If you’ve any experience with cannabis whatsoever, you’ve probably experimented with various inhalation and ingestion efforts. In both instances, the goal is to get as much THC and CBD out of the cannabis you consume and into your body as possible. Not necessarily to get as baked as you can, but to get the maximum value from the cannabis you grow or buy.
Now more than ever, cannabis users worldwide are getting creative in the kitchen with the most remarkable culinary creations imaginable. For others, there’s no acceptable cannabis consumption method other than rolling and smoking joints.
Every consumption method has its points of appeal, but have you ever considered how inhalation is different to ingestion from a scientific perspective?
Whether you choose to inhale or ingest cannabis, the THC and CBD you consume makes its way into your system by way of a unique process. With this in mind, here are four ways in which inhaling and ingesting cannabis are two entirely different things:
1.Different THC Absorption Processes
When cannabis smoke or vapour is inhaled, the lungs extract the cannabinoids and transfer them directly to the bloodstream. This is a surprisingly efficient and rapid process - hence, the reason you feel a near-immediate high when inhaling cannabis.
By contrast, it’s the liver that’s responsible for metabolising the THC in the cannabis edibles you consume. The THC and CBD in the edible go nowhere near the lungs as it passes through the body, instead being sent to the bloodstream and the brain by way of a much slower and more gradual process.
2. Gradual Effects
When you take into account the above, you begin to understand why cannabis edibles have a much slower onset than joints, vapes, bongs and so on.Inhalation results in the almost immediate transfer of THC to the bloodstream.When cannabis edibles are eaten, the body needs anything from 30 minutes to two full hours to process the THC.
It’s also interesting to note that the liver isn’t nearly as efficient as the lungs, with regards to cannabinoid extraction and processing. The lungs extract up to 60% of the THC in the cannabis you inhale, whereas the liver tops out at around 20% absorption.
3. Edibles Are Not Easy to Dose
Edibles have become an everyday staple for millions of recreational and medical cannabis users worldwide. Nevertheless, accurately dosing edibles can be tricky - if not impossible. For one thing, the slow onset of the effects can make it difficult to know if and when you’ve taken enough, and when you should take more. In addition, there are often huge potency discrepancies from one dose to the next.
Take up a 100g bar of THC chocolate with a total THC content of 100mg and 10 individual chunks. You’d expect each of these 10 chunks to contain the same 10mg of THC, but this often simply isn’t the case. Instead, any one of these chunks could contain 20mg of THC, while another could have little to no THC whatsoever.
4.Physicians Recommend Ingestion Over Inhalation
Last but not least, the vast majority of cannabis physicians worldwide recommend ingestion as a preferable alternative to inhalation. Despite the fact that smoking and taking cannabis isn’t associated with any serious health issues, inhalation of any kind of smoke or vapour can irritate the airways and lungs.
This is why some jurisdictions in the United States outlaw the smoking of cannabis flowers for therapeutic purposes, exclusively permitting the sale and distribution of edibles. Nevertheless, many medical cannabis users prefer the more rapid relief associated with inhalation, along with the greater simplicity of accurately dosing cannabis flowers, concentrates and so on.