How Are Edibles Different from Inhaled Marijuana?

    Posted by Diane Campbell on Nov 16, 2015 11:57:38 AM


    Nature's Gift Shop edibles

    When you walk into your local marijuana dispensary, you’re greeted with an array of choices, which may include a broad spectrum of flowers, concentrates, topicals, tinctures, and edibles. Each form of cannabis has different effects on the mind and body, and these effects can vary considerably among users. Which form is best for you depends on the effects you seek, your personal preferences, and your individual endocannabinoid system.


    The Popularity of Edible Pot 

    Edibles are a popular choice in Colorado dispensaries. According to the first annual report of the Marijuana Enforcement Division, consumers purchased over 4.8 million units of marijuana edibles during the first year of legal recreational sales.[1] Medical patients often prefer edibles because they provide longer-lasting relief, allowing them to medicate less often. Casual adult users often find edibles appealing because of the familiar form. We tend to be very comfortable with consuming snack foods. On the other hand, many people wish to avoid smoking all together; vaping is a relatively new practice that is still foreign to many; and the notion of dabbing can be downright intimidating to a novice, in addition to the fact that it requires special equipment. Before you consume marijuana edibles, however, it’s important to understand how they are different from other forms of marijuana.



    If you’re thinking of making your own edibles at home, you have to make sure to decarboxylate your marijuana in the process in order to activate the cannabinoids. Although many people believe that raw cannabis provides health benefits, it is not psychoactive and does not have the same medicinal effects as activated cannabinoids. Fortunately, decarboxylation is not as complicated as it sounds. Because it’s accomplished with heat, it happens naturally when you smoke or vape. For homemade edibles, find a reliable cannabutter or cannabis-infused oil recipe, and follow the heating instructions precisely. Alternatively, you can grind the flower and heat it in a 240° oven for 50-60 minutes. Bear in mind that less heat will leave some of the cannabinoids inactivated, and excessive heat will cause some of the THC to degrade into CBN. CBN has medicinal benefits and is particularly effective for relieving insomnia, but this cannabinoid will put you to sleep more than get you high.


    Inhalation vs. Ingestion

    When you ingest cannabis, it takes a different pathway through your body than when you inhale it. When you take in marijuana through your lungs, cannabinoids are delivered quickly to the brain. You feel the effects within seconds, and they usually wear off within two to three hours. When you eat marijuana, however, it travels through your stomach and liver, which transforms delta-9-THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. Not only does the journey through the digestive tract take longer than the one through your lungs, causing a much later onset of effects, but it also delivers a different psychoactive substance to your brain.[2]

    As a result, when you consume marijuana edibles, you should not expect to feel effects for at least 40 minutes and should wait a full two hours before deciding you want a stronger effect and consuming more. Far too many edible newbies, famously including the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, have paid the price of failing to heed this warning. It’s really not fun to be more stoned than you want to be.

    Additionally, don’t assume that a tolerance for inhaled marijuana will translate into a tolerance for edibles. Remember that your brain is getting a different substance when you eat marijuana than when you smoke or vape it. 11-hydroxy-THC is generally described as more psychedelic than delta-9-THC, having a more intense sedative effect, and delivering more of a “body” high than a “head” high. These different qualities make edibles a preferred choice for many patients with chronic pain or insomnia. Some adult users also find the intense body high to enhance marijuana’s aphrodisiac effects.


    Choose your edibles wisely.

    Not all edibles are alike.

    When you are selecting an edible, consider how it’s consumed. Some, such as hard candies or suckers, will be absorbed more sublingually, bypassing the digestive tract and causing effects that are more similar to smoking.


    Pay careful attention to dosage.

    In Colorado, the recommended single serving for adult use is 10mg of THC. The warning above is worth repeating: If you don’t feel as strong an effect as you would like, wait two hours before eating more. As you gain experience with edibles, you will get a better idea of how your body responds to particular dosages and find your comfort zone. Keep in mind that CBD can lessen the anxiety and paranoia that can accompany high doses of THC, and consider purchasing an edible that contains a significant amount of this cannabinoid as well.


    Consider how your edible is made.

    Edibles available from a dispensary can be made in a variety of ways. Some companies may use simple cannabutter, as you would make it at home, while others use extracts such as butane hash oil (BHO), CO2 oil, or solventless ice-water hash. Different extraction methods produce different effects and flavors.


    Whatever your cannabis preferences, Nature’s Gift Shop in Pueblo West has you covered. We carry a wide variety of tasty marijuana edibles, including CBD varieties. We proudly feature Dr. J’s edibles, which are infused with pure CO2-extracted hash oil, and XG Platinum edibles, made with natural cannabutter.

    Want to make your own edibles at home? Download our free eBook for all the information you need to get started!

    Free eBook: Nature's Gift Shop's Guide to Homemade Marijuana Edibles

    [1] Baca. "Colorado report describes, in detail, first year of recreational marijuana." The Cannabist. The Denver Post, 27 Feb 2015. Web. 11 Nov 2015.

    [2] "Edible Cannabis vs. Smoked Cannabis." 7 Leaf Collective, 6 May 2015. Web. 11 Nov 2015.

    The Nature’s Gift Shop blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice a qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you read on this website.


    Topics: edibles