That IS the question.
As more people become canna-curious, they’re wondering about the differences between delivery systems. And there are more than a handful.
For our purposes for this post, we’ll keep things more general and look at the difference between ingesting and inhaling.
From there, you can decide for yourself whether or not to ingest cannabis.
Edibles Are Stronger
That’s because THC is metabolized by the body in a different way when you ingest cannabis versus inhaling it.
In general, edibles seem much stronger than smoked or vaporized cannabis. That’s because when you ingest cannabis, the liver converts the THC into a metabolite that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
That means an intense high that’s slower to come on and slower to leave.
Meanwhile, inhaled cannabis passes through the stomach before moving to the liver and then directly to the brain. This results in a less intense high that comes on fast, but diminishes quickly.
Start Small with Edibles
Because of what we just explained in #1 above, wisdom dictates that you go small and be patient with edibles.
When we say it takes a while for them to kick in, we’re talking anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. And when we say the effect sticks around, that could also mean several hours.
So if you decide to try an edible, eat the smallest amount possible. Then WAIT. Give it time to kick in. The biggest mistake newbies make is they don’t feel anything within 30 minutes and then double up the dose.
Of course, if you’re going for an intense psychedelic head high and aren’t prone to anxiety, then you may be okay with doing that. But if you’re looking for milder and more comfortable effects, then a small dose is the way to go.
Speaking of dosing…
Dosing Edibles Is More Complex
Inhaled cannabis delivers 50-60% of THC and other cannabinoids to the blood plasma. Ingesting introduce only 10-20%.
This accounts for the differences in how one experiences the high.
That said, determining the THC content of a homemade batch of edibles is pretty complicated.
In fact, in unregulated markets, even professionals aren’t able to quite nail the advertised dose in their products. If you live in a state whose market doesn’t include meticulous testing, your regular distributor may have a batch next week that will vary from what you consume this week.
This is not much of consideration for inhaling cannabis though. It gives a more instantaneous effect that allows for the inhaler to gradually dose. ‘Another toke’ll do ya,’ sorta thing.
If you’re considering trying an edible, 10mg is considered a standard dose for mild but pleasant effects. So if you’ve got a 50mg gummy bear from your local dispensary, start by eating 1/5 and wait a while. Then wait some more.
50mg is considered moderate and 100mg is pretty potent. So know what potency edible you have, and then handle with care.
Ingesting Is Healthier Than Inhaling
It’s hard to deny that smoking poses potential long-term health threats. Even though smoking marijuana doesn’t include all the harmful chemicals that a regular cigarette does, it’s still hard on the lungs.
Some people just don’t care for the harsh feeling of the smoke hitting their lungs. That’s why vaping has become so popular.
Of course, without rehashing the dark days of VapeGate 2019, vaping certainly has its own hazards.
You might be thinking, healthier? I mean, how healthy are brownies, cookies, and gummy bears?
You’d be right.
But there are a ton of other options for cannabis-infused edibles now.
From quinoa salad and granola, to using infused butter on kale chips or whatever else rocks your world.
Is It Time for You to Ingest Cannabis?
Inhaling is a simple way to get immediate effects. But if you choose to ingest cannabis, you’ll have a longer experience. And as long as it’s not too intense, it could give you more prolonged relief from symptoms.
It really depends on what you want from your marijuana. We encourage you to (mindfully) experiment for yourself.
And for more stories from the cannabis realm, keep checking back with our blog!