While smoking is the most popular way to consume cannabis, recent legalization and decriminalization of the plant in states throughout the U.S. have caused an influx of cannabis-infused products that consumers can eat and drink.
What is an Edible?
Let’s set things straight before we get into the thick of it. If you’re new to cannabis, you might not know what edibles are. Essentially, they’re food products that have been infused with cannabis. The infusion typically occurs by extracting THC into an oil or butter that can be used for cooking. Edibles come in several forms but most commonly include baked goods, gummies, chocolates, and drinks.
The Difference Between Edibles and Smoking
Whether you take cannabis by smoking or eating it, its effects on your brain are mostly the same. Where the two differ is in how long it takes for you to feel the effects and how long they last.
When you smoke cannabis, you feel the effects rather quickly. Most people will start to notice a reaction within 15 minutes of inhaling. On the other hand, edibles take much longer to kick in. You’ll need to wait at least two to three hours to fully feel an edible’s effects. For this reason, it’s recommended to start slowly with edibles and take more if you still haven’t felt the effects after a couple of hours. Too many people have overeaten at the beginning and had bad experiences with edibles.
The effects of edibles also last longer, taking up to 12 hours to fully dissipate. It’s important to keep this in mind when taking edibles and plan your day accordingly. Meanwhile, smoking cannabis will only affect you for a few hours.
Benefits of Edibles vs. Smoking
Edibles infused with cannabis have a variety of benefits over smoking.
- Better for your lungs. While cannabis smoke doesn’t contain the hundreds of toxins in cigarette smoke, it still contains carcinogens. Inhaling smoke also upsets your respiratory system and can lead to other issues like lung inflammation and bronchitis. There is no smoke associated with edible cannabis, which means using them reduces your respiratory risk significantly.
- Effects last longer. This may be a disadvantage for some, but we’re marking the longer-lasting effects of edibles as a positive here. For many people using cannabis for its medicinal properties, longer-lasting effects provide greater relief.
- Easier. Edibles are an easy option for people who don’t want to go outside to smoke. They’re also an excellent choice for people who can’t smoke, making them an accessible option, too.
- Subtle. You can easily take edibles without anyone noticing, which can be helpful for people using cannabis for its medicinal properties that need to take it while in public. There’s also no odor associated with edibles, making them a good option for discreet cannabis use.
You should store edibles in a dark place and keep them safe from extreme temperatures. We also recommend keeping it inside an airtight container. If your edibles come with storage instructions, follow those closely. Depending on the type of edible you have, how long it lasts before going bad differs.
- Refrigerated edibles typically last no longer than a week.
- Baked goods infused with cannabis last longer but start losing their flavor after about two weeks.
- Candies and gummies infused with cannabis last the longest but will start to lose potency after three to six months.
Eat Cannabis Responsibly
Before it was decriminalized (or legalized), edibles were widely unregulated, leading to a slew of different effects for users. The THC in homemade edibles was often unbalanced, leaving users to play a bit of roulette when it came to how high they were going to get. Today, there are several options for regulated edibles that you can choose from. These options are safer and should be used whenever possible.
When you are taking edibles, eat responsibly. You can do this by monitoring the amount of THC you’re consuming. Experts recommend starting small, with no more than 2.5mg of THC, and waiting a couple of hours before having more.