How do I know what kind of herbal product I need?

With new herbal products being developed daily, it can be challenging to figure out what product is best suited for your specific needs. There are endless ways to consume cannabis and other forms of natural medicine, but today we'd like to introduce you to four major categories: topicals, mucosal delivery, ingestion, and inhalation. 

Natural herb supplements and products including dried herbs of lavender and chamomile, fresh thyme, capsules, tablets, tincture, balm

Mucosal Delivery

Average Onset Time: 5-15 min
Average Length of Effects: 2-4 hrs
Includes tinctures, lozenges, suppositories, lubricants, bath soaks

Mucosal delivery involves the absorption of an herb through a mucous membrane. Tinctures are one of the most common forms of mucosal delivery and are absorbed through the mouth for fast and effective relief. Unlike with edibles, the active ingredients don’t have to be processed by your digestive system and therefore take effect more quickly. 

Perfect for discreet yet fast medication during your day.  

How to Use: Tinctures (AKA “sublinguals”) are placed under the tongue for 15-120 seconds and then swallowed. You can also add tinctures to your food or drink to easily turn anything into an edible. When tinctures are immediately swallowed, they will act within your system like an edible would. 

Topical Application

Average Onset Time: 0-15 min
Average Length of Effects: Varies
Includes lotions, oils, balms, salves, poultices

Topicals include anything that is applied to the surface of the skin. When applied, topicals interact directly with that area for fast, effective and non-intoxicating relief. Topicals come in many forms such as sprays, lotions, oils, salves, and more. 

Perfect for carrying in your purse or keeping handy at your desk during the work day. 

How to Use: Apply topicals directly to where you are experiencing discomfort to relieve cramps and/or pain. Some topicals can even be applied to the temples for headaches. When purchasing cannabis topicals,choose a topical blended with other essential oils for enhanced relief tailored to your specific needs. You can also create your own CBD topicals using products like Papa & Barkley Essentials Hemp Drops.


Average Onset Time: 30-120 min
Average Length of Effects: 4-8 hrs
Includes edibles, teas, infusions, tinctures, capsules

Infused foods are digested and metabolized by your body at a slow rate to provide deep and long-lasting relief. When it comes to cannabis, don’t eat edibles on an empty stomach, and be aware that they are likely to have stronger effects if you have recently eaten fatty foods.

Perfect for discreetly medicating before and during the workday for intense, long-lasting relief.

How to Use: To use cannabis edibles as medicine without getting “high,” consider microdosing every few hours throughout the day with pure-CBD or high-CBD products that have as little as 1-5 mg THC. If you are new to edibles, be sure to test your tolerance at a time without other responsibilities. You can also add tinctures to food and beverage to create your own ingestible product.


Average Onset Time: 0-5 min
Average Length of Effects: 2-4 hrs
Includes smoking, vaporizing, diffusing, breathing aromas

Inhaled herbs instantly enter the bloodstream through the lungs for immediate relief. Both dried flower and concentrates can be smoked or vaporized. Concentrates are very potent; be sure to use them with caution. Herbs can also be used aromatically by simply inhaling the smell from a fresh or dried plant or bottle of essential oil. Diffusers can be used for extended inhalation of essential oils. 

Perfect for instant relief while in private.

How to Use:
 involves igniting dried flowers packed in a joint or pipe. When smoking cannabis, only 12% of what’s inhaled has beneficial cannabinoids. 

Vaping involves heating herbs enough to release their beneficial compounds without creating a harmful combustion. You can vaporize both flower and concentrates.

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This article was written by Kristen Williams and published on August 22, 2017. Copyright © 2017 Hempsley, All Rights Reserved