There are many ways to consume cannabis, including smoking, edibles, tinctures, and isolate powders. Each method has its unique benefits and drawbacks. Edibles are a great way to avoid the carcinogens in smoke, but they can be hard to dose correctly. Determining the amount of THC in each gummy or cookie can be challenging, especially in commercially produced edibles.
Edibles vs smoking, which one is better? This is a common question for many people. Edibles are a popular option for marijuana consumption, with gummies and other sweets making up a huge portion of the market. Compared to smoking, edibles are discreet and produce fewer odors. However, they may not work as quickly as smoked cannabis, which can be disappointing for consumers who want to feel the effects of their cannabis within an hour or less.
When consuming an edible, it takes up to four hours for the THC (delta-tetrahydrocannabinol) to enter your system. This is because the edible must pass through your digestive tract before being absorbed by your bloodstream. Additionally, your metabolism and the amount of other food in your stomach can also affect how quickly you feel the effect of an edible.
In addition, because it is difficult to know how much THC or other cannabinoids are in an edible, it is easy to consume too much and experience negative side effects. Signs of an overdose include uncontrollable shaking, panic attacks, and hallucinations.
The cost of edibles can vary considerably depending on the dosage and THC content. They are generally more expensive per milligram than other cannabis products such as flower or vape oil. However, they can provide a more consistent experience and last longer than smoking. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preferences and budget.
Unlike smoking, which uses the lungs to absorb THC and deliver an immediate high, edibles work on a different mechanism. They are interested in your digestive system and are converted into a psychoactive form of THC by the liver. This process can take up to eight hours, and a single edible may last for several hours or even an entire day.
For this reason, it’s essential to read the labels carefully on any edible product you buy, particularly when consuming a higher dosage. Because of the lag time between consumption and feeling the effects, it can be easy to drink too much. This can cause side effects such as nausea, paranoia, and disordered thinking.
Additionally, smoking can damage your lungs and create an unpleasant odor that can be detected by drug-sniffing dogs in places where recreational marijuana is legal. Conversely, Edibles won’t leave behind a lingering smell and are likely more discreet than smoking. However, making your edibles can require an initial investment in ingredients and equipment.
Time to Effects
When you smoke or vape, the cannabinoids enter your lungs and bloodstream almost instantly. With edibles, the THC has to first make it through your digestive tract before reaching the cannabinoid receptors in your brain and body. Depending on the dosage and your metabolism, this can take up to an hour.
Your tolerance to THC may also affect how quickly and intensely the effects of your edible kick are. It also matters what you eat before or after the edible, as some ingredients break down more quickly than others and encourage faster absorption (for example, hard candies like lollipops tend to hit fast). If you’re new to edibles, it’s best to start with a low dose and wait a few hours for the effects to kick in before trying more.
Many novice consumers become impatient waiting for the edible to hit and consume too much, leading to a bad experience (think: paranoia, anxiety, agitation, or higher blood pressure). It’s also important to store any cannabis edibles in a safe place out of reach from children and pets, as accidental consumption by kids and pets can be dangerous.
Unlike smoking, which requires the purchase of cannabis flowers and tools for consumption (such as papers and a pipe), edibles can be purchased or made at home for a fraction of the cost. But, regarding safety, not all edibles are created equal.
The process of metabolizing THC takes longer when consumed as an edible, which means it can take 45 minutes to three hours for you to feel the effects. This lag in development also makes it easier to accidentally consume too much, leading to side effects like paranoia, higher blood pressure, and disordered thinking.
Edibles can contain a variety of other cannabinoids besides THC and CBD, including CBG, CBN, and THCV. Each type of cannabinoid can create different effects. For example, high-THC edibles may be more psychoactive and uplifting, while low-THC edibles can be relaxing or calming.
Because of this, knowing your limit when consuming edibles is essential, especially if you are new to cannabis consumption. The industry’s lack of standardization and regulation means there can be discrepancies between THC levels on product packaging and how potent the actual edible is. While this isn’t as big a problem as it could be, it still poses some safety risks.