July 29, 2022 9 min read

Whether you’re a fan of traditional THC products or lean more towards mild-mannered Delta-8-THC or therapeutic CBD doses, you’ve probably come to a familiar crossroad at least once in your life–edibles vs smoking. Which one is best?

The truth is, both edibles and inhalation have their place, and both can be used to reap the many benefits of cannabis. It really boils down to the onset, intensity, and dosing factors that impact the overall cannabis experience, and, of course, your personal preference.

To help you decide, we’ll break down the differences, and cover some important dosing information to help you get the most out of your cannabis flower or edible delicacies. Let’s jump in:

Table of Contents
Smoking Cannabis
How is cannabis smoked?
How long do the effects of cannabis take to kick in?
How long do the effects of cannabis last?
What do the effects of smoking cannabis feel like?
Where to buy cannabis flower?
How much does it cost to smoke cannabis?
Edibles
How is are edibles used?
How long do the effects of edibles take to kick in?
How long do the effects of edibles last?
What do the effects of smoking edibles feel like?
Where to buy cannabis edibles?
How much do cannabis edibles cost?
Edibles vs Smoking Pros and Cons
Are edibles stronger than smoking weed?
Are edibles healthier than smoking weed?
Conclusion: Is edible THC or smoking weed better?

Key Takeaways

  • The onset time, duration of effects, intensity, and more vary for each cannabis consumption method.
  • Some sources say that edibles provide stronger effects and are a healthier dosing option compared to smoking.
  • Cannabis flower, however, provides a variety of strain and therapeutic options.
  • Both edibles and cannabis flower have their place, and the best consumption method depends on your unique needs.

Smoking Cannabis (Inhalation)

When you get down to the brass tacks of it, you'll find that smoking weed and taking edibles provide two very different cannabis experiences. This is true no matter how you dice it. You'll find that the onset, duration, intensity, dosing thresholds, and more differ between the two dosing styles.

Let's break down each of these factors and how they impact the smoking experience, and then we’ll discuss edibles down below.

A few nugs of fresh cannabis flower prepared to be rolled into a joint

How is cannabis smoked?

To get started smoking cannabis, you'll need fresh cannabis or hemp flower and a smoking device. This may be a pipe or bowl of sorts, a bong, a dry herb vaporizer, or rolling papers. How you smoke cannabis makes very little difference, although some people prefer vaping dry herb, claiming that it preserves the flavor and terpene profile of the bud.

One thing to note about the way that cannabis is smoked is that it will almost always leave a lingering smell, so this isn't the most discreet dosing method. If you use a pipe or bowl, you’ll also want to consider that they need to be cleaned frequently so they don’t become clogged, taste musky, or smell really dank.

How long do the effects of smoking cannabis take to kick in?

When you smoke cannabis, active cannabinoids can be immediately absorbed through the lungs where they reach the bloodstream in a matter of minutes. This is the reason that you begin to feel the effects of inhaled cannabis only a few minutes after your first puff.

With traditional cannabis flower, this means that you'll feel intoxicated pretty quickly. For hemp flower, it means you'll experience CBD-provided relief more quickly than you would with other dosing styles.

This fast onset also applies to vape products since they're inhaled and reach the bloodstream through the same method.

How long do the effects of smoking cannabis last?

When you smoke cannabis flower you'll feel the effects instantly, but the experience may be a bit shorter lived compared to other dosing styles. This is because inhaled cannabis products are metabolized quickly. So, while you may feel the effects in 5 minutes, they will probably have faded after a few hours.

In general, the effects of smoking will last 1 to 3 hours depending on the dosage used and your unique metabolism. Some people prefer other dosing methods for therapeutic effects where a long-lasting relief is needed, but you can also re-dose as needed since inhaled cannabis is fast to kick in.

What do the effects of smoking cannabis feel like?

Cannabis inhalation is sort of like the baseline for the effects of THC. In general, the effects won't be nearly as intense as edibles, but can still be pretty potent and provide the therapeutic benefits of whole-plant, full-spectrum effects.

Where to buy cannabis flower and smoking products?

