Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles

They say all roads lead to Rome, so does Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles both lead to a high. But the path to the high and the longevity, the intensity of the high are different as the consumption methods.

In this article, we'll detail the differences between smoking weed and ingesting (eating) weed.

What you will learn in this article of considering smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles

  • How weed is absorbed into the body.
  • How weed consumption methods work.
               1) How smoking weed works.
               2) How marijuana edibles work
  • How weed consumption methods affect your experience.
  • The Differences Between Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles
  • Which is healthier: to smoke weed vs. edible marijuana?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles
  • Is it better to smoke or eat cannabis?
  • Grow your marijuana at home
  • Final thoughts on Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles

How weed is absorbed into the body

Weed gets into the body system through two major processes: the respiratory system and the digestive system.

Through the respiratory system, weed is smoked and inhaled – vaping weed also goes through the respiratory system.
On the other hand, weed is eaten through the digestive system and goes through the stomach then digested before it gets into the body.

Eventually, whichever way you consume weed, you will get high, but the high is different. Before we get into how the other consumption methods will affect the high experience one gets, let's look at how the weed consumption methods work.

How weed consumption methods work

You will either smoke weed or eat weed, but how do they work? Let's see.

How smoking weed works

Grab a spliff, slide it between your lips, light it up, slowly inhale the smoke, then gently exhale.

That's how you smoke cannabis.

But what happens when you inhale the cannabis smoke?

In the lungs, the THC in marijuana smoke is promptly absorbed into the bloodstream shooting its way to the brain in a minute or two.

When it reaches the brain, THC attaches to and activates itself on molecules on neurons in the brain area called cannabinoid receptors, disrupting various mental and physical functions and causing the high associated with smoking weed.

How marijuana edibles work

Whether laced in a brownie or your favorite ice-cream, marijuana edibles like smoking weed will make you high.

When consumed, the edible goes through the digestive system – that is, to the stomach. Once digestion occurs, the liver metabolizes the THC converting it to 11-hydroxy-THC before it is pushed to the bloodstream for its journey to the brain.

The whole process, from when the edible drops down your throat to when you get the kick of cannabis, can take anywhere from one to two hours, but the high is much stronger and longer than smoking weed.

How weed consumption methods affect your experience

Both smoking weed and eating weed will make you high, but the experience is different.

The difference stems from the absorption process, which we saw earlier.

Smoking weed gives a fast high – its effect kicks in a minute or two after smoking because smoking has direct access to the brain, but the high is short, lasting between two to three hours.

The edible experience, on the other hand, is intense and longer-lasting between four to six hours.

The Differences Between Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles

According to Nick Jikomes, a Ph.D. holder in Neuroscience from Harvard University and the host of the Good Chemistry podcast, "The real difference between edibles and smoking or vaping is that with edibles, a much larger fraction of Delta-9-THC makes it to the liver first. There it gets converted to 11-hydroxy-THC," Jikomes says. "So in other words, if you smoke or vape, the ratio of 11-hydroxy-THC to Delta-9-THC is quite low, and if you take an edible, it's much higher."


The THC from smoking weed is absorbed into the body through the lungs, while in edible marijuana, it is absorbed through the liver. Smoking goes through the body's respiratory system, while edibles go through the body's digestive system.

Through the lungs, weed is mostly absorbed as Delta-9-THC or just THC, while through the liver, weed is metabolized and then absorbed into the bloodstream through 11-hydroxy-THC. These are different chemical elements that the brain reacts to differently, as you will see below.

Effect - How fast the high kicks in

Because of the differences in how THC is metabolized and gets into the body from smoking and eating weed, the highs are also different.

Like we earlier noted, smoking goes straight to the brain in seconds, and so the high from smoking marijuana kicks in within a couple of seconds to two minutes.

On the other hand, eating marijuana follows the slow digestive process of the edible getting into the stomach, processed, metabolized in the liver before it is moved to the bloodstream and then to the brain. Therefore, it will take one to four hours for this process to complete before you get high from edible cannabis.

