18 Jan Edibles vs Smoking: How and Why Each Cannabis High is So Different
Cannabis has been known for its euphoric effects for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until new regulations began legalizing cannabis and CBD products that the market expanded. With all the new product types, we have now started to learn just how widely varying those effects really are.
The euphoric experience attached to the THC in cannabis varies greatly from plant to plant, as well as from product to product. Because CBD doesn’t produce psychoactive effects, the effects are pretty much the same no matter how you take it. However, the method you choose will affect how long both CBD and THC take to kick in, as well as how long the effects last. Perhaps one of the greatest factors in determining how your cannabis experience will go lies in how you take it. Taking cannabis edibles vs smoking cannabis will end in very different results, which makes each style preferable for different users. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, and understanding the differences and similarities between smoking and eating cannabis will enable you to choose the best product for you. Here are seven ways they are different:
One of the main differences when comparing smoking vs edibles is the amount of time it takes the high to kick in. Smoking cannabis can result in some pretty immediate effects, while edibles may take longer to kick in. The reason lies in the way cannabis is processed by the body with each consumption method.
When you smoke cannabis, the cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) are absorbed immediately into the bloodstream through the lungs. The euphoric effects from smoking should kick in within 15 minutes, and you’ll often feel the full effects of the plant within a half hour.
Edibles take longer because they have to be metabolized. This means that the edibles must pass partially through the digestive process to be processed by the liver, where they are then drawn into the bloodstream. Edibles usually kick in after about an hour, and you should feel the full effects within two hours.
Duration of the High
The way the body processes cannabis not only affects how long it takes for the high to kick in but also affects the duration of the high as well. Smoking cannabis may kick in faster, but the high fades more quickly. The opposite is true for eating cannabis.
When you smoke cannabis, the effects can last anywhere from 1-4 hours. When you eat cannabis edibles, you can usually expect the effects to last anywhere from 3-6 hours, but some people have reported the high lasting even longer. The amount of time varies greatly based on different biological factors, like weight, age, tolerance, and more. Because of edibles last longer, they are sometimes preferred by medicinal users that benefit from cannabis to treat consistent ailments, like chronic pain or inflammation.
Cannabis’s effect on the brain is similar no matter how you ingest it. Both smoking and eating cannabis will deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream, but they do so in different concentrations. Actually, smoking cannabis delivers up to 75 percent of the cannabinoids to the bloodstream, while edibles may only deliver 10-20 percent.
Despite these differences, many people say that edibles seem to have a stronger high. There’s no evidence to confirm this exactly, but many people will agree that the high from edibles can hit you hard, unlike smoking. The main reason that people may experience a stronger feeling from edibles is due to the dosing discrepancies. Generally, people take a stronger dose of edibles that they get when smoking a small bowl or single joint.
The environment and setting may also alter the feelings you get from each substance. For instance, while smoking you can slowly toke away until you reach your desired effects. Because it kicks in so quickly, you can easily stop when you get to a good level of intoxication. On the other hand, edibles sort of go from 0-100 when they kick in, which gives the idea that they are stronger. The increased duration of the high also feeds this idea, since the “couch-lock” effects from some strains can last up to 6 hours. Of course, this may be a pleasant surprise when you find an energy-promoting strain.
Effects on the Body
Cannabis can have very different effects on the body based on how you consume it. While smoking continues to be a popular option for cannabis consumers, many people are worried about the effects of smoking on the lungs. Although the effects may be minimal compared to smoking tobacco, smoking anything may still be harmful to lungs in some ways. Some people minimize this concern by choosing a vaporizer with a cannabis vape oil, or a dry-herb vaporizer chamber.
Alternatively, edibles have shown no significant impact on the lungs, but some people are concerned about the impact on their liver. Some research shows that edibles have the potential to cause stress on your liver in the same way that any medicine does when ingested orally. The liver is one of the most important organs used in the process of metabolizing and utilizing cannabis edibles, so it makes sense that it would experience some stress.
Most research that looks at the effects of cannabis on the liver assumes that the cannabis is smoked, and there is no substantial evidence that suggests that edibles do any harm. Cannabis might even protect your liver against harm from other substances. However, edibles may cause nausea and vomiting in some cases, but it can generally be avoided by ensuring that you never take too high of an edible dose.
Another reason a person might accidentally take too large of an edibles dose is that they take a while to kick in. You shouldn’t increase your dose because you don’t notice effects within an hour. Wait at least two hours to measure the total effects of the initial dose before deciding to consume more cannabis.
Dosing and Potency
The appropriate cannabis dose will vary from person to person, but also with each product. There are a few ways that dosing is wildly different when comparing smoking vs edibles.
First, edibles are generally pre-portioned, which makes it easier to know exactly how much cannabis you’re consuming. Cannabis candies generally come in exact, single-doses, like 10mg. This is generally an appropriate dose for the average adult, though some people may need more or less. Larger edible products, like pot brownies, may have a higher potency of around 50 mg or more. These are meant to be portioned into smaller doses as needed.
Smoking cannabis makes it harder to measure your dose. Of course, when you purchase cannabis flower at a dispensary, you’ll be able to see the potency information for each strain. But measuring the dry weight of the flower and calculating each dose when you roll a joint or pack a bowl can be difficult. You usually will only be able to guess the approximate potency of each dose you get when smoking cannabis.
When wonder how much cannabis to consume, the appropriate dose for each person is usually the same for every product. In some cases, slightly higher doses of edibles can be tolerated because the effects unfold over a period of time instead of all at once.
Dosing Method and Portability
One difference that really separates smokers from edible users is the different techniques and conveniences involved with each method. For instance, smoking cannabis is a very traditional technique and many people enjoy the ritual of grinding flower before rolling it or loading it in a bowl. Some people simply enjoy smoking because it kicks in quickly. However, smoking cannabis does produce a strong smell that follows you, so it isn’t very discreet. It also isn’t the most portable dosing method since you can’t just roll a joint while driving your car or sitting in the break room at work.
On the other hand, cannabis edibles are pretty convenient to carry around. Generally, you can get cannabis candy that is individually wrapped. A bottle of cannabis gummies is just as simple to toss in your bag and carry with you. Dosing is incredibly discreet, the same as eating a piece of candy or popping a mint.
Comparing prices is difficult because the price of cannabis changes greatly by location. Most of the time, cannabis flower will be less costly than cannabis edibles because of packaging and other pricing factors. However, individually packages edibles might stay fresh longer, whereas cannabis flower could lose potency over time. If you’re going to buy in bulk, edibles may be the most cost-efficient option.
Edibles vs Smoking: How They Are Similar
While there are many differences between eating cannabis and smoking it, many things remain the same. The cannabis plant is known for its great medicinal potential, and chances are that it works near the same across the board. If you find that you benefit from smoking cannabis, you’ll likely see similar benefits when using cannabis edibles, too. The same can be said for other products, like CBD tinctures or capsules.
Choosing the best product is mostly up to preference based on any differences listed above. Of course, you should never make changes to your health routine without first consulting your doctor. He or she will be able to accurately recommend a cannabis product to help you with your health care needs.