The accessibility of fresh cannabis or hemp flower varies from state to state. Typically, cannabis flower is available in state-licensed dispensaries in states where cannabis is legal, and it's the most common form of cannabis that you will find on the market.

Because smoking is such a popular dosing method, you're likely to find a wide variety of different strains in local dispensaries, offering you the most variety in terms of effects. This is a great perk for both recreational and therapeutic users who want a bit more control over their cannabis experience.

Some products, like hemp flower or Delta-8-THC flower, can even be purchased online and shipped directly to your door.

Check out ourElev8 Collection to buy Delta-8-THC flower online today!

A grinder filled with freshly ground cannabis flower used to roll joints for smoking weed

How much does it cost to smoke cannabis?

Traditional cannabis flower is usually the most cost-effective way to use cannabis. It's unrefined and unprocessed, cutting down on the production time necessary to get the flower to market, and therefore cutting down on costs.

Of course, when you purchase traditional Delta-9-THC flower from a state licensed dispensary, you'll sometimes pay a hefty sales tax. Hemp flower, Delta-8 flower, and other hemp-derived products may be much more cost-effective since you can order them online and avoid the dispensary tax.

You'll also need to factor in the cost of any smoking equipment. Of course, bongs and pipes are usually one time purchases, and papers and other rolling supplies are generally inexpensive.

Edibles

Edibles are food products made with cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis flower. Usually, they include pre-measured doses of THC, CBD, Delta-8, or other cannabinoids. In some cases they may also contain added terpenes and other beneficial compounds that alter their effects.

Although cannabis edibles are not as natural as cannabis flower, they still offer a range of dosing benefits and can provide significant recreational and therapeutic effects. Plus, many people enjoy the wide variety of delicious edible formulations available in today’s cannabis market.

Vida Optima Elev8 Gummies

How are edibles used?

Using edibles is simple and probably more straightforward than smoking cannabis since you won’t need any equipment. Generally, edibles are just meant to be ingested, although you should pay attention to specific dosage instructions to determine whether you should eat the entire edible or just a portion of it.

For instance, a Gummy with 10 mg of THC may be a good single dose, but a brownie with 100 mg of THC may need to be cut down into smaller doses or shared with friends.

How long do edibles take to kick in?

Unlike with smoking, edibles may take a while to metabolize. For that reason, the effects of edibles may be delayed for up to 90 minutes after dosing. After you ingest an edible product, it needs to be partially digested and reach the liver before it can be metabolized into the form of THC that reaches the bloodstream, 11-hydroxy-THC.

How long do the effects of edibles last?

We mentioned that in the liver THC is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC, a THC metabolite that is longer lasting than THC itself. Because THC edibles are slow to metabolize and the THC metabolite that's produced lingers around for a while, the effects of cannabis edibles can last 3 to 8 hours.

Typically, these effects are dose dependent and also depend on other unique factors, like how much you've recently eaten and the speed of your metabolism. Nonetheless, edibles are notorious for having long-lasting effects, so expect to be intoxicated for several hours after dosing.

What do the effects of edibles feel like?

The 11-hydroxy-THC that's created in the liver is not only longer lasting than THC, but it's thought to have more potent effects on the body. After the liver converts THC to this THC metabolite, 11-hydroxy-THC is pushed into the bloodstream where it can cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with the Endocannabinoid System.

Because it's effects are incredibly potent, the effects of edibles are generally described as being much more potent than the effects of smoking cannabis. At high doses, edibles can be described as “borderline hallucinogenic”, and many people find that they need much smaller edible doses than when using other dosing styles.

Where to buy cannabis edibles?

Just like cannabis flower, you can usually find edibles at local dispensaries. However, the edible selection is sometimes more limited, and they may not necessarily disclose the strain profile or effects of a specific edible formulation.

If you're looking for hemp edibles, you can purchase a wide variety of CBD and Delta 8 gummies, oils, and more online.

How much do edibles cost?

The process used to make edibles is more involved and then just harvesting and trimming smokable cannabis flower. To make edibles, cannabis flower needs to undergo at least one of many different extraction techniques. Then the cannabis extract can be used to create a variety of different edible formulations, like oils, gummies, cakes, chewing gum, mints, chocolate, and more.

