To smoke or to scoff? That is the question.
Two of the most popular methods of getting green in your system is to smoke a joint, or eat a cannabis-infused edible such as a cookie or brownie.
So here’s the ultimate guide on which one is best for you, and what kind of experience it’s going to deliver.
Getting the goods in
First up there’s the physical factor of smoking versus eating.
There are many ways to smoke weed, from the trusty joint to vapes, pipes, bongs and beyond. If you’re sensitive to smoke in your throat and lungs, concerned about health risks, or suffer from a condition like asthma, then you may want to consider passing instead of puffing.
Chowing a cookie will eliminate these concerns, as you won’t need to inhale any smoke into your lungs. Then your only health concerns are whatever sugar, gluten, lactose or other allergens may be present in the baked goods. If you’re sensitive to common ingredients, check with the baker or supplier first.
When the high hits
If you’re smoking, the high will be fairly instant. Give it a few minutes, and you should begin to feel lift off. THC concentration in your blood will peak between 5-10 minutes after smoking.
If you’re doing edibles, you’ll need more patience than that. Time from eating to feeling stoned differs from person to person, and also depends on how full your stomach is. Wait at least an hour before you expect to feel effects. THC concentration in your blood should peak between 60-120 minutes after eating.
A classic rookie error is to munch an edible, still feel stone cold sober 30 minutes later, and get so impatient that you klap a second one. Take it from us – this is not a good move!
How long it lasts
Smoked cannabis will dissipate from your bloodstream quite quickly, but THC from eaten cannabis can last between 6-10 hours.
What’s happening in your body
When you smoke weed, the vapour is inhaled directly into your lungs, where the THC passes into your blood. It is then carried directly to your brain, and you feel its effects.
When you eat a space cake, it first has to be digested in your stomach, absorbed into your blood and taken directly to your liver for processing. In the liver, normal THC is converted into a way more potent form of THC.
As Understanding Marijuana author Mitch Earleywine told The Daily Beast:
“In a nutshell, eaten cannabis gets metabolized by the liver, so delta-9 THC becomes 11-hydroxy-THC, which passes the blood-brain barrier more rapidly and has more of a psychedelic effect than standard THC. Smoked or vaporized cannabis bypasses the liver and doesn’t create the same 11-hydroxy-THC.”
Nailing the dosage
This part is crucial to having a good experience. If you overdose on weed, you’re not going to die – but you may experience pretty unpleasant levels of paranoia, dizziness or nausea.
If you’re smoking, it’s easy to judge the amount of weed you’ve consumed because you can see the size of the blunt and how much has been smoked up. Because the high hits fairly quickly, it’s also easier to judge when you’ve had enough and to stop.
If you’re smashing a cookie or brownie, things get much trickier – especially if you didn’t bake it yourself. If you’re concerned about taking too much, rather start small, wait for the effects to kick in, and then see if you’d like to add more intensity to the experience.
If you’re looking for a fast-acting and controllable high, hit a blunt. If you have an afternoon to spend on a trip, and you’re prepared for it to be longer and more intense, then chow an edible and let the adventures begin!
What have your experiences been? Shoot us your advice in the comments section on Facebook!
Zootly says: If you’re using weed for the first time, or being tour guide for a friend’s first time, rather err on the side of caution when it comes to dosage. Nobody wants their first time to be a bad trip, so the classic adage applies: start low and take it slow.