What Are The Differences Between Inhaling And Ingesting Cannabis?
By Alice Grace
There are two primary forms of cannabis consumption. They are inhalation and ingestion. Today we’re going to examine the differences between them. Inhaling, if you for some crazy reason aren’t aware, refers to absorbing smoke or vapor into the lungs. Ingesting on the other hand refers to oral consumption whether in food products or oils and there are quite a few noticeable differences between them.
First, THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid found in cannabis, is absorbed differently in each process. The metabolic process when ingesting takes place in the liver where the THC is converted to a metabolite with a fancy name called 11-Hydroxy-THC. This metabolite has a much easier time being transferred through the blood to the brain and can cause very intense reactions. And does it sound like a long process? Well, it is, especially by comparison as THC that is inhaled has a shorter path as it travels directly to the brain causing an immediate reaction.
Which brings us to the marked differences in how long it will take for the effect of inhaling versus ingesting to present. Because of the speedier metabolic process, inhaled THC effects are immediate and the peak is typically within ten to twenty minutes and dissipates about an hour or two later. Ingesting is quite different. Because the THC has farther to travel before it reaches the brain the effects can take anywhere from a half hour to as much as two hours to present. This presents obvious problems in dosage as users could underestimate the metabolic process and ingest more than needed or perhaps desired. The rule of thumb with edibles is therefore to start off slow and bring your patience.
The intensity of each method ranges dramatically as well. As mentioned above ingesting transfers THC to a metabolite. That metabolite can be as much as five times more psychoactive than THC that is inhaled. This makes it an ideal method for medicinal users who are in need of a more intensified experience but can also cause users to miscalculate so caution should be used. Ingesting is quicker but not as strong creating a less intensified, dramatic effect which is sometimes desirable.
Edibles are likely a healthier choice over inhalants. Because of harmful by-products in smoke ingesting edibles is often considered the healthier manner of consumption. There are an abundance of options, too, of marijuana infused edibles – from high protein granola bars to sugar-free sweets, meaning one doesn’t have to rely on sugary desserts to receive the benefits of cannabis. Additionally, because the absorption process is considered to be a lot stronger when ingesting it makes them an ideal method to deliver relief to medicinal users.
Another important distinction is the lack of a gold standard dictum as far as advertised potency is concerned in ingestible marijuana products. With states having varying rates of regulation it is challenging to determine with great accuracy the correct dosage in these products. That is another reason to advocate caution and patience when ingesting edibles.
Individual preference will vary between ingesting and inhaling. Users must determine if they are looking for a more immediate, full-body experience that tend to be shorter in duration or a more intense, longer-lasting experience.