Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 12/26/2018 in Consumption
Updated on August 26, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
If you’re no stranger to cannabis, then you know you can consume this substance in multiple ways. Whether you’re using marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, you have access to a variety of intake methods to best suit your needs.
Some of the most common ways to take cannabis include smoking, vaping and edibles. But what’s the difference between eating marijuana vs. smoking marijuana, and why is it important to know what distinguishes these different intake methods?
When Smoking Cannabis May Be Your Ideal Option
You know no two cannabis products are quite the same. Whether you’re a cannabis connoisseur or are investigating marijuana for the first time, it’s crucial to understand each ingestion method has its own level of potency and effects.
If you’re searching for the strongest intake method with the fastest degree of impact, smoking may be the best choice for you. Smoking is also the most popular way to ingest cannabis, which means you’ll never have a shortage of options when it comes to smokable marijuana goods.
However, if you have a lung disease or are prone to throat or lung discomfort and irritation, you may want to consider choosing a different intake method — such as edibles — instead. Since smoking can cause pain in the throat, it’s not suited for every patient.
Vaping vs. Smoking
There’s often a sense of confusion surrounding smoking vs. vaping marijuana. Since both intake methods focus on inhalation, many patients aren’t sure what makes one option preferable to the other.
Vaping is, in fact, quite similar to smoking. But unlike smoking, vaping does not require burning or combustion when heated. When an individual vapes cannabis, the active compounds in marijuana are heated at low temperatures.
So, what’s the difference? Since you avoid the combustion associated with smoking, you’re less likely to experience lung irritation or discomfort, making it the ideal way to use cannabis, according to some researchers.
Toxins aren’t released into the respiratory system, which means vaping is a healthy way to reap the benefits of cannabis, too.
The Pros and Cons of Edibles
Now that you know a little more about smoking and vaping cannabis, where does that leave edibles? Most cannabis users are curious about the perks of marijuana they can eat. This intake method provides an alternative to traditional smoking and vaporizing options, but are edibles the right choice for you?
If you automatically connotate edible cannabis with pot brownies, think again. While earlier forms of ingested marijuana were often eaten raw or in bitter-tasting forms with a plant-like taste, many more options are available in today’s market. From gummy worms and other sugary sweets to teas and bubbly beverages, you’ll never have a shortage of choices when it comes to edible cannabis.
Best of all, you don’t have to experience the “high” often associated with inhalation methods if you’d prefer to reap the benefits of cannabis without any hallucinogenic effects. Simply buy edibles without THC if you’d prefer.
When it comes down to edibles vs. smoking, eating your marijuana may be preferable when you want to avoid the discomfort associated with smoking. Since edibles can last up to 12 or more hours, you may want to choose edibles when you want to experience long-lasting effects.
So, what about edibles vs. vaping? While edibles may beat smoking for users looking to reduce throat irritation or potential discomfort, why would someone choose edibles over vaporizers? Since vaporizing requires heat, you may prefer edibles when looking for a safer intake option.
Plus, many individuals boast that edibles are the most discreet way to enjoy cannabis in permitted areas, meaning you won’t attract any unwanted attention when snacking on your marijuana supply.
Choosing the Right Option for You
When it comes down to eating marijuana vs. smoking marijuana, which option should you select? Ultimately, one choice isn’t better than the other — picking the right intake method is a matter of preference and will depend on your circumstances and symptoms.
If your primary reason for using cannabis is to treat pain, you may want to choose a smoking form of cannabis to experience rapid relief. If you’d prefer a more extended release of your marijuana over a longer period, choose an edible instead.
Do you want control over the amount of cannabis that you consume? Vaporizing and smoking are ideal when you want to experience your marijuana gradually. If you want a precise measurement of the cannabis you ingest, however, consider opting for edibles instead.
What’s the healthiest option? Since edibles avoid the carcinogens and chemicals associated with smoking methods, you may find that eating marijuana is the most reassuring choice.
The most critical takeaways to remember when it comes to distinguishing the different marijuana intake methods are the varying absorption rates, potency and health benefits each option offers. Settling on the right choice will depend on what you want from your cannabis medicine.
Getting Started With a Marijuana Plan
If you’re seeking marijuana to treat a medical condition, it’s important to see a doctor near you and apply as a patient with your state’s medical marijuana program — if applicable. Since some states in the U.S. do not currently permit marijuana for medical or personal-use purposes, make sure to check the laws in your state.
For more information concerning medical marijuana laws in your area and the latest information in the cannabis community, be sure to check out our blog and online resources for more information today.