Edibles vs. Smoking: Why Does Edible Marijuana Affect You Differently Than Smoking?

At first glance, it might not seem like there’s much difference between smoking marijuana and eating it. However, you’ll hear tales of people who took edibles and were caught off guard by the experience. They figured it would provide the same sort of high as smoking, only to end up with a reaction they might not have enjoyed. While many people can partake in eating edibles with minimal issues, it’s important to know the different effects of ingesting edibles and smoking marijuana.


Both edibles and smoking bring marijuana into your body, but it doesn’t go to the same places. When you smoke, you inhale THC into your lungs before the effects on other body parts are felt. With edibles, the THC goes into your stomach before being rerouted into your liver and other organs. Typically, less THC is consumed from edibles than from smoking, but it can stay inside you much longer.

Delayed Reaction

When someone smokes marijuana, they can expect to feel the effects fairly quickly. However, with edibles, the feeling is far more delayed. It can take up to three hours for edibles to be felt.

Also, someone might expect that an edible marijuana product, like a brownie, is supposed to hit them immediately. When that doesn’t happen, they might over-correct by eating more than their body can handle. When the high does set in, it can be an extremely uncomfortable situation. They might feel like they’re on the verge of a heart attack. There could also be symptoms of a panic attack, such as shallow, rapid breathing.

While death from marijuana consumption is not possible, the negative psychological effects are very real. The more edibles you force into your system, the more you have be aware of the potential side effects. People often take edibles as a means of relaxing, but improper dosages can lead to a feeling that is anything but relaxing.

Less Control

It’s far more difficult to gauge how much marijuana somebody is consuming with edibles than it is with smoking. If you’re smoking marijuana, you can control your intake by keeping track of how many hits you’re taking. Edibles are typically consumed at once, not piecemeal. Eating an edible could be like smoking from a large, packed pipe in just a few seconds. If you’re eating an edible that you haven’t prepared, you might have trouble determining if the amount of marijuana is too much for your body.

It can also help to find strains that are more CBD-based than THC-based, or that have a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. CBD is what gives marijuana its relaxing properties, while THC is the more psychoactive component.

Poor Pacing

Eagerness can be a major liability. The act of smoking is a means to an end, as no one would smoke anything unless it gave them a positive effect later. But edibles taste good. If you love brownies and are given a marijuana-infused brownie, you might devour it without a second thought. The psychoactive surge of THC that comes over you a few hours later might be very disconcerting.

It’s totally possible to have a good edibles experience, but you have to go about it slowly. Instead of downing one in a few bites or less, graze on it for a few hours. If you start to find yourself feeling noticeably high, stop eating. Find a safe environment and let yourself just sit back. Find something to focus on or someone you trust who you can talk with.

It can be a bit embarrassing to be going through a bad edibles experience around others, but you wouldn’t be the first to experience this. Remember that it will pass eventually and that you’ll be able to make better decisions the next time you use edibles, should you so choose.


Have you ever taken a bite of something, expecting one flavor but greeted by an entirely different one? (Word to the wise: Wasabi might look like guacamole, but it definitely doesn’t taste like it). If you don’t know what you’re getting into with edibles, you could become very disturbed by how your body reacts to it. When people smoke marijuana for the first time, they have to learn how to adapt to the feeling. Every new form of ingestion needs to be handled with absolute responsibility.

Do not use them when you need to operate machinery or are going into a situation that requires your complete attention, such as cooking or watching a child. Should you feel apprehensive about using edibles in a situation, it’s best to just put them away for the time being.


THC is typically oil-soluble. However, the digestive process makes THC water-soluble. As a result, it can end up being far more potent and last much longer. The intensity of an edible high can be magnified by how it’s experienced. Edibles can result in a body high, as opposed to the head high that comes with smoking.

Go At Your Own Pace

There’s no certainty that you’ll have a better experience with edibles versus smoking marijuana. There’s also no certainty that you’ll take to marijuana in general. When you consume it in any form, you need to be sure that you’re able to accept the responsibility of using it. You should also make sure you’re not using marijuana if you find it gives you uncomfortable feelings, such as paranoia or anxiety. No matter how much experience you have with marijuana, every use needs to be done with complete awareness and control.

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