Smoking vs. Edibles – Which Marijuana Medication is the Best for You?

By   |  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Shatha Atiya  |  May 21, 2024  

When it comes to consuming marijuana, the choice between smoking or consuming edibles can have a significant impact on your experience.

By the end of this page, you will have the answers to these questions:

  • Smoking vs edibles–Which is better?
  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of smoking marijuana?
  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of consuming cannabis edibles?

How exactly can you tell which of the two is right for you? After all, our bodies react differently to ingestible marijuana as opposed to inhalable marijuana. To make matters more complicated, their effects can also vary greatly from case to case. Thankfully, if consumed responsibly, both options suffice whether you are a medical or recreational user. For that very purpose, we are here to clear up any confusion that you might have about them. 

marijuana infused cookies

The Benefits of Smoking Medicinal Marijuana

Inhaling MMJ is, simply put, an experience in and of itself. The short-term relaxation aspect of it is perfectly suited for symptoms such as anxiety or other similar mental health conditions. Due to its short-lived psychoactive effect, the THC compounds immediately enter the bloodstream, but they dissipate just as quickly.

How Does Smoking Marijuana Affect Your System?

In a percentage of 50-60% of THC compound absorption, the inhalation process makes the euphoric aspect of smoking kick in within 5 to 10 minutes from the first puff. The fact that the cannabinoids travel through your lungs, rather than through your digestive system, considerably shortens the process of substance absorption and elimination.

The effect peaks quickly, and steadily dissipates unless the dose is refreshed. As such, smoking marijuana is something that can effortlessly be a part of your daily schedule. It acts quickly in a burst of health: it comes, it heals, and it goes.

Can Smoking Medical Weed be Bad for Your Health?

Inherently, smoking a substance of any kind, be it tobacco or cannabis, affects your lungs, trachea, and esophagus, due to the inflammatory aspect of the smoke itself. However, if done in moderation, the effects of smokable marijuana medication should not be permanently damaging to your respiratory system. 

But what about vaping? You might ask. While a popular alternative to smoking, vaping carries with it its own risks. The most worrisome – vape pens usually contain compound traces of the substance known as glycol. Inhalation of glycol can cause substantial damage to your system, both in its propylene and its polyethylene variations. Besides the health risks associated with vaping, you may want to be cautious if you are using Invisalign aligners. Find out more about vaping with Invisalign.

Even so, there could be a number of medical reasons as to why you should administer medical cannabis via smoking. Vaping can also be done through an at-home diffuser or vaporizer, in order to minimize the harmful chemical effects. Your medication options are, thankfully, wide open. Most of all, always remember that getting an expert opinion should be your number one priority before beginning your specific treatment. 

The Benefits of MMJ Edible Consumption

Edible marijuana medication comes in many shapes and sizes. From cookies to brownies, they are equal part tasty snacks and solutions for severe health problems such as chronic pain. What exactly makes them differ from inhaled marijuana as a form of medication? Simply put – they last much longer, and their potency is considerably greater. 

How Long Do Marijuana Edibles Stay in Your System?

As a rule of thumb, edibles can affect your system for several hours once they have fully kicked in. Scientifically speaking, this is due to the fact that the cannabinoids that you are ingesting do not reach your nervous system immediately. 

Instead, they first travel through your liver, where their digestion takes place. The THC compounds are then transferred from your blood to your brain, and this bodily function is what causes edibles to have their effects felt anywhere from one hour to three hours after ingestion. 

That is the time it takes your body to transform THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is the chemical responsible for the long-term ‘high’ commonly associated with marijuana edibles and other ingestible medication products.

What is the Medical Cannabinoid Dosage for Edibles?

In truth, the right edible dosage varies from patient to patient. If you are a first-time consumer, you should probably stick to a dose of under 2.5 mg of THC, to avoid any psychedelic side effects. For a regular patient, the dose can vary from anywhere between 2.5 mg to 15 mg based on the conditions being treated. Any larger doses should only be ingested if recommended by a specialized MMJ physician.

One thing to watch out for when consuming edibles is to avoid the risk of accidental overdosing. Because of the delayed metabolization effect, patients might innocently ingest another dose in thinking that the edible is not actually working and that they need a stronger dose. Fortunately, an MMJ overdose does not always have to be a cause for severe concern.

However, the overwhelming amount of cannabinoids that your body is now processing can still cause uncomfortable side effects. These may include:

  • Nausea
  • Potent hallucinations
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • A heightened state of paranoia

Therefore, patience and temperance are absolutely vital when taking any form of edible marijuana. Take it easy, pace yourself, and don’t ask for seconds right away. No matter how tasty they might be.

Can I Order Marijuana Edibles Online?

Whether you’re looking for Indica or Sativa variants, there are plenty of online options for your MMJ edible purchasing needs. From high-concentration granola bars to chewable CBD Gummies with a lower THC and CBD dosage, chances are you will find just the sweet treat you are looking for. 

Not a fan of sweets? No need to worry. The internet is brimming with try-at-home recipes that include cannabis in their composition. We personally love cannabutter for an invigorating breakfast or a quick pick-me-up in between our Zoom meetings. 

Regardless of how you go about acquiring your own MMJ edibles, we strongly recommend you check in with your med card doctor before edible administration. Whether you want to buy a pre-packaged product or are looking to incorporate cannabis directly into your dish, your recommending physician should always have a say in the quantity that you should ingest.

The Takeaway: Smoking during Daytime, Eating at Nighttime

Having covered all of that, our medical expertise is as follows: 

If you are interested in a midday de-stressor that will not affect your work commitments, and you are able to partake in it in a soothed environment – light up a small hemp bud and earn back your rest and relaxation. You deserve it.

If, however, you are suffering from more drastic health issues and the long-term substance life of the THC compound does not bother you, treat yourself to a cannabis-fuelled meal that is either sweet or salty, based on your preference. A scrumptious dinner and a good night’s sleep will become your new best friends. 

Ending on a High Note

The best news of all? The rapid normalization throughout the States, such as 2020’s price drops for medical cannabis, starting from Maryland all the way to Oklahoma, means that hemp and cannabis products will only grow in variety. 

Soon enough, purchasing MMJ edibles online will be as simple as doing your groceries, and smoking paraphernalia will be a must for your daily relaxation rituals. The future of medicinal marijuana is now, and the world could not be happier about it.

Key Takeaways

  • The main benefit of smoking cannabis is its quick onset, which makes it ideal for short-term relief. The effects peak quickly and dissipate, making it suitable for daily schedules.
  • The advantages of eating cannabis edibles over smoking are its longer-lasting effects, higher potency, and it is ideal for chronic pain.
  • Smoking is best for daytime use to achieve short-term and immediate relief.
  • Edibles are suitable for evening use for long-lasting relief and better sleep.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.