They both get you high, but consuming edibles is a completely different experience to smoking weed. These five differences are good to know for both rookies and veterans alike.
1. THC is absorbed differently
The Golden Rule of edibles: start small and be patient. Why are edibles so much stronger than smoked or vaporized cannabis? When you consume edibles, THC is metabolized by the liver, converting it to 11-hydroxy-THC, which gives a more intense high. This active metabolite is particularly effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier, resulting in a more intense high.
2. Effects and duration
Edibles can take anywhere from 30 min to two hours to kick in, and the effects can last several hours. Compared to inhaled cannabis, they deliver a smaller concentration of cannabinoids to the bloodstream. Ingesting edibles introduces only 10 to 20 percent of THC and other cannabinoids to the blood plasma, whereas inhaled cannabis falls closer to 50 or 60 percent. The effects of smoked cannabis tend to peak within the first 10 minutes and rapidly dissipate over the next 30 to 60 minutes.
3. Edibles are more difficult to dose
Even longtime smokers can have difficulty capturing the right dose due to the delay between ingestion and onset of effects. Inhaled cannabis, with its instantaneous effects, allows the consumer to gradually increase their dosage. Colossal amounts of THC won’t kill you, but trust us: you will enjoy the next several hours of your life more if you dose responsibly and patiently.
4. Disparities in advertised potency
Your distributor may have batches of edibles that vary in potency so be sure to keep it slow, or you may find out the hard way that the batch is a lot stronger than you thought. Legal cannabis systems are moving toward stricter regulations for edible testing and THC content, but if you’re living in a state without these guidelines in place, be sure to ease into your edible expedition slowly and cautiously until regulations and testing pave the way for consistency and accurate labeling.
5. Edibles are a healthier alternative to smoking
Many people are interested in edibles because they don’t enjoy smoking or are worried about the health concerns. Vaping is considered another alternative, but edibles provide longer lasting pain relief. Edible recipes don’t always have to consist of the the stereotypical “pot” brownie or a sugary sweat treet; nowadays, you can transform most dishes into a cannabis-infused concoction.
[Updated, originally published 27.10. 2017]
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