Smoking a joint or taking an edible: the eternal question facing budding cannabis connoisseurs. Which should you choose? Both have pros and cons, and knowing what to expect can help you make the best choice.
Before taking your first toke or ingesting a weed brownie, read on to learn how your body will react to the THC – and a few pieces of advice to make sure you know what you can expect!
How Smoking Cannabis Works
Smoking is one of the most popular ways of enjoying cannabis, and for a good reason: it works almost instantly. When you inhale weed smoke into your lungs, THC, CBD, and other active compounds are almost immediately absorbed by the millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli, where they enter the bloodstream and make their way to the receptors in the brain.
When the psychoactive compound THC gets to the brain, the cannabinoid connects to receptors called CB1 receptors that are on the central nervous system. It’s this binding that produces the euphoria associated with getting high with weed. When you inhale the compounds, the amount of time between inhalation and the THC reaching the brain is short – so short that smoking provides a rapid onset of the high.
How Taking Edibles Works
There are other forms of inhaling, including vaping and dabbing, but they work similarly to smoking. Edibles, on the other hand, are a form in and of themselves. Any aked goods, gummies, capsules, and other items made with THC can get you just as high as smoking – maybe even more so! But when you ingest cannabis in the form of edibles, how your body metabolizes the THC is very different.
When you consume an edible, the material passes through the digestive tract, where the stomach absorbs it. Once the edible breaks down in your body, the liver processes the THC compounds and converts them into a new compound called 11-hydroxy-THC. It’s more potent and longer-lasting than ordinary THC!
Because the THC has to go through this long process before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream, it takes longer to connect with the receptors in the brain. Once it does, however, this THC is strong, with a longer half-life (the time needed for the body to eliminate half of the quantity of a substance) than smoked THC.
Tips For Smoking
There are several ways to smoke – bowls, joints, and bongs are the most common – and all have their own pros and cons. Joints are the most simple; bongs provide some of the smoothest smoke.
The best advice when consuming cannabis through inhalation for the first time (or the first time in a long time) is to ease into it. Don’t jump right into dabs, gravity bong rips, and other experiences of that nature – work your way up to them!
It’s important to feel comfortable when trying a new smoking experience, and the ideal way is to enjoy cannabis with those you know and trust. A Sativa is great for gatherings, as these strains energize and help you feel more outgoing; Indicas are ideal for watching movies and TV on the couch. Whichever you choose, know your limits and play within them!
Tips For Edibles
Edibles can be the ideal product to start for those who don’t like the health effects of smoking combusted plant matter. No matter how natural the plant is, there will always be impurities like carbon dioxide and monoxide in smoke! If you’re not used to edibles, make sure to note the dose – aim for something with 2.5 or 5 milligrams.
If you’re waiting for the onset of your high, keep waiting – edibles take longer to work than smoking dried bud. Wait at least an hour or two before taking more edibles. Don’t get impatient and ingest a lot more – you’ll find yourself with a high you may not be able to handle!