Is it better to make edibles out of cannabis, or is smoking weed the better choice? Cannabis is known for its psychoactive effect, which is caused by THC (tetra-hydrocannabinol). This psychoactive cannabinoid affects the brain, which then causes a high. However, the way in which we consume cannabis makes quite a lot of difference on its effects. Both the intensity of the high and the speed at which THC affects the brain are different for smoking marijuana and eating cannabis edibles. That’s useful knowledge, so this blog explores all the differences between edible and combustible cannabis. We also explain how growers can determine the taste and effects of their own cannabis edibles.
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How THC Transforms In The Body
The difference between the effects of THC when smoked or eaten as a cannabis edible is due to the distinct ways in which the cannabinoid is absorbed by the body. Smoking involves inhaling THC, which directs it to the lungs. From there, it enters the bloodstream as it makes its way to the brain, where the psychoactive effects occur. This is where it passes the blood-brain barrier, making its effects felt almost immediately. On average, the first effects of a smoked cannabis high can be felt within 5 to 15 minutes after inhalation. This is when blood THC levels are highest. The effects of cannabis gradually decrease over the course of the following two hours.
Eating edibles triggers a different chain of events. THC follows the edible down into the stomach, from where the gastrointestinal tract takes the cannabinoid to the liver for processing. Here, THC, which should actually be called delta-9-THC, is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This chemical transformation explains why cannabis edibles cause different high effects then smoked cannabis. 11-hydroxy-THC has a more powerful psychoactive effect than delta-9-THC, and its high feels different, too.
Edibles VS Smoking Cannabis: Slower Onset, Long Lasting Effect
Two major differences set cannabis edibles apart from smoking. First off, edibles take much longer before they make their effects felt. Since ingested cannabinoids have to pass through the stomach and liver before reaching the brain, it takes 1 to 2 hours on average before their influence becomes apparent. Once the THC arrives at its destination, however, the effects can last for 6 to 10 hours. That is considerably longer than the effects of smoking cannabis: this is important to keep in mind for anyone interested in trying edibles!
Smoking Cannabis And Edibles: Decarboxylating THC
THC in cannabis plants is not directly available for use by the human body. That means eating raw weed is pointless; there would be no psychoactive effect whatsoever. Humans are unable to digest the fibrous material of these plants, but more importantly, any THC preent would not enter the bloodstream in a form that we can use. That is why the plant material needs to be decarboxylated first. This biochemical process is based on heating. As temperature rises, molecules of the cannabinoid THCA (THC-acid) release an acid component (COOH), which turns THCA into THC. This process also occurs when weed is smoked, because the heating involved in combustion aturns THCA into THC that can be absorbed by the body.
Anyone interested in making their own edibles will need to decarb their weed first. The trick is doing it in such a way that the cannabinoids are not destroyed in the process. Our special blog on decarboxylating cannabis explains how to do just that.
The Right Dosage For Cannabis Edibles And Smoking
Knowing and sticking to the right dosage is critically important; both for smoking and for eating cannabis edibles. Consuming too much can make the high too intense, or cause a bad trip. On the other hand, consuming too little will fail to produce the intended effect, which is generally not what people are after, either.
Smoking cannabis allows for fairly accurate dosing of cannabinoids and their intended effect. Smoking produces noticeable effects fairly quickly, which makes it easier to adjust the intensity and duration of the high. If the effect is less than intended, a few more inhalations are always an option; yet if it’s stronger than expected, putting the joint away is always an option. That makes determining the right dosage relatively easy, even for less experienced consumers.
Dosing Cannabis Edibles
Cannabis edibles can be much more difficult to dose. As mentioned above, the effects of THC will take at least an hour to make themselves felt. That creates a well-known cannabis pitfall: impatient consumers will tend to take another bite too soon, because they think the edible is not working properly. However, taking that extra bite involves a serious risk of ingesting too much, which can easily cause bad trips. This is obviously not a desirable situation; especially when you consider how long the effects of cannabis edibles can last.
