Should you smoke cannabis or use edibles?What are the Differences?

By Jacqueline Abner

If you’re new to cannabis consumption, you may be presented with the quintessential stoner’s dilemma: should you smoke it or should you eat it, and what are the differences?

While there are many various mechanisms for consumption, the two main ways users imbibe is through inhalation of flower/distillate, and by the eating of edibles. Each method provides different effects, and it’s helpful to know these effects so you can plan your experiences accordingly.


Smoking flower or distillate is probably the easiest way to consume, and the effects are largely predictable. In addition, inhalation is easier to dose. Smoking allows for THC to be quickly absorbed by the bloodstream by way of the lungs. The human body contains naturally occurring cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that assist with THC uptake. Effects are felt immediately, and taper off after about an hour. The quick onset of effects allows the user to easily control and dose.

Smoking does not come without its downsides, however. Combustion of flower and distillate MAY be toxic for the lungs, and could potentially be carcinogenic. Not enough studies have been done to draw correlations between combustion and cancer, but those with chronic lung disease are highly recommended to abstain from inhalation. Since smoking can also irritate the lungs of a newbie, starting with vaporizing may be a wise choice.


The second most popular method of cannabis consumption is eating infused edibles. While the high from edibles can be quite enjoyable and euphoric, the chances of overdosing go up drastically compared to inhalation. It could take as long as 2 hours for the effects of edibles to fully set in (due to the digestive process) – which many newbies underestimate – leading them to consume more than recommended because the effects are not felt right away. The effects, once they set in, last substantially longer than if the user were to have inhaled. I think we all know someone who overdid it the first time and came to regret the experience. It is always best to start low and slow with edibles to ensure an enjoyable experience.

Bottom Line

The choice between smoking or eating largely comes down to user preference. Health-conscious folks may be more inclined to ingest edibles to spare their lungs, while those looking for quick effects and managed dosing may prefer smoking.