There are so many methods and mechanisms of consuming cannabis and making sure desirable amounts of cannabinoids are entering your bloodstream. The two major ways of achieving this is through smoking herb through many different means, such as pipe, bong, spliff, joint or blunt, and by eating types of food, that have been infused with cannabis. With such huge advancements in this industry, the latter may include almost any food you can think of, such as brownies, cakes, pasta, sandwiches, sweets, ice cream, coffee, wine, curry. The list goes on. With all these options the choice is almost overwhelming. Both of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and what sets them apart the most is the way they affect the type of high you will experience. Let’s take a look at the information that sets them apart and which one may be more beneficial for each individual.

ABSORPTION

Anybody who has experience with both smoking herb and eating cannabis edible will be well aware of the difference in strength involved. Edibles take longer to set in, but when they do take effect they seem much stronger. You might be wondering why eating a handful of medicated sweets got you far more stoned than a series of bong hits or a case of joints. The answer to this is because of how the cannabinoids are absorbed by the body. When smoked or vaped, THC follows a far more direct pathway to the brain. When eaten, the THC present in cannabis is then metabolized by the liver, where it is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This metabolite is very efficient at crossing the blood brain barrier and therefore may result in far more of an intense and stronger high.

absortion edibles metabolized liver thc

ONSET, DURATION, AND POTENCY

When smoking or vaping your weed, the effects can be felt almost immediately after a hit. Depending on the strain and how much you just smoked, this could be immediate relaxation, euphoria, creative thoughts or even energy. These effects then start to wear off and disappear within the next hour or so. Because of this fast onset, you can practically feel how much THC you are consuming, how much would be far too much and when to stop or have a break. For these reasons, it is far easier to control how much THC you are taking in.

It is a different story with edibles. Because edibles require longer processing by the body before effects start to be felt, it can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours for the psychoactive effects to start to kick in and be experienced. After the onset, the effects can last up to several hours. Because of this considerable gap of time between actually eating a medicated piece of food and feeling the effects, it is extremely easy to overdo it. Perhaps 1 hour has passed by, and because no effects have occurred yet, a person assumes they need to take 2 or 3 more medicated treats. Then within a few hours, what they thought was going to be a light and relaxing high turns into a challenging and borderline psychedelic experience, that they were not mentally prepared for.

This is especially common among those who have little experience with cannabis edibles. When taking edibles, it is advised to start off with small doses and simply be patient, don’t push it. Take the dosage you think you can handle and wait until you feel the full effects before deciding to consume more.

DOSING DIFFERENCES

When it comes to dosing edibles, 10 milligrams are considered to be the unit or serving size of THC, as is the case in Colorado. It can be useful to view consuming edibles in serving sizes to avoid accidentally overdosing things. For example, a medicated chocolate bar may contain 100 milligrams of THC divided up into 10 squares. This makes it extremely easy to know the amount you are going to be ingesting, provided the edible is from an accurate and trusted source. With this said, it shouldn’t be assumed, that edibles should be taken in 10 milligram doses at a time; there are still multiple factors, that can affect their strength. For example eating medicated food on an empty stomach may enhance just how high you get. Body weight is another factor that might influence this.

It has been reported, that even professional dispensaries are having difficulty in creating accuracy in their edible products, with some customers finding, that the same product is much stronger the second time they try it. Regulations are being proposed to try and create for accurate and consistent products, however, this is further reason to exercise caution whilst taking edible, to start off with low doses and be patient during the onset.

smoking joint blunt relaxing combustion carcinogenic

EDIBLES VS SMOKING: WHICH IS HEALTHIER?

Smoking a fat joint or blunt is at times extremely relaxing and almost ritualistic. The rolling process is quite meditative, and sitting back with some friends as your spliff slowly burns down like a candle and sparks some amazing conversations. However, there are increasing concerns over inhaling the byproducts of combustion, that may be toxic and carcinogenic. This has not been studied extensively yet, so it is not possible to draw a certain conclusion at this time. However it is also theorised, that the anticarcinogenic properties of the cannabis plant may combat this. Regardless, many smokers are transitioning to vaporising their herbs instead due to the lack of total combustion and potentially harmful byproducts.

When it comes to edibles, there is obviously no combustion involved. However, the type of food, that is medicated largely influences just how healthy the product will be for the consumer's body. For example constantly eating brownies, cakes and biscuits is of course extremely tasty, but it’s hardly the most nutritious food in the world. On the other hand, the option exists to dose up healthy meals and snacks with cannabinoids such as guacamole and adding cannabutter to healthy salad dressings or sweet potato fries. The options really are endless. 

OVERDOING THINGS

If you have smoked far too much, chances are you will just surrender, put the half smoked joint for a rest in the ashtray and take a nice, deep and restful nap on the couch. If you have overmedicated, it might be a different story. Perhaps you weren’t prepared for the waves of high, that keep washing over you, increasing with strength. If that is the case, perhaps the most important thing is not to panic. Take a seat, engage in some deep and controlled breathing and relax. Keep in mind, that you will be sober in the next hour or two and you will be totally fine.

 

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