The modern cannabis industry has grown astronomically over the last few decades. What was previously a substance used only for recreation has quickly become a more mainstream plant with several potential significant benefits.
As cannabis views have changed, more and more states have started legalizing cannabis for medical (and sometimes recreational) use. Medical dispensary offerings have expanded far beyond flowers to include a wide range of products such as tinctures, vape oils, and edibles. These additions to the market provide users with more options. For those new to cannabis, all of those options make choosing the right product more challenging.
Of the many medical cannabis consumption methods, smoking and edibles are among the most popular. If you aren’t sure which to choose, understanding their differences, who they’re best suited for, and their unique pros and cons can help make your decision easier.
What Are the Potential Medical Benefits of Cannabis?
Over the years, scientists have learned a lot about cannabis and discovered several significant potential health benefits. They include:
- CBD may help reduce seizures in people with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. There’s even a CBD strain named after a young girl (Charlotte Figi) who benefitted from a unique hemp strain created by the Stanley Brothers.
- Several studies point to cannabis being an effective pain reliever. It may help medical cannabis patients with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, and more.
- THC may help ease nausea and improve the appetites of patients undergoing cancer treatment. More recent studies demonstrate that some cannabinoids (compounds found in cannabis) may also help to slow and even stop the growth of cancer cells.
- Some research shows that THC and CBD can help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, allowing users to relax and improve their moods. Other research suggests cannabis may be effective for managing symptoms of PTSD.
- Limited studies suggest cannabis may help improve the focus of individuals with ADHD.
- CBD in cannabis may help to reduce inflammation and amyloid plaque buildup, which may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
There’s currently no concrete evidence showing that cannabis can do any of these things. However, the information we do have provides compelling evidence. We’ll need more research to determine for certain what the compounds in the cannabis plant can do for medical users.
Considerations for Choosing Between Edibles and Smoking
Now let’s take a closer look at using edibles vs. smoking cannabis to help you determine which method might be best for you:
Key Differences Between Edibles and Smoking
The most significant difference between edibles and smoking is how you consume the products. Smoking involves inhaling the smoke produced by igniting fresh cannabis flowers. Taking an edible involves ingesting (swallowing) a cannabis-infused food item or drink.
Smoking cannabis often (but not always) involves a little prep work. You need to grind a cannabis flower and roll it into a joint or pack it into the bowl of a bong or pipe. Then you light it with a flame, such as a lighter or hemp wick. You can also choose pre-rolls or pre-rolled joints, which offer a more convenient option.
Edibles require no work other than portioning out your preferred dose. One of the most difficult things about them is choosing a product that suits your taste buds and your specific needs. The market has a lot to offer, including chocolates, soft chews, hard candies, baked goods, and even beverages. They come in an array of flavors and strain options.
Your body processes cannabinoids from smoking and edibles differently, too. When you inhale cannabis smoke, they pass through your lungs directly into your bloodstream. Because of this, you’ll typically feel the effects in 15 minutes or so. The cannabinoids in edibles pass through your digestive system and liver first. Enzymes in the liver break down THC, transforming it into a more potent metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC. It takes longer to feel the effects, but those effects are typically stronger and longer-lasting.
Edibles VS Smoking: Pros and Cons
Which method of using cannabis is right for you? Consider some benefits and drawbacks for each.
Pros of smoking:
- Rapid onset time
- Wide variety of strains available
- Easy to use
Cons of smoking:
- You inhale ash, carcinogens, and other contaminants
- Smoke produces a strong odor (not discreet)
- Can be harsh on your lungs
- Wears off quickly
Pros of edibles:
- A wide assortment of products, flavors, and potencies
- You can purchase ready-to-consume or make your own
- Much more discreet
- Easy to dose
- Longer-lasting effects
Cons of edibles:
- Effects can take up to two hours to kick in
- Risk of ingesting too much (which can lead to more potent side effects)
- Can be more expensive
Who It’s For
Smoking is an ideal choice for those who:
- Need relief right away
- Want to experience the full cannabinoid and terpene profile of a given strain
- Enjoy the process of rolling joints or packing a bowl
Edibles are great for medical cannabis users who:
- Have respiratory issues (or other health concerns) that smoking may worsen
- Want to take their dose without drawing attention to themselves
- Want the benefits of their dose to last longer
- Enjoy cooking or baking and want to try their hand at making their own products
Tips for Use
Whether you choose smoking or edibles, remember to start low and go slow. In other words, start with a low dose and gradually increase the amount you take until you find the dose that provides you with the desired results. For smoking, start with a one- to two-second puff. Wait for 15 minutes or so to see how you feel before you try taking another one.
With edibles, start with a 2.5 to 5 mg dose of THC. However, you’ll want to wait at least two hours to see if you feel anything. If you take another dose too soon, you run the risk of ingesting too much THC. That could leave you feeling some unpleasant side effects.
Edibles VS Smoking: What’s Right for You?
Smoking and edibles are two very different methods of cannabis use. Choosing between them is a highly personal decision. Understanding the differences, considering your needs, and weighing the pros and cons can help make the process easier. You may even find that smoking works for you in some situations, while edibles work better in others. VidaCann offers a broad selection of flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, and other products, giving you plenty of options. Visit us online to browse our selection, or visit your nearest Florida medical dispensary today.