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  • Writer's pictureGreen Leaf Medical Marijuana Card Doctors

Pros and Cons of Smoking vs Edibles for MMJ Patients

Where you fall in the smoking vs edibles debate will likely be down to simple preference. Both of these weed consumption methods have their pros and cons but also offer unique experiences for the whole spectrum of cannabis consumers.


Smoking might be the most typical consumption method, but it's not the only one (by far). Innovations in the ever-evolving marijuana market mean there are always new products to try, and the wide range of edible products is just one of these options.


What Are the Pros of Cannabis Edibles?

Cannabis edibles offer several advantages over other consumption methods.


Tasty to Ingest

One of the most important benefits of cannabis edibles is that they are (generally) delicious to consume. Marijuana edibles often come in the form of baked goods like brownies or cookies infused with cannabis extracts. There are also many other options for people worried about calories in weed products or with different dietary requirements, such as gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, and so on.


The main pros of consuming edible cannabis products include:


Long-Lasting Effects

Edibles tend to offer longer-lasting effects than smoking marijuana. This may be particularly appealing for medical cannabis consumers who require enduring relief for qualifying conditions like chronic pain.


Several factors will affect how long you feel the effects of cannabis edibles. Keep in mind that they could last anywhere between 4-12 hours. Some residual effects could even last for up to 24 hours.


THC contained in edibles is metabolized in the liver, which causes a slower release of THC and other cannabinoids into the bloodstream. This means that it will usually take longer to feel the effects, and these effects will also take longer to wear off. This could mean you can go longer without taking another dose compared to smoking.


Discreet Consumption Method

We're all familiar with the distinct smell cannabis smoke emits. Discretion is still often welcome even in states like Arizona where cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical use. If you want to consume cannabis without drawing attention to yourself, edibles offer a discreet and convenient solution.


Edibles are extremely versatile, coming in both beverage and food form. This makes them perfect for social situations or when you're looking for a more discreet option. Edibles are odorless and easy to transport, meaning they're perfect to consume when you’re out (but not while you’re driving, of course!).


What Are the Cons of Edible Cannabis?

The main con faced by edible consumers is dosage:


Dosing Challenges

The biggest drawback of edibles is that the delayed onset of effects could result in overconsumption. This happens when consumers aren't careful to wait for the full effects to kick in before consuming more.


Dosage is also quite imprecise when consuming homemade edibles because the THC in any given batch can be unevenly distributed. This means that you may consume much more THC in one cookie than another despite making them at the same time. Edibles purchased in a licensed dispensary with a government-issued photo ID (and medical marijuana card for patients) should be more reliable as their production is regulated.


What Are the Pros of Smoking Cannabis?

The main pros of smoking cannabis are related to its speedy onset time and the control the consumer has over their dosage.


Rapid Onset of Effects

Smoking cannabis offers the quickest way for THC and other cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream. Many MMJ patients choose to smoke marijuana as it offers almost immediate relief for a wide range of conditions including nausea from chemotherapy.


Greater Control Over Dosage

Smoking cannabis allows consumers to carefully gauge their intake by taking greater or smaller amounts. Because the effects are felt immediately, it's easy to consume just the right amount. This may give patients a greater sense of control and security over their consumption.


MMJ patients, in particular, may be interested in carefully administering their cannabis. Choosing the right strain to treat a particular condition—for example, high-CBD cannabis strains for epilepsy—or taking the correct dosage for rapid pain relief is important for consumers who want to get on with their lives while managing their symptoms.


Smoking Offers a Great Option for Weed Connoisseurs

Experimenting with the hundreds of different tastes and aromas offered by different strains is best appreciated when smoking. This is because smoking allows you to distinguish a strain's unique terpene and aromatic profile. This will be largely lost when consuming weed in edible form.


What Are the Cons of Smoking Cannabis?

Smoking marijuana inevitably comes with some drawbacks to bear in mind. The main downsides of smoking are:


Health Concerns

Smoking in any form (including marijuana and cigarette smoke) is known to be hazardous to one's health. Individuals suffering from respiratory conditions or any lung or heart complaints may prefer to avoid smoking tobacco or cannabis.


Others may prefer edibles or other consumption methods that don’t require inhaling because they don't like the sensation, they find the smoke harsh on their throat, or they simply don't enjoy it.


Cannabis Smoke Affects Others

Smoked cannabis can draw unwelcome attention from others, including neighbors or housemates. Smoking marijuana isn't the most discreet consumption method and creates smoke and smell that may not be appropriate in all settings.


Tip: Vaping might be a less conspicuous alternative to smoking if you enjoy inhaling your cannabis.


Make MMJ Work for You

Whether smoking, edibles, or an alternative like tinctures or capsules is your go-to consumption method, making MMJ work for you will undoubtedly enhance your experience. Finding the right strains and consumption methods for you is a process that consumers should embrace as part of the journey.


Though experimenting can be fun, knowing what to expect from each consumption method is also important for safety and enjoyment. Feel free to ask for help and experiment with the host of options available to you as an MMJ patient.


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