Because it takes more work to create a cannabis edible, they're typically a bit more expensive than fresh cannabis flower, even when comparing them milligram for milligram of THC. If you buy at a local dispensary, you'll pay an increased cannabis tax. When buying hemp edibles online, you'll be able to skip this extra tax.

Vida Optima Elev8 THC Edibles

Edibles vs Smoking Pros and Cons

To recap, here are the main upsides and downsides of the two different cannabis consumption methods:


Edibles


Pros

Cons

  • Individually dosed
  • Potent effects
  • Variety of edible styles
  • Discreet
  • Not harsh on lungs
  • Long lasting effects
  • Delayed onset of effects
  • Less strain-specific options
  • May contain sugar, fats, or other unhealthy ingredients
  • More expensive than flower
  • Less variety in stores compared to flower

Smoking

Pros

Cons

  • Fast acting effects
  • Multiple strain options
  • Cost-effective consumption method
  • Aromatic consumption experience
  • Flower can be smoked or vaped
  • Requires extra equipment
  • May be harsh on the lungs
  • Distinct smell, not discreet

Are edibles stronger than smoking weed?

As edibles are digested, THC is converted in the liver to a THC metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC. This THC metabolite is what reaches the bloodstream and promotes psychoactivity within the endocannabinoid system. It's thought to have a greater affinity for CB1 receptors, the cannabinoid receptors responsible for inciting psychoactive effects. For this reason, edibles are thought to produce a more intense high than smoking when the same THC doses are used.

Are edibles healthier than smoking?

Edibles are often thought to be a healthier alternative to smoking because they do not have any negative impact on the lungs. Of course, some edibles may come with their own health impacts, especially those filled with sugar, fats, or certain allergens. In reality, it really boils down to which dosing method best meets your unique needs.

How long does the high last for edibles vs smoking weed?

The 11-hydroxy-THC created as an edible is digested is much longer lasting than THC itself. The effects of smoking weed can last around 3 hours, while the effects of cannabis edibles can last up to 8 hours.

How to Dose: Edibles vs Smoking

One primary difference between the two consumption methods is the way that they are measured.

When smoking cannabis flower, it can be hard to accurately measure how much THC you’re intaking. Of course, the fast onset of effects makes this dilemma easy to navigate. Many consumers will simply take a few hits and wait to feel the effects before consuming more.

Unfortunately, with edibles its not that easy. Because it take an hour or more to feel the effects from a cannabis edible, you’ll not be able to easily stack on new doses. Still, it’s wise to start slow and not overdo it, especially since the effects of edibles are already more intense than other dosing methods. Here are some tips for edible dosing that may be useful:

  • 5 milligrams of THC is often considered a “standard dose” for moderate cannabis users, but new or hesitant THC users may start with 2.5 milligrams to see how they feel.
  • Experienced cannabis consumers may enjoy larger doses of 15-30 mg of THC, but its best to increase to this dosage slowly.
  • Overconsumption is a larger risk with edibles because consumers overlook the length of time it may take to feel the effects. Wait at least 3 hours after a dose to decide if you should take more THC edibles.
  • If you are new to THC and want to dip your toes into a mild dosing experience, we recommend trying Delta-8-THC edibles instead. They are less potent than traditional THC products but offer very similar recreational and therapeutic effects.
Vida Optima Elev8 THC Chews

Conclusion: Is edible THC or smoking best for me?

Deciding between edibles and cannabis flower can be tough. When all is considered, it really comes down to your preference. If you're looking for a hard-hitting THC experience, prefer pre-measured doses, or value discretion, edibles may be the best choice for you. If you prefer the aromatic experience, want fast-acting effects, or prefer a short-lived high, you’ll want to grab some cannabis flower.

Our opinion–why not both? We think that there’s room for more than one consumption method, formula, and cannabinoid. In fact, we recommend taking a whole-body approach, which may mean pairing CBD edibles with fresh Delta-8-THC flower, or keeping a variety of different cannabinoids (like CBGor CBN) in your dosing arsenal. No matter what you decide, we have an gummy, tincture, capsule, or strain of hemp flower to meet your needs.

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