From vaping, oils, smoking to topicals — when it comes to consuming cannabis, there’s a variety of ways to go about it. Although smoking cannabis is the most popular method, given its versatility and effectiveness, it makes sense to question how other consumption methods stack up in comparison. Variables such as the onset time, effect, intensity and duration will vary with each consumption method. However, the right one for you will be a matter of personal preference.
Are the effects from vaping cannabis flower different than those of chowing down on some baked delights? What say you after throwing a cannabis-infused extract in the mix? In this article, that’s exactly what we plan to dive into — from differences in how long it takes to start feeling the effects of cannabis to how long they last, and more.
Varieties of food and drinks infused with cannabis are generally categorized as “edibles”, as they tend to react with the body in the same way. With edibles, effects are not as instant. The onset time is delayed, usually taking about 30-90 minutes to kick in following ingestion. Onset time is directly related to the digestive process and when cannabinoids in edibles are ingested, they get absorbed through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In the process, THC, first travels through the liver and then gets converted into 11-hydroxy-THC a powerful (approximately 5-10 times more than the original THC) psychoactive compound.
The effects of ingesting edibles can last much longer than other consumption methods. The combination of delayed onset time and potency can create a significantly more powerful high, but the therapeutic effects aren’t immediate. Depending on the dosage, effects can last somewhere around 4-10 hours.
- Zero toxic chemicals present from combustion.
- Ideal when consuming in states where cannabis is illegal.
- Longer lasting effects, meaning you won’t have to continue taking dosages.
- May not be for those in need of instant relief.
- Along with the cannabinoids, are the additional calories and sugar in foods such as candies, brownies, etc.
- Easily confused with ordinary food, especially when not kept away from children.
- Dosing with edibles is slightly more difficult to control, due to the delayed onset time.
Vaporization involves heating cannabis flower or cannabinoid-rich concentrates to a specific temperature, causing the cannabinoids to evaporate into a vapor, all without the combustion. Unlike edibles, vaporized cannabis does not have the same effect, as it does not pass through the liver. The effects of vaporization are similar to smoking and can be felt immediately, about 2-5 minutes after inhalation. This not only makes controlling your dosages easy, but the vapor is free of tar and carcinogens, which is beneficial for those looking to avoid the risk of lung and respiratory issues.
- Instant effects.
- Healthier alternative due to absence of toxic substances.
- Gives discreet smoke due to absence of combustion.
- Easier to choose the dosage.
- Said to be better tasting than that of the combusted flower.
- Some vapes are expensive or require hours of recharging.
A tincture is a liquid cannabis concentrate created with alcohol to dissolve the fat-soluble cannabinoids extraction. Today, they are available in a variety of flavors, cannabinoid profiles and potencies, but you might find it surprising they have been around since the 1800’s. Perhaps the best thing about tinctures is the rapid onset relative to edibles. With just a few drops under the tongue, effects can be felt within 15 minutes or so. With the help of our mucosa lining and tongue, tinctures are able to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. It’s comparable to vaporizing cannabis, only that no inhalation takes place.
If you’re looking for a kind of edible-effect, you can also add cannabis tinctures to your food or drink and expect the same effects brought about by edibles. In this case, THC will undergo the same digestive process and similarly, will take some time for effects to kick in. Yet, like edibles, the long-lasting effects of tinctures will be able to provide hours of much-needed relief.
- Zero toxic chemicals.
- Can be taken sublingually or added in food for longer lasting effects.
- No additional calories or sugars, unless added to food.
- Can be taken anywhere without raising suspicions.
- Less risk of throat and lung irritation.
- Might offer an unpleasant taste.