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Cannabis consumption: what’s the difference between smoking and edibles?

Last Updated Oct 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm EST

Smoke takes effect almost immediately. Edibles take time, but last longer. And the high is quite different.

When you smoke marijuana, THC is transported through your bloodstream to your brain, and before you know it, you’re feeling high and you’ve got the munchies — THC heightens the sense of taste and smell, thereby spurring the appetite.

The same thing can happen, though more slowly, when you eat marijuana, if the product you consume contains THC. When you eat a pot cookie, brownie or gummi, the marijuana enters your stomach, is carried by your blood to your liver and eventually to your brain. The effect starts to kick in about an hour later. Depending on the dose, it feels more potent and lasts longer than the high from smoking.

Some edibles sold as medicinal products contain no THC. They contain CBD, a cannabis compound that many people find helps with pain relief and anxiety but doesn’t get them high.

No rush, though: recreational edibles won’t be commercially available until October 2019. (In Washington state, where edibles were decriminalized in 2012, they account for more than half of revenue for the cannabis industry.) In the meantime, you’re free to make your own with legally purchased hash oil.

Will I still get munchies from edibles?

Munchies can definitely ensue. The snacking urge is caused by THC, which heightens the sense of taste and smell — and therefore appetite.

Purveyors of THC-laced edibles warn customers to start with just a nibble have healthy snacks on hand — so when the munchies hit you don’t reach for another edible and end up too stoned.