Edible cannabis is becoming more popular among both recreational and medical users. It does have different effects, and takes longer to work, but there are many upsides. What are the pros and cons on both sides of the issue?
Is it better to smoke or otherwise ingest your cannabis? That is a discussion on the table just about everywhere that medical cannabis, if not recreational, is now legalizing.
While this may not matter as much to recreational users, patients are a very different story. In fact, from a medical perspective, these are issues deserving of a much more thorough discussion. The debate goes on concerning whether cannabinoids are better ingested orally or otherwise. Are the lungs, in effect, better at delivering medication to the bloodstream than the gut?
Beyond that question, there are clearly other issues at play.
Smoked or vaped cannabis does, in fact, enter the bloodstream faster. Edibles take longer. Why? When eaten, cannabinoids are processed by the stomach. The good news? There are now more options available in commercialising markets. Cannabis gum and candy, for example, work slower than smoked cannabinoids, but faster than regular edibles.
In fact, there are multiple reasons why people choose one route over another. And many consumers like to mix multiple methods of consumption together.
FEWER HEALTH RISKS
The decision of whether or not to smoke is primarily a health concern. Medical users frequently rely on smoked cannabinoids because they work quickly. However, when offered alternatives, many do switch to another form of ingestion. Many medical users cannot smoke, or even vape.
Secondly, the more gradual, “timed” release of cannabinoids associated with edibles may be just the ticket for medical users.
This is especially true for those who suffer from chronic pain. Why? Eating cannabis, rather than smoking it has a different impact on the body. Orally ingested cannabis initiates more of a body high. Additionally, the cannabinoids are more evenly distributed throughout the body.
The scientific explanation? Edible cannabis is metabolised by the liver. This converts THC to 11-hydroxy-THC. This metabolite is very effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier. It also does so in a way that creates an intense and long-lasting high.
THE BENEFITS OF USING CANNABIS EDIBLES
There are many, many benefits of using edibles. The first one? Variety. The entire discussion has come a long way from pot brownies. Wonderful as those are. There are now commercial products that include everything from snacks to pre-made meals.
Adding pre-made cannabis oil to recipes makes this whole process much easier. It is also a very social, enjoyable thing to do. Learning how to cook with cannabis is just part of the fun. In some American cities now, there are even classes.
Edibles are very good for people who do not or cannot smoke. Especially for patients, children, and those who suffer from respiratory diseases like asthma. Edibles are also great for people who are suffering from nausea in particular. Sometimes, the only thing really sick people can eat is cannabis-infused.
The other benefit to all of this is that edibles do indeed have a longer-lasting impact than smoked cannabis. They take a little longer to kick in, but the effect also stretches out further.
Another major benefit? It is easier to use edibles discretely. Unless you make them yourself, there is little to no smell involved with consuming edibles.
THE DRAWBACKS OF CANNABIS EDIBLES
Hard as it may be to believe, there are also quite a few drawbacks to cannabis edibles.
The first is that yes, eating your cannabis might taste better, but it does take longer to feel the effects. If you are using the drug recreationally, this can be a problem. If you are using it to feel relief from pain, this can be frustrating.
It is also harder – far, far harder to reliably regulate dosage. Even if using pre-made products or making them at home. Why? THC can be distributed unevenly throughout the food or mix. While commercial products are beginning to be tested, there are other issues there, including labelling. On top of this, everyone’s body and metabolism acts differently. There are numerous variables to consider.
Then, of course, there is this to consider: there is also the danger of just eating too much of a good thing. If you are crazy for chocolate brownies, chances are you might not be able to help yourself from devouring that second or third brownie. Also, not all edibles are “healthy,” even if they have cannabis in them. Junk food is still junk food. When looking at commercially produced products, make sure to check out the ingredients list. Remember that pesticide use is still a huge problem.
Including that, many commercially produced edibles are made out of leaves and trim. For this reason, there is less clarity about what kind of cannabis is actually in such products. Many manufacturers mix different kinds of leftover trim and leaves in the first place.
In other words, unless you make your edibles, you have no assurance of what kind of cannabis is contained within.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO EDIBLES?
This is the fun part. There are many of them. They range from commercial options to do-it-yourself home projects. Space cake anyone? Ice cream perhaps? Learn how to make your own cannabutter though, and the sky’s the limit.
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