Edibles vs Smoking – Why edibles give you a different high than smoking

Newbies to cannabis may not be familiar with the edible high, and the high from smoking varies considerably. Method of use plays a huge role in the cannabis experience – and edibles like gummy bears and pot cookies give you a completely different high than smoking it. Edibles and Smoking, What Are the Differences?

This is how smoking works

As edibles continue to grow in popularity – especially among new consumers – smoking remains the most popular method of consumption among cannabis enthusiasts.

When you inhale cannabis smoke into your lungs, the effects of the active ingredients, including THC, are quickly absorbed by your system and enter the brain (1). That means you will feel the effects of smoking very quickly.

How Edibles job

When you eat something edible, it first goes through the digestive tract and liver before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The liver metabolizes the active cannabis compounds and converts THC to 11-hydroxy THC, which is stronger and lasts longer than THC. For this reason, it is recommended that people take just a bite or two of an edible first and wait a bit before ingesting a little more, as it may take longer for THC to reach your brain, and once it happens, can make the high last longer, too.

You will feel just as “high” with edibles, although the high can last longer than smoking and can be more intense – so keep this in mind when trying an edible for the first time!

Other considerations

Duration of the high between eating and smoking

Edibles can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to start working (2). The effects usually last for hours. When smoked, the high starts in minutes (3). The high also usually lasts a few hours, depending on the quality, dosage, and potency of the cannabis.

Consumption amount

An important consideration is the amount that you are consuming. Edibles can be much more convenient (and tastier) to consume, making them much easier to overeat. For this reason, it is important to exercise extra caution when consuming an edible versus smoking it. Not only is the high delayed when an edible is eaten, but it is also easier to over-consume because of the delayed effects.

Edibles vs. Smoking – Different levels of cannabinoids in the bloodstream

Edibles can be more effective, but they release lower levels of cannabinoids into the bloodstream. They only introduce 10 to 20 percent of the THC and other cannabinoids into the bloodstream, while inhaled cannabis releases about 50 to 60 percent of the THC and other cannabinoids into the bloodstream (4). Because of this, the effects of smoke are felt earlier than when ingested.

Body high versus head high

Another thing to consider is that the type of high you get from eating and smoking can be different. Many consumers say they experience a more intense body high with edibles. Alternatively, you may get a head high when you smoke. However, this also depends on the strain you smoke: Sativa is more likely to get you head high, while Indica is more likely to give you a body high, similar to edibles.

Find the consumption method for you

Why edibles give you a different high than smoking

There is no right way to consume cannabis. Everyone has different methods of consumption. It’s all about finding the right one for you. When you choose edibles, there are so many different products to choose from – you can also make edibles at home, which gives you more control over your dosage and ingredients. But remember: if this is your first time making edibles, there is a chance you may overestimate the dose. This rule also applies to groceries that are bought. When buying edibles, keep in mind that the market is unregulated, so potency may not be entirely as labeled. Batches can vary based on potency – and sometimes it’s completely beyond the control of the retailer. On the downside, some consumers may choose edibles because they feel that smoking puts more stress on the system.

If in doubt: start small, wait and increase the dosage if necessary.

The best method of consumption is the one that works for you. If you want a deeper, longer high and want to avoid smoking, edibles might be for you. If you want a fast-acting method of consumption, you can opt for smoking. Of course, you should also consider the strains and properties of the cannabis plant that you plan to smoke.

There is so much room to experiment, do your research, and have fun experimenting!

Edibles vs. Smoking Which method of consumption do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

Footnote (s)

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7131/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010515/
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010515/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/

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