Cannabis Product Categories: Every Kind Explained

Published January 31, 2024
Cannabis Product Categories: Every Kind Explained - Secret Nature

In the space of a few short decades, using cannabis has evolved from a practice with only one approach to a vital marketplace full of possibilities. It’s still possible to just “smoke weed” like in the olden days, but there are now dozens of fully unique ways to use the various forms of cannabis that have recently appeared on the market.

This is your guide to every single type of cannabis product available to you today. Use it to learn where to buy the right kind of cannabis for you and how. By the end, you’ll be a master of cannabis product knowledge and will be able to help others when they are struggling to make the right selection.

Different types of cannabis products: Overview

Let’s begin with a brief overview of what you’ll need to know when selecting the right cannabis product:

1. Cannabis is roughly divided into two categories: hemp and marijuana
2. These categories indirectly determine the way cannabis is regulated
3. Cannabis regulations, in their part, determine where and how you can buy cannabis products
4. For both hemp and marijuana, there are products you inhale, ingest, or apply to your skin
5. Cannabis products are also divided up by intended use with certain cannabinoids being more useful for particular purposes than others
6. Some cannabis products are only available in person but others can be bought online

Types of cannabis products by cannabinoid

As we start diving deeper into the delineations between cannabis product categories, let’s tackle this question next: What kinds of cannabinoids are in cannabis products?

THC cannabis products

Traditionally, the majority of cannabis products have contained THC. This fact is reflected in the federal government’s continued definition of “marijuana” as cannabis products that contain more than a trace amount of THC.

Cannabis products with more than 0.3% THC (technically, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) are tightly regulated and only officially legal at the state level. These products are bought at “dispensaries,” which can range from community-operated collectives to corporate sales floors similar to Apple stores.

THCA cannabis products

THCA is the precursor to THC, and it’s actually much more abundant in cannabis. Since it isn’t technically THC, THCA can be sold online, and THCA products have recently become quite popular. THCA converts into THC when heated to the temperature applied when vaping or smoking, making THCA products a great way for shoppers to access THC in states where medical or adult-use markets are nonexistent or suboptimal.

Delta 8 cannabis products

Delta 8 THC is a natural variant of delta 9 that, nonetheless, does not occur in cannabis in high-enough quantities for extraction. Instead, delta 8 is converted from CBD, making it more laborious and energy-intensive to produce than THCA. As a result, the industry has mainly moved to THCA and away from delta 8, but D8 vapes remain a highly popular option online.

CBD cannabis products

Originally overlooked due to its lack of intoxicating properties, cannabidiol (CBD) has nonetheless trended into explosive popularity over the last decade thanks to its massive medicinal benefits. CBD won’t get you high like THC, but it might be even more useful for treating a variety of chronic conditions.

CBG cannabis products

Cannabigerol (CBG) is more similar to CBD than THC, but it’s a unique cannabinoid in its own right. Like CBD, CBG won’t get you high, but its benefits for fighting infectious disease may be far greater. Lately, CBG has become especially popular in topical formulations.

CBN cannabis products

Cannabinol (CBN) is a metabolite of THC that appears as this famous cannabinoid breaks down. Lesser known than CBD, CBN has nonetheless started gaining traction in recent years due to its apparent usefulness in facilitating sleep. CBN gummies and tinctures aimed at helping you relax at night are the most common cannabinol products you’ll find.

Types of cannabis products by formulation

Now that you know the types of cannabinoids that can go into cannabis products, it’s time to take a closer look at the types of products they can be included in by asking: What kinds of cannabis products are there?

Cannabis flower products

The original cannabis product type, cannabis flower remains a very strong option with THC and CBD flower being the two most popular varieties. THCA flower has also shot forward into popularity, though, due to the ease of purchasing it online.

Cannabis vapes

Cannabis vapes, including vape cartridges and disposable cannabis vapes, have become the second most popular way to inhale cannabis. With vapes, it’s possible to include practically any cannabinoid, but CBD and THC are the most common.

Cannabis tinctures

Cannabis tinctures originally became popular with CBD, and CBD tincture or “CBD oil” is still the standard product. Other cannabinoids can also be prepared in tincture form with this product type being one of the easiest to formulate overall.

Cannabis capsules

Cannabis capsules can come in either hard or soft shells, and the varieties don’t end there. Originally popularized by Rick Simpson oil (RSO), capsules can now contain other types of THC extract as well as cannabis extracts featuring CBD, CBG, CBN, and more.

Cannabis edibles

The days of “pot brownies” are mainly behind us as cannabis edibles become more professional and standardized. Currently, cannabis gummies are the most popular option when it comes to solid ingestible cannabis products, but it’s also important to remember that cannabinoid-infused drink powders and other forms of cannabis beverages are gaining in popularity.

Cannabis topicals

Though they don’t have any psychoactive effects, topicals deliver cannabis compounds in unique ways that might make them useful for chronic conditions like arthritis. Generally, non-intoxicating cannabinoids are included in topicals, such as CBD, CBG, and CBN.

Types of cannabis products by availability

Types of cannabis products can also be separated by their availability. Learn how by asking a simple question: Where do I buy cannabis products near me?

Medical cannabis

The original way to purchase cannabis legally, medical dispensaries remain a popular adult-only vehicle of cannabis commerce in some states.

Recreational/adult-use cannabis

States have increasingly leaned toward adult-use cannabis commerce systems, which include all adults with no need for medical authorization.

General retail cannabis

Cannabis products with low or no THC content are often sold in general retail establishments like smoke shops and gas stations.

Online cannabis

All of the options we’ve discussed above involve buying cannabis in person from a local shop. The much more convenient option is buying cannabis products online, and with the advent of THCA, you can purchase any cannabinoid experience you want without ever leaving your house.

Types of cannabis products by purpose

People use cannabis for all sorts of different reasons. Let’s take a look at how cannabis products might be used for different purposes with the question: What is cannabis used for? 

Intoxicating cannabis products

To get high with cannabis, you’ll need to choose an intoxicating cannabinoid like THC or THCA. Vapes and flower are the most popular options here, but edibles provide a more-intense and slow-burning high.

Cannabis products for socializing

Users often turn to THC for breaking the ice in social situations, but CBD could be a better choice. For some people, THC can worsen anxiety while CBD has a practically universally calming effect.

Cannabis products for relaxation & sleep

The two most relaxing cannabinoids are CBD and CBN. When formulated for relaxation and sleep, these cannabis compounds are most commonly included in tinctures, capsules, or gummies.

Pain-relief cannabis products

In scientific research, CBD has shown incredible potential for pain. Users also turn to CBG for help with chronic pain conditions. Depending on the type of pain, topicals can be a good product type to choose.

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