I must add, several other factors also play in the onset of the high. Smoking or eating on an empty stomach, for instance, will increase the rate at which you become high. That's because there is nothing in the stomach except the marijuana for the body to process.

Duration of the high

The high from smoking weed lasts anywhere between 1 hour to three hours, while edibles can go between 4 hours to 6 hours.

This is because edibles are metabolized into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is a lot more potent than the Delta-9-THC, mostly absorbed by smoking weed.


You can't avoid the cloud of smoke when smoking cannabis or avoid the reporting smell of cannabis. That's different with edibles; unless you are told, you would never know that an edible is pumped with marijuana.

Which is healthier: to smoke weed vs. edible marijuana?

Health-conscious individuals tend to weigh the choice to smoke weed or eat edible marijuana.

Health issues of smoking weed

The primary health issue of smoking weed is filling the lungs with smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoked marijuana, smoking weed in any form, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels. Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can also lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production.

Health issues of edible marijuana

Two primary health issues should concern a health freak with edible marijuana.

First, the likelihood to overdose – since it takes several hours for the effect of edible marijuana to kick in, many users have found themselves treating themselves to another cookie. By the time the weed gets to their brains, they've doubled or triple dosed.

Second, marijuana was mostly laced in high sugary edibles like cookies, brownies, chocolates, and ice cream, which are generally not healthy once upon a time. If you are wary of packing on a couple more pounds from the edible marijuana, consider healthier marijuana foods, snacks, or drinks.

Better still, you can grow your marijuana at home and dictate which food or drink you can add your marijuana.

Advantages and disadvantages of Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles

Now that you know the significant differences between smoking weed and marijuana edibles, it should be easy to point out their advantages and disadvantages.

Is it better to smoke or eat cannabis?

After looking at the differences between betting smoking and eating cannabis plus poring through the advantages of either method of consuming weed, the choice of how to get high is yours.

Both methods pose health concerns, and both ways have advantages.

If you want to get high fast, then smoking is the route to go.
If you want the high to last longer, then edible cannabis is preferable.
If you want discretion, edible weed definitely is the way to go.
If you are concerned about your lungs, enjoy the marijuana-laced brownie, beware of the extra calories, you may pick up from consuming those deserts.

Advantages of Smoking Weed

Disadvantages of Smoking Weed

The high kicks in super-fast – within 1 – 3 minutes

There are serious health concerns of smoking weed, wreaking havoc on the lungs, blood vessels, and a host of other diseases.

It is easy to control the dosage – it is rare to overdose on smoking weed as the high from smoking is nearly instantaneous.
So one can quickly know how many puffs are enough to get the devil's lettuce into their brain.

Smoking weed is telling – there is no discretion in smoking weed unless, of course, if you are smoking in the confines of your couch.
Consumed in public smoke from smoking weed will report you.

Advantages of Edible Marijuana

Disadvantages of Edible Marijuana

Edible marijuana skips all the health risks of smoke in the lungs.

It takes a couple of hours for the effect of consuming edible marijuana to kick in.

Edible marijuana offers a longer high lasting up to 8 hours from a single dose. A benefit of using marijuana for pain management or medical purposes

Most edibles are laced in deserts, and foods with a lot of sugar posing their own health risks.

Those who fancy discretion will love edible marijuana.

It is easy for new marijuana users to overdose with edible marijuana.

grow your marijuana at home

If you are within a state or country where marijuana is legal, we can help set up a Marijuana home garden installation for you.
In Arizona, the 207 prop act passage allows adults to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home. Please speak to us on how we can get you set up to start growing your marijuana at home or for certified Prop207 marijuana seeds.

Final thoughts on Smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles

In this article, we've gone all in to dissect smoking weed vs. marijuana edibles.
You should now know how either method works to get high.
You should know the differences between smoking and eating weed.
You should also understand the advantages and disadvantages of smoking weed and marijuana edible.

How do you like your marijuana? Smoked or eaten?