It’s the age old question that every stoner has contemplated since the dawn of cannabis time: to smoke? Or not to smoke? That is the question. The conundrum of edibles vs smoking is a question that many potheads have chewed on for decades, and it continues to cross the minds of newbie cannabis users today. With such a wealth of cannabis product choices on the market, many people prefer to light up their old faithful dro, while others don’t like the habit of smoking, so a fresh batch of brownies or simple cannabutter in their tea will do the trick. Which do you prefer? Nutritious and delicious edibles? Or the slow-burning sensations of a good toke?
If you’re a true believer in the healing powers of cannabis, then you probably don’t see the sense in choosing one over the other. Edibles vs smoking? Why not both! This is definitely a popular idea as well, and many people get stoned both ways depending on their mood, the cannabis strain in question, or the effects they’re seeking. Nevertheless, there are some strong opinions and factions that are split within the cannabis community on what is the best way to get your daily dro. Some say smoking is the original method for taking your marijuana medicine, and there’s a reason why it’s so popular: it’s convenient, typically the cheapest (cannabis flowers), and there’s such a vast selection of strains to try that you’ll never get bored in your quest to smoke ‘em all. Conversely, a lot of cannabis consumers are also medical users who need marijuana to treat an ailment or to maintain a certain quality of life. For these stoners, smoking isn’t considered to be a healthy choice, so cannabis concentrates, topicals and edibles are a much better choice to have your cake and get stoned from it too.
This idea of edibles being a healthier option over smoking is a consistent reason for some stoners making the switch from rolling joints to rolling dough. No matter what side of the fence you stand on – the one where you puff-puff-pass, or the one that enjoys getting baked – there’s pros and cons to both. Let’s grind through the issue of marijuana edibles vs smoking cannabis so that you can decide which one is best for you.
THE CASE FOR SMOKING CANNABIS
Ask any pothead about their first ever experience with weed and they’ll probably tell you a similar story: rolling one up with friends or family, taking too big of a hit, coughing their lungs out and getting way too high to really remember much. All of these details paint the picture of a stoner’s first cannabis experience as being a smoking one. Not many people start with edibles or even concentrates, because smoking is more affordable, more accessible and a lot less daunting for beginners. Smoking is simple – you grind up your choice of weed, pack it in the bowl or roll it up, flick your lighter and inhale – what could be simpler?
Smoking weed is the most popular way to get your stone on, most likely because it is the most convenient. Cannabis flowers can fit any occasion and any lifestyle, such as an active outdoors person or a busy entrepreneur. With the rise of many vaporizer products, smoking doesn’t just involve inhaling smoke anymore – many cannabis aficionados have turned to vaping as a less burning, irritating option for their lungs. Vaporizers are a bit more on the expensive side, however, and the concentrates and extracts that you can vape are definitely cost more than your average dimebag. Nonetheless, vaping continues to grow in popularity and it has revolutionized the way people get stoned.
That being said, there are some obvious downsides to ingesting anything through your lungs. Smoking and vaping both pose potential risks to your short and long term health. It needs to be said that smoking anything, regardless of the medical benefits you might derive from doing so, is inherently risky for your lungs, cardiovascular system and major organs like the liver. Your lungs are meant to be a filter for gases and potentially damaging particles in the air that we breathe, so by turning it into a delivery system for cannabinoids we are diminishing the efficiency of these important organs. Speaking of efficiency, smoking cannabis is a quick-and-easy way to get high or feel better with cannabis, but it is not the most efficient way for your body to absorb cannabinoids like THC or CBD. We’ll get into the how & why edible cannabis might be a better high and lead to more health benefits later on in this article. For now, it is essential that you understand the argument between “what is better?” needs to keep in mind another question: “what is healthier?”. The answer to this question is not smoking. Nonetheless, smoking cannabis definitely has its positives but you need to be careful and properly manage how much or how often you smoke or you’ll be at risk of many detrimental side effects of blazing buds.
We touched on the convenience of wholesale cannabis, and one of the defining features of the benefits of smoking marijuana is its mobility. You can take buds with you into town, stache them for months in a secret hiding place, or share them with your closest friends. This notion of smoking weed being a very sociable activity is another prominent reason why smoking continues to be the most popular way to consume cannabis. Basically, wherever you go or whoever you spend your time with, you can share the cannabis experience on-the-go, at a party, in your home, on a hike, at a concert – you name it, and you can light up a joint there.
When you’re considering edibles vs smoking, you could argue that you can bring pot brownies anywhere you could smoke weed. However, when we’re considering the convenience of getting stoned, you don’t want to have to heft a container around and have to wait for the edibles to kick in whenever the mood for ganja strikes, do you? Have you ever asked yourself: how long does an edible last? How long do edibles take to kick in? If you’ve ever eaten a pot cookie or lollipot, you’ll know that the answers to these questions can vary greatly – and to vastly different effects for each person. This sheds light on another advantage for smoking weed: predictability. When you’re trying a new strain of cannabis, you usually take it slow and take a few puffs, right? Some brave greenthumbs simply smoke the whole blunt or eat the entire edible when they’re experimenting with new kinds of marijuana, but the majority of people try a new strain by smoking it first. This is because smoking weed is a lot easier to manage your dose – simply take a puff, or two or three, whatever suits your tolerance to weed.
