The Difference Between Cannabis Edibles vs Smoking Cannabis

by in Health, Lifestyle
smoking and weed

It is a very common knowledge that marijuana can be smoked or consumed by edibles. But for the uninitiated, It might be obvious that the effects of the two methods can be quite different. The latest study shows that smoking high is much more immediate than what you get from eating a pot brownie which can take about an hour to take effect. Now, serious concerns are being raised over the sale and marketing of edibles. Some products like gummies and cookies can look quite appealing to children and are often indistinguishable from regular treats. Hence, it is crucial to know the benefits and drawbacks of edibles vs smoking.

Edibles – pros & cons

Edibles are a tasty way to consume cannabis. And some consumers prefer it to other ways of using marijuana. But of course, there are pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros.



  • Longer lasting high (3-6 hours – perfect for patients with severe chronic pain).
  • Healthier for lungs
  • Stronger high
  • Tastes delicious


  • Long waiting period (45 minutes to 2 hours)
  • Inconsistent in effects and potency
  • More processed
  • Easily mistaken for normal snacks
  • Lack of terpenes

Smoking – pros & cons

Smoking is the most common way of consuming cannabis. When you’re smoking a joint or a pipe, around 90% of the combusted gases from smoking weed contain non-cannabinoid components. In other words, you are inhaling carbon monoxide intake which most of it can cause possible health risks.



  • Effects are more immediate
  • Tastes the terpene (aromatic profile)
  • Easy and accurate dosing
  • Strains matter more to achieve effects
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  • Lung damage from smoke and combustion
  • Short-lived effect (1-2 hr)
  • Pungent smell
  • Cumbersome preparation process
  • Inhaling pesticides

Edibles vs Smoking

There are five major differences between ingesting and inhaling cannabis (edibles vs smoking). Since these two consumption methods can produce wildly different effects, it’s important to know the differences between edibles vs smoking in order to choose which method is better for you.

1) Different absorption of THC

Have you ever wondered why marijuana-infused edibles can be stronger than cannabis which has been smoked or vaporized? When you ingest cannabis, the liver converts THC to 11 hydroxy THC. This metabolite is more effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier which results in more intense effects. THC that is inhaled travels directly to the brain which results in a different metabolic process. This justifies why the impacts of smoked or vaporized cannabis come on faster and fade more quickly.

2) Effects & duration

Smoking cannabis can be quick and sweet. Effects increase dramatically within the first 10 to 30 minutes and will dissipate over the next hour or two. On the other hand, edibles can take from half to two hours to ingest and the effects can last several hours. Users generally report stronger body effects with a psychedelic cerebral buzz in larger doses. Smaller doses tend to yield milder and more comfortable effects – which is why it’s always a good idea to follow the golden rule of edibles. Start small and be patient.

3) Edibles as a healthier alternative to smoking

Many people are attracted to edibles since they don’t enjoy the harshness of smoking or are worried about the long-term health issues connected with it as cannabis is usually mixed with tobacco. The good news is there are tobacco alternatives for joints available. Edibles can provide long-lasting relief for chronic symptoms like pain, making them a preferred choice for many medical patients. And remember while the stereotypical image of the pot brownie may live on edibles don’t have to be infused with sugar. Today, you can change about anything into a cannabis-infused blend.

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4) The difficulty of dosing edibles vs smoking

Due to the delay between ingestion and the onset of effects, it can be simple to overestimate the dose of edibles. In legal marijuana markets, 10 milligrams is considered a standard dose and delivers moderate effects. A 100-milligram edible is considered to be much more potent and should be split into several doses over time. With inhaled cannabis, the effects are instantaneous, allowing consumers to gradually dose as needed to reach their desired effect.

5) Disparities and advertise potency

Determining the THC content of homemade edibles is not an easy task. Even professional distributors sometimes have trouble matching the advertised dose with their products. Those states, where cannabis is legal, are moving towards stricter laws for edible testing and THC content. Nonetheless, if you live in a state without the guidelines in place, be sure to take your edible journey slowly and cautiously.


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