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So this is one of those timeless questions, and there are some really significant differences between these two methods, which is a fab thing because we all need to understand what those differences are, so that we can expand the kinds of experiences you have while using cannabis.
For the most you can choose exactly how you wish to consume the plant and base it on just how high you want to get.
So there is a huge difference between eating it and inhaling it, the high that you get from vaping or smoking weed tends to be the faster of the two and lasts longer.
Also it depends on how your body processes the THC because when you inhale weed the THC goes into your body very quickly and it’s around 50/60% of the chemical that goes straight into your blood plasma.
So really it’s the THC in the bloodstream that just goes straight to your brain to then go on to produce that feeling wonderful feeling of being high. The whole process happens very quickly but it also fizzles out just as quickly.
When you eat cannabis though, you are sending the THC contained in the herb to a totally different metabolic route and that is what causes a significantly different experience.
Mitch Earlywine, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York-Albany and also the author of Understanding Marijuana, quotes “In a nutshell, eaten cannabis gets metabolized by the liver, so delta-9 THC becomes 11-hydroxy-THC, which passes the blood-brain barrier more rapidly and has more of a psychedelic effect than standard THC.”
“Smoked or vaporized cannabis bypasses the liver and doesn’t create the same 11-hydroxy-THC.”
To put it in much simpler terms when you eat marijuana the THC passes through the liver before it enters your bloodstream and this then gives you that "double high" as the THC gives your body a high when it then hits the liver and then yet another high when it gets into your bloodstream.
Yes the process does take abit longer, which is why it takes that much longer to get high from eating weed but once that happens the "double high" it goes on to produce then tends to last longer and can also be far more intense than the high which is produced by vaping/smoking.
The other reason that there are differences between ingesting and inhaling weed has to do with what is often called "set and setting" this has more to do with the environmental factors which impact how the drug is used, this is how Earleywine has summarized that factor:
“Why people might perceive the effects of eating cannabis to be more intense also has to do with set and setting.”
“As the effects of smoked marijuana can be felt within seconds, even mildly experienced users can generally pick the point where they’ve had enough, a process called ‘titration.'”
“In contrast, those who eat cannabis have to estimate what the dose they’ve taken will do, and the length of the high means that any unpleasant effects take longer to go away.”
So essentially the argument here is that the fast hitting high of smoking or vaping just makes it much easier for the person to know when they’ve had enough, while the slower working high of ingesting weed can make those doses much harder to work out.
Much more often people end up eating more than they might’ve smoked because they’re unsure of just how high they will actually be once their edibles have been fully metabolized. When that high finally hits they then discover that they have consumed more than they thought they did and then find themselves soaring through the stratosphere.
Amazingly though cannabis is something that is impossible for anyone to overdose on, so even if you had eaten one to many of those yummy brownies, you aren’t every in danger of causing serious harm to yourself and this makes it safe enough to explore and experiment , so you can figure out just how high you would like to get and what is the best route for you to get there.