Another feather in the smoking cap is the sheer variety of cannabis you can light up. There are anywhere from 800 – 1500 identified, unique strains of cannabis flowers in the world (depending on who you ask). Most of these strains are smokable cannabis flowers that people buy weed online. You could say that any smokable buds could easily be made into an edible – and you wouldn’t be wrong – but the majority of stoners like to sample, mix-and-match and share their strains with other potheads because it’s an easy way to experience the diversity of this amazing plant. In order to truly understand what kinds of effects you’re seeking from cannabis, or what terpenes, flavinoids and cannabinoids suit your needs you have to experiment with all kinds of marijuana strains. If variety is the spice of life, then smoking weed is the spiciest and most exciting way to explore the wide world of cannabis.
THE CASE FOR MARIJUANA EDIBLES
Now let’s change gears and put out our joints, because we’re going to trade in our lighters, grinders and pipes for an apron, bowl and mixing spoon. Cannabis edibles – otherwise known as anything consumable or ingestible that contains marijuana – have taken the weed world by storm, especially in Canada where the recent The Cannabis Act 2.0 (October 2019) federally legalized all cannabis consumables. Smoking blunts with your buddies is great and all, but who’s going to argue against chocolate-covered, ooey-gooey pot cookie goodness? Or the sweet-and-chewy satisfaction of a ganja gummy? When it comes to edibles vs smoking, let your taste buds be your guide.
Edibles are undoubtedly some of the tastiest cannabis options on the market. It’s only a matter of time before edibles become the top choice for getting stoned with an increasing number of diverse and creative edible products. Many stoners love choosing from a number of different candies, pastries or culinary creations that contain cannabis. A growing trend in the edibles market is DIY edibles – heck, even Martha Stewart has a cannabis-themed show with Snoop Dogg. Whether you like to window shop for your next cannabis treat or prefer to whip up a batch of your own, cannabis edible are a great way to combine the health benefits of cannabinoids with the nutritional benefits of your favorite foods.
Before we continue to praise cannabis in the kitchen, it is important to understand some of the drawbacks of consuming marijuana with food or drink. For starters, anyone who has eaten a whole pot brownie before they knew how edibles affect them will understand the most common criticism of edibles: they can be overpowering. Marijuana edibles, including beverages, can take you for a loop around the moon and back, if you’re not careful. A lot of stoners have stories of eating too much and “greening out” – in fact, most peoples’ first cannabis edibles experience is a trippy mess. This is easy to explain: when you digest cannabis it can take longer for your body to break the edible down and absorb the cannabinoids. These delayed effects can also come on a lot stronger and last far longer than your average joint session. Basically, ingesting cannabis oils or edibles will typically have far more potent and lasting effects than smoking. How does an edible last? Well that really depends on your tolerance, your biochemistry and a number of factors that aren’t always helpful in predicting how an edible will affect you. Simply put, when you’re considering cannabis edibles for your next stoner experience, remember the mantra: always dose low and go slow.
You also need to be aware of the “lull” when you first consume edible and when the cannabis kicks in. The most common questions people have about marijuana edibles are: How long do edibles take to kick in? How long do edibles take to work? What can you expect once an edible takes effect? You might as well ask “why is the sky blue?”, because the answer is different for almost every person. When you think of cannabis edibles effects, remember that every person has a unique gastrointestinal system. Just like we don’t all enjoy the same foods, have similar diets, or react the same to what we put into our bodies, cannabis edibles are very individual experiences. You can’t really predict with certainty when or how an edible will kick in – body mass, digestion, fitness, genetics and a number of other factors play a role in how your body processes cannabis. Smoking weed is unique to each person as well, but the effects don’t typically last as long and are not as magnified as with edibles. So, knowing that you might not notice the effects for up to 45-60 minutes, and understanding that edibles can affect people very differently, you need to experiment carefully with marijuana edibles.
Now that we’ve gotten the caveats out of the way, it’s time to focus on the icing on the cannabis cake. One of the best parts about cannabis edibles is the customization – you can literally turn any food or beverage into a tasty ganja treat. Some people like to cook with cannabis oil, while others prefer to savor marijuana mints. There’s a growing trend of cannabis-infused beers, wines, and other beverages like CBD-water and THC sports drinks hitting the markets. Soon, cannabis edibles will be on shelves at grocery stores, served with brunch or available on your morning coffee run. Marijuana is versatile and customizable, so the only limitation on how you eat cannabis edibles is your own imagination (and appetite, of course).
EDIBLES VS SMOKING: WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Do you have a hankering for some dank dro? Are you hungry for some delicious ganja treats? Edibles vs smoking are just two of the popular ways to get your cannabis fix, but they’re definitely top choice for flavor and convenience, respectively. Whether you choose to light one up or savor the flavors of chocolate-covered THC or CBD, make sure you experiment with different strains and potencies slowly and surely. The best way to get the most out of your weed is to try it all, so always keep sampling but pay close attention to what kinds of terpenes and flavonoids and cannabinoid profiles suit you best.