What consumption method will you choose?
A primary psychoactive component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Many marijuana-related products contain THC in varying concentrations, including raw plant materials, infused edibles, and potent cannabis extractions.
The psychoactive effects of this highly coveted cannabinoid differ depending on how the individual consumes it.
There are several ways in which cannabis can be consumed, including:
- Joints or waterpipes (smoking).
- Dabbing (inhaling concentrated extracts).
- Vaping (vaporizing with an electronic device).
- Edibles (cannabis-infused foods).
- Topicals (cream, lotion, spray).
- Tinctures (alcohol-based).
Inhaled, eaten, or consumed in some other way, THC will bind to the brain regardless of how it is ingested. THC is believed to induce a relaxed feeling and enhance sensitivity to light, sound, and touch.
A common method of consumption has been to smoke marijuana. When THC is inhaled, it enters the bloodstream and is absorbed into the body, distributed evenly throughout. Compared to smoking a joint, consuming THC through an edible will produce less rapid effects for the user.
As smoking involves faster absorption into the bloodstream and often occurs over a shorter timeframe than edibles, the subjective effects may occur more quickly and last for a shorter period.
Edibles can range significantly in their potency depending on the manufacturing methods and the amount of cannabis and its extracted active ingredients used.
Through the digestive tract, THC enters the bloodstream through edibles containing marijuana and undergoes its first metabolic metabolism in the liver before moving into the body. It may take up to 120 minutes for effects from eating edibles to reach the brain due to the slower rate of absorption through the digestive system than through the lungs.
Expect similar effects when consuming marijuana-infused drinks like tea.
The effects of smoking cannabis differ from those of consuming edibles in several ways, including how quickly the effects manifest and how long they last. Smoking produces the most immediate effects, whereas edibles take longer to kick in and can last several hours after consumption. Smoking joints, bongs, and other methods produce an instantaneous high that lasts between two and six hours, while edibles have effects that last up to 12 hours, with residual effects lasting up to 24 hours.
Delivery of Cannabis to your system
Despite their strength, edibles deliver fewer cannabinoids to the blood. THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, is found in edibles from 2% to 10%. Pure THC has the potential to reach a whopping 99.9%. Consumers can expect the average strain of cannabis to deliver 15% THC with the potential to reach 35%.
Agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, uncontrollable sweating, hallucinations, and sudden high blood pressure characterize a cannabis overdose. Prevent overdoses from occurring by monitoring the amount of THC consumed. Check out our article on reducing the unwanted effects of cannabis and possibly stopping an overdose.
Benefits of smoking cannabis vs. eating it
In comparison to edibles, smoking cannabis has two main advantages:
1. The quick onset
2. Shorter duration of the effects.
A high is produced immediately after inhaling cannabis. If you have consumed too much or not enough, it will appear within 15 minutes. Taking edibles, however, will take at least two to three hours until you feel the full effects. Ignore the temptation to eat more before you reach that point.
A person may not realize that they have overindulged or that they have not consumed enough to receive the high they were expecting until hours have passed.
Below we have outlined the differences felt by inhaling vs. ingesting so you can choose which option works best for you.
Effects: Inhaling vs Ingesting
Smoking causes effects to be felt immediately; ingesting causes effects to take between 30 minutes and more than two hours to be felt.
Peak Effects: Inhaling vs Ingesting
While the effect of smoking cannabis will reach its peak within 15 minutes, ingesting cannabis can take up to four hours to reach its full effects.
Length of Effects: Inhaling vs Ingesting
- Ingesting cannabis can cause residual effects lasting up to 24 hours; however, when inhaled, the effects usually dissipate within six hours.
You can use this guide to decide if you like a quick-onset high or a long-lasting one based on inhaling vs. ingesting. Inhaling and ingesting give you the same benefits, but smoking immediately gives you the high you want. Enjoy it, and be responsible.
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