Aug 14, 2021

Smoking vs Edibles: Breaking Down the Differences

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Let’s be honest – you’re probably familiar with the dreaded introductory edibles experience; whether it be first-hand or via word of mouth, getting high to the point or paranoia on “special” baked goods or candies is never fun. Unfortunately, it’s due to this perception or past experience that many seasoned cannabis connoisseurs steer clear of ingesting and instead opt to use a beloved bong, pipe, or joint. Why is it that so many of us experience a totally different, and often stronger, type of high with edibles compared to smoking?

The answer has to do with how the psychoactive components of cannabis, such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), gets absorbed into our bloodstreams. Yes, weed gets you high no matter how you take it, thanks in part to the endocannabinoid system, but how it does changes the effects. Let’s break down the process.

What is the endocannabinoid system, anyway?

That’s a good question that still isn’t fully understood. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex modulatory system in the brain that aids in nearly every process of our bodies, including sleep, appetite, fertility, mood, and even muscle formation. Endocannabinoids (molecules produced in your body to help you function) bind to receptors, giving your brain the signal to take some sort of action.

It turns out that cannabis is almost perfectly engineered to get us high; when inhaled or ingested, cannabinoids also bind to these receptors and essentially turn the dial up on whatever action your brain is taking – such as sleeping or eating. Scientists don’t yet know what the purpose of the ECS is or why we have it, but what they do know is that it’s essential to survival and is the reason that cannabis gives humans such strong effects.

How are effects different when you smoke compared to eating cannabis?

It’s simple: when you smoke or inhale, THC is directly absorbed into the bloodstream via your lungs, where it then binds to those receptors we mentioned. That’s why you typically feel high almost immediately after smoking. But when you ingest an edible or tincture, THC travels through the liver as well, converting to a stronger cannabinoid before being absorbed into the bloodstream. That means you can expect a much more potent, couch-locking high that can take up to two hours to feel the effects of.

What do I need to do to have a pleasant edibles experience?

Now that you know the science behind how ingesting is distinct, all you need to remember is to start slow. Even if you’ve smoked or vaped for years, eating edibles can be an entirely different beast – we recommend starting on a low dose (like 5mg) and waiting at least one to two hours to see how it affects you. Yes, that may mean starting on just half a standard 10mg gummy or chocolate found at most provisioning centers.

It’s possible to take more but never less, so as long as you remember this, your next edibles high should be full of enjoyment. Make it even better with our RAIR Orange Cream or Wild Cherry gummies. After you’ve gotten the hang of store-bought edibles, you’ll be ready to experiment making your own special goodies.

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