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Nowadays, there are so many types of cannabis-infused edibles that the adventurous consumer can try. Aside from the stereotypical brownie or baked goods, cannabis edibles are now available as different types of consumables like tea, salad, bacon, or even pizza. And it’s because of this variety that cannabis users have found new ways to intake it other than the traditional method of smoking it.
However, there are many people who are interested to get into cannabis but still aren’t clear on the differences between the ingested and inhaled versions of it.
In whatever form it takes, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient of marijuana, makes its way up a person’s bloodstream and affect the user’s brain. THC generally produces a relaxant effect, as well as gives a person increased audio and visual sensitivity. However, the effects and duration can vary depending on the method of intake.
Smoking cannabis will allow the user to feel the effects much more quickly compared to consuming it as an edible. Once THC enters the lungs, it is quickly processed and travels directly to the brain. This method of intake usually has a quick and potent effect (typically within a few minutes), but it also quickly diminishes after a while. In addition, smoking a joint or using an e-cigarette exposes the person to substances other than cannabis -- some of which are harmful to the body.
On the other hand, ingesting cannabis as an edible has a much longer duration compared to smoking it. Once THC is ingested, it is then metabolized by the liver and converted to 11-hydroxy-THC – a metabolite that can cross the blood-brain barrier with ease and cause more intense and lasting highs. The effects can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to kick in and can last several hours. Plus, cannabis oil contains nothing else but cannabis.
Despite its strong effects, weed edibles only deliver around 10 to 20 percent of THC into the blood plasma, compared to the 50 to 60 percent that inhaled cannabis brings. This is the reason why smoked cannabis tends to peak and dissipate much more quickly than edible cannabis.
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Just like any regular tobacco user, the intake of cannabis via smoking can lead to several health complications – these include bronchitis, bronchial asthma, and emphysema. Similarly, smoking cannabis can lead to dangerous, habit-forming tendencies, which has been one of the major causes of marijuana overdose cases.
Edible cannabis offers a safer delivery of THC, especially with the way it is metabolized by the body. Its consumption allows for a more even distribution throughout the body and can provide more long lasting, beneficial effects like relief from pain, muscle spasms, other similar conditions. Its gradual effect also ensures that some of the post-high symptoms, like sensations of being burned-out and tired, are minimized.
There are those that shun the use of edibles because of the difficulty of determining its dosage. However, this is mostly because of careless misuse of the product rather than an intrinsic quality. Many users don’t immediately understand the slow effect of edibles and tend to quickly consume large quantities just to speed up the process.
When consuming edibles, take note that it works like any drug that’s absorbed in the stomach. The effects of THC will come on much faster with an empty stomach than with a full one. It’s also possible that consuming edible cannabis on an empty stomach can upset the user’s stomach or cause pain and nausea as a result.
It’s important to educate one’s self in the responsible and correct use of cannabis. Whether you choose to intake it via edibles or smoking, it always pays to know how it can affect your body before you try it. While smoking it has always been the traditional way to intake it, edibles have given many users new options to try cannabis.
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CrEATe is a direct-to-consumer culinary cannabis subscription that includes world-class educational materials, high-end oils, and exclusive chef-curated recipes. Embark on a transformative culinary journey.
In this eBook, we will be going through everything you need to know about culinary cannabis and how to enjoy this versatile herb responsibly.