Ingestion vs. Inhalation
Cannabis users have had the longstanding debate since the plant was discovered, is it better to inhale cannabis or eat it? The answer is always in the opinion of the cannabis user, and usually swayed by the affects desired, or illness being remedied. There are benefits from both methods of consumption ranging from timing, strength, and overall functionality.
Inhalation is typically through smoking and/ or vaporizing. The plant matter or ‘bud’ is heated using a lighter, torch, or electric heat coil. The plant matter then becomes decarboxylated, and the smoke or vapor is inhaled then quickly exhaled. As the lungs expand the capillaries allow the THC and other cannabinoids to flow through the blood vessels, and hence flow through the blood, causing an almost instant “high” or effect. This can be beneficial for breakthrough pain, nausea, muscle spasms, eye pressure relief, and even those who are looking for fast relief in general. Typically this affect, while fast acting, is the shortest in duration of all methods of consumption, ranging from only 2 to 3 hour. The effects of the cannabis begin fading in strength, after reaching a peak about 15 minutes after inhalation.
Ingestion and absorption
Edibles take an entire different approach, it may take an hour- 1 1/2 hours to begin feeling its affects, however these affects can last up to 4 to 6 hours and some patients have even reported 8 hours. The cannabinoids are decarboxylated using the stove or oven as the main heat source, to make various edibles in the form of candies, juices, teas, brownies and any baked goods you can imagine even hot sauce. Once ingested the cannabis and other cannabinoids pass through the digestive system and are distributed through the blood stream through the capillaries in the stomach, intestines, and is then released in to the liver. From here the liver begins to change the chemical makeup of THC, and it is transformed into a “pro-drug” 11- Hydroxy- THC. This longevity is also accompanied by strength, when released in the blood stream via ingestion the brain-blood barrier is crossed, thus making the effects much more intense and long lasting.
The great debate of edibles vs. smoking does have scientific backing, known as bio availability. The bio availability is 4 times greater in ingested cannabis than its smoked counterpart having only 6-10 percent bio availability. The debate ought to be ended here. Cannabis users worldwide must consider their purpose when choosing a method of consumption, however some may choose one for quick onset and the other for longevity and strength. When properly dosed, timed and purposed the debate can be ended and all methods can be successfully utilized.