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Edibles vs. Smoking: Which Is Right for You?

It all depends on what you're comfortable doing and the experience you'd like to have.

This story originally appeared on Emjay

Weed isn’t as simple as just weed. 

Every strain is different and will produce varying effects. The many forms of weed will each play a role in determining your experience. While the majority of people prefer to inhale their cannabis, many newer users who aren’t interested in smoking and coughing feel that edibles are the perfect alternative. 

While smoking weed allows for near instantaneous benefits that wear off in a timely manner, it’s also harsh on your lungs. 

Edibles provide the experience of a high without the smoke, it’s so intense and long lasting that many newer users may feel overwhelmed by their first few attempts with edibles. There are so many consumption methods that you aren’t limited to smoking flowers or eating your cannabis. 

One, both, or neither may be the best choice for you. It all depends on what you’re comfortable doing and the experience you’d like to have. 

RELATED: What Smoking Weed Everyday for 25 Years Has Done For Seth Rogen

What happens when you smoke weed?

When you smoke weed, the cannabinoids enter your body through your lungs. Your lungs provide the cannabinoids with a nearly direct pathway to your endocannabinoid system. This allows them to work sooner. 

You’ll feel the effects from smoking almost immediately. Within ten minutes of smoking, you’ll reach the peak of your high and have a clear understanding of how the rest of your night is going to pan out.

How long weed lasts depends on your tolerance, how much you smoked, and the amount of THC in your weed. Most people find that their high wears off anywhere in the span of 1 hour to 3 hours. However, there are a lot of factors at play. 

A joint of gentle Blue Dream may diminish faster than a joint of Chem Dawg, even if they weigh the same amount.

If one strain has nearly twice the amount of THC as the other strain, your experience will differ. Always pay attention to the THC percentage on the packaging. 

What happens when you use edibles?

When you eat an edible, your body digests your weed like food. It breaks down the edibles and metabolizes the cannabinoids. 

Your body makes an active effort to use everything you give it, and will often convert substances into a form it can easily process.  

This process takes time. 

Anything you smoke is able to bypass your digestive system. When you eat your weed, you have to wait as long as your body decides you have to wait. Your edible will begin to work in as little as 45 minutes or as long as 3 hours. 

As the edible is moving through your body, your liver metabolizes the weed’s THC into something called 11-hydroxy-THC, a form that’s easier used by your body. This increases the potency of the THC.

If you regularly smoke 20% THC weed and you feel fine, that doesn’t mean a high dose edible will work well for you. Many people find that anywhere between 5 mg and 15 mg in an edible is far more than enough to produce and maintain a high due to the body’s natural conversion process. 

Your body slowly utilizes the 11-hydroxy-THC in a steady stream, and how long it takes to use and remove all of that THC depends on your metabolism. It isn’t unusual for a high from edibles to last as long as eight hours. 

Edibles are a significant commitment.

The pros and cons of smoking weed

Smoking weed may not be the perfect consumption method, but it’s the method people have been using for thousands of years. 

It’s an easy and direct way to enjoy your cannabis, and you’ll have maximum control over your high. It’s also messy, smelly, and potentially harmful to your lungs. 

The pros of smoking weed:

  • Faster onset
  • Easier to control effect
  • Can be quickly topped off or maintained
  • You’ll be able to enjoy the natural flavors of the weed

The cons of smoking weed:

  • Messier consumption method that involves rolling or maintaining a smoking piece
  • Inhaling smoke can be harmful to your lungs
  • Leaves behind evidence like smoke and odors

RELATED: How Regulations For Edibles Vary Across the Country

The pros and cons of using edibles

Edibles are a convenient way to enjoy weed without leaving any evidence behind. 

Avoiding inhalation means you’re less likely to cough or feel soreness in your chest if you aren’t acclimated to smoking. This convenience comes at a price in the form of long, unpredictable highs that are very difficult to dose appropriately. 

Pros of using edibles:

  • A little THC goes a long way in an edible
  • You don’t have to smoke anything
  • Highly discreet 
  • Keeps you high for longer 

Cons of using edibles:

  • Slow onset
  • Easy to overconsume
  • Effects can be unpredictable
  • Keeps you high for longer 

Other methods of consumption

Every consumption method has its pros and cons. 

If you don’t like the idea of smoking something and the unpredictability of edibles is off-putting to you, you don’t have to choose either. You can always opt for a tincture of a vaporizer. 

Tinctures are more predictable than edibles, and vapes are less harsh than smoking. 

Weed tinctures

THC tinctures are a great option for people who want a high with a fast onset that’s easier to control. Tinctures are drops you place and hold under your tongue. 

The THC in those drops is delivered sublingually. It enters your bloodstream through the thin tissue on the floor of your mouth and begins working in less than half an hour. 

About 45 minutes after you use your tincture, you’ll have a good idea of how it’s going to make you feel. You can take a few more drops if you want to enhance your experience, or you can decide to take a little less next time. 

Weed vapes

Weed vapes allow you to enjoy the benefits of smoking without as many of the drawbacks. Although vapes are still something you inhale, they aren’t as harsh as smoking flower. There is no burnt taste, smoke, or lingering smell to contend with. They’re a lot more discreet, and you won’t have to clean resin from pipes or bongs. 

If your main concern is convenience and discretion, a vape is probably going to be your best choice. If you’re a new user, you might find that one or two hits off of a vape is all you need to get where you want to go. You’ll also be able to taste the natural flavors of the cannabis without the burnt taste that comes from smoking flower. 

What is the best method of consumption?

It’s hard to determine which method of consumption would be objectively best because everyone’s body is different. If you’re seeking weed that’s most true to form, neither smoking nor edibles are going to provide that experience for you. 

If you want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis in its pure form without smoking or eating anything, your best option is to vaporize solventless live rosin with a dab rig. Live rosin is very concentrated, and it preserves the natural aroma and flavor compounds of cannabis.

Although vaping is similar to smoking in the regard that you’re inhaling something, you’re inhaling a vapor instead of a smoke. You’re only inhaling the beneficial active compounds of the cannabis plant, rather than plant material or rolling papers. 

It’s more of a connoisseur’s experience. A dab rig isn’t necessarily a beginner-friendly piece of equipment unless that beginner is willing to learn. It may be worth exploring if your main purpose for using cannabis is to experience the effects of the full flower.

Choosing your consumption method

You should choose whatever consumption method you’re most comfortable with. 

Every method has advantages and disadvantages that would make or break them for people with specific preferences. Cannabis comes in so many forms that you aren’t limited to flower or edibles. Experiment and see what makes you happy.

Emjay can help you with that.

We offer dozens of strains of cannabis in nearly every form imaginable. 

We have flower, edibles, vapes, concentrates, tinctures, and even transdermal patches. We want everyone to be able to enjoy cannabis in their preferred form, and we want to make it easy for them to do that. 

Simply place your order and we’ll deliver your cannabis in as little as half an hour.