The quality of dried and cured flowers of the cannabis plant are sorted into three tiers. The first tier is the best quality product that is displayed on the sales floor and sold by weight. The second tier is essentially as efficacious as the first tier, but is aesthetically inferior in some way. The third tier is what is commonly called “shake” or “trim.” The third tier is generally sold at discounted rates in pre-rolled joints or in bulk.

Concentrates and Extracts

There are a multitude of processes through which compounds can be retrieved from cannabis. Extracts are concentrates that have been made using a solvent (all extracts are concentrates, but not all concentrates are extracts). The process used will affect the compounds more likely to be present, but ultimately end product potency testing is most reliable to determine phytochemical profile of the specific medicine.


Cannabis can be combined with almost any food item, given that a few core principles are followed in their creation. Heat can be applied directly to the cannabis flower which can then be used as the base material in an edible or capsule, or one of the extraction processes can be utilized wherein heat is applied and the end extract is ready for oral consumption as is. 


Cannabis topicals can be prepared as lotions, salves, balms, chapsticks, bath salts, roll-on oils, and rubs, among other preparations. 


Transdermal patches are a relatively new delivery method in cannabis medicine. Transdermal patches are applied topically to the skin to allow the medication to be absorbed in a time-release fashion (typically over a 24 hour period). 

To read more about types of medical cannabis purchase Cannabis Primer: An Introduction to Cannabis for Consumers, Producers, Providers, Policy Makers, and Health Professionals