canada: edibles, topicals and extracts (concentrates).

For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matter, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .


Harrison Jordan Cannabis ONHarrison Jordan Cannabis ON


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