So if you plan to eat cannabis edibles, always be very careful. Keep in mind that it can take quite some time before THC makes itself felt. Start out with small doses, simply by taking just a few small bites. Wait for at least an hour and then determine whether you’re feeling any effects yet. If you don’t feel any THC effects, you can take a few more bites. This is the best way to prevent literally biting off more than you can chew. Here’s a pro tip: always make sure you have some tasty snacks nearby – something other than cannabis edibles that is, without THC. This is a good way to resist the temptation to gobble up the rest of that edible and regretting it later!
Tip For Growers: Using Trim In The Kitchen
Making cannabis edibles is not that hard, as long as you have decarboxylated cannabis at hand. This can be turned into edible basics like cannabutter, which can then be used to make batter for cake or muffins, for instance. From that point, inventing your personal recipes for cannabis edibles becomes a piece of cake – pun intended. There’s plenty of sites full of cannabis recipes out there if you’re looking for inspiration.
If anything, growing your own cannabis makes cooking up edibles even easier. Decarbing harvested buds is a great starting point for cannabis cuisine. Growers aiming to make the most out of their plants can even use leftover cannabis trim to process into edibles. The ‘sugar leaves’ that remain after trimming the harvest contain too much chlorophyll and too little THC to be suited for smoking. Still, they are perfectly suited to make an easy batch of cannabis edibles.
Which Strains Make The Best Edibles?
Of course, we all know that the perfect cannabis strain is a matter of taste. Nonetheless, choosing which strain to grow for your cannabis edibles is a big factor in the taste and effect of the final result. THC content is a major part of the impact, but other cannabinoids like CBD have a part to play, too. The taste of your edibles largely depends on which terpenes are present in the strain you use – apart from the sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate on your list of ingredients, of course. Terpenes are organic compounds that determine the taste of weed, although they are found throughout the entire plant kingdom. Some of the best-known terpenes and their flavours are:
Caryophyllene: this terpene extends an exciting, spicy taste and scent to cannabis that is bound to affect the flavour of edibles. Our classic Super Silver Haze seeds are a good example of a caryophyllene-rich Amsterdam Genetics strain.
Limonene: as the name of this terpene probably gave away already, limonene smells and tastes of lime and other citrus fruits. A dash of Lemon Haze or Lemon Ice in a cannabis edible is bound to add a fresh, funky twist to the recipe due to the high limonene content of these strains.
Edibles, Smoking, And Medicinal Cannabis
An important part of the cannabis edibles fanbase consists of people who use marijuana for medical reasons. Medicinal cannabis can be consumed for a wide range of conditions and symptoms, including chronic pain, stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, or migraine.
Many people who use cannabis for medical reasons prefer edibles over smoking. Finding the right edibles can be a real source of relief, even if only because smoking is bad for your lungs. That is a considerable drawback even for healthy people, but for certain conditions, smoking simply isn’t an option. That makes cannabis edibles a wonderful alternative.
Growing cannabis for medicinal edibles is a bit more complicated than your average grow, though. This is mainly because of high standards in terms of hygiene, consistency, and continuity, but you can read all about this in our dedicated medicinal cannabis grow blog. For now, though, at least you know that cannabis edibles can be great solution for non-smokers, both for medical and recreational purposes.
CBD Edibles: Tasty And Healthy Without The High
If you don’t feel like making your own cannabis edibles, then perhaps our delicious, wholesome, and ready-to-eat CBD edibles are your best choice. CBD edibles contain cannabidiol but no THC. That means they will not get you high, while they still convey all the potential health benefits of CBD. How about some CBD Gummies with lovely fruit flavours, or our delicious CBD Coffee and Chocolate with CBD? For anyone interested in baking their own CBD edibles, we have our Blue Monkey CBD seeds waiting. These will let you make the very best CBD cannabis edibles full of potential for a healthy, balanced lifestyle, without the psychoactive effects of high THC strains.
The Amsterdam genetics product range has something to offer for anyone. It is up to you to decide which you prefer: growing, smoking, making edibles, or ordering them ready-made from our web store. Whatever you decide, however, our prime quality cannabis seeds and good-to-go CBD edibles are your best guarantee of using only the finest ingredients that nature can offer!