To Eat or to Smoke: That Is the Question

17 November, 2022
To Eat or to Smoke: That Is the Question

As a cannabis consumer, is it better to enjoy products by smoking or ingesting? Those who regularly partake often find this out through experience. But for anyone who is fresh and cautiously experimenting with cannabis, it may be helpful to gain an insight into the differences between the two forms of consumption. This could be especially important if you have yet to try cannabis. After all, you wouldn't want your first experience to discourage you from continuing your intake of this wondrous plant. The good news is we've been there already, so we're here to share our experience in order to help you decide whether you should eat or smoke. 

If You Smoke It


When cannabis is smoked, its chemical compounds are carried from your blood to your brain at a much faster rate. If you're consuming a THC-heavy strain, the energizing sensations will settle in right away. Your product may get to work in as little as 10 minutes when it's smoked. 

Because of how rapidly you feel the effects, this method of consumption makes it easier to take a manageable dose. When the psychotropic sensations kick in, you're not as likely to go for more than if you were waiting and wondering if you didn't take enough. You're also getting as much as 50-60% of the strain's unique arrangement of cannabinoids when smoking. While that sounds like a fair amount on paper, the results will actually be milder than what you'd get from a consumable. Also, you are only going to be able to enjoy the experience for about one to four hours. Both of these factors can either be pros or cons depending on what you're looking to get from your cannabis consumption.

There are other factors to consider before you pick up that pipe or preroll. Smoking is not a subtle activity. If you choose this intake method, just know that the smell will be strong and the smoke will be impossible to conceal. Also, you have to take into consideration that inhaling smoke could pose some health concerns. 

There are strong benefits to smoking cannabis, but if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, perhaps ingesting would better suit your needs.


If You Eat It

Eating cannabis products is quite different from smoking them. For one, you're getting fewer cannabinoids in your system. As we previously mentioned, though, you might be surprised to learn that this won't result in a gentler experience — especially surprising if you ate and decided to read this because nothing was happening. Well, the reason you may not feel anything yet is that when you eat a cannabis-infused product, you should expect a wait time of 30 minutes to two hours before it gets to work. But once it hits, hold onto your seat! 

When ingested, cannabis travels through your digestive system, where it spends some time in the liver. What this does is it metabolizes the THC into a far stronger variant known as 11-hydroxy-THC. Not only can it more easily enter the blood-brain barrier, but it will give you a far more powerful experience that lasts up to 10 hours. Even on the shorter end, you can expect a four-hour buzz. Like smoking, the intensity and duration can either be a good or bad thing depending on what you're looking for and your tolerance level. 

One of the bigger concerns with ingestibles is the ease with which someone can unintentionally overdo it. This is because some consumers will wait for a while, feel nothing, and then eat some more thinking the first bite wasn't strong enough. Before they know it, they're blindsided by the psychotropic effects. This can lead to extreme anxiety and other undesired results. Such a situation is especially worrisome considering how long edibles can last.

If you want to experiment with ingestible cannabis products, it's important to understand how they will affect you — and don't forget, the strain will play a big role in that. The best way to learn your tolerance level is to start small and give yourself 24 hours to see what happens. If you don't feel anything after that time, try ingesting 2.5 to 5 mg and give it another 24 hours. Continue this incremental process until you start feeling a tolerable level of energizing sensations. It's good to repeat this any time you try a new strain.


Choosing the Right Method

Because smoking and eating are vastly different intake methods, you don't necessarily have to choose one over the other. What it boils down to is what you're looking for. Do you want something that you'll feel immediately and won't last too long? Smoking is the way to go. Do you want to have a stronger experience that will last longer, and you don't mind the wait? Chow down on that delicious brownie.

Edibles don't always have to come in a sugary package. Because alternatives like granola and protein bars exist, ingesting can be a healthier way to enjoy cannabis. But because smoking affects you so quickly, it's a better option for controlled dosing. Some may prefer one over the other, but what's most important is that you understand how both methods work and how to proceed accordingly.