Are you an experienced cannabis user? A newbie? Or are you simply curious about how you can incorporate the benefits of cannabis into your life?
No matter your status, there is always something to learn when it comes to marijuana, its varied forms, and a wide variety of consumption methods.
In this article, we are going to look at the important differences between marijuana edibles and flower. These are two common methods of consumption that can yield significantly different results.
But first, let’s take a closer look at what exactly marijuana flower is as well as a definition of edibles:
What is Marijuana Flower?
Simply put, marijuana flower is another term used to describe marijuana bud.
More technically, “flower” refers to the part of the plant that reproduces. Therefore, marijuana flower or bud comes from the seed-bearing part of the female plant.
The female cannabis plant produces more cannabinoids than males and is grown separately so they do not produce seeds. This helps the plant put more energy into growing and becoming more potent but, also, seeds are a pain to separate from the bud.
So if you walk into a licensed dispensary like Tokyo Smoke and ask for marijuana flower, you’ll receive a smokable cannabis product.
What Are Cannabis Edibles?
Cannabis edibles are foods and beverages that have been infused with cannabis. Back in the day, cannabis was incorporated into drinks and the well-known “pot brownie”.
However, today’s advanced infusion methods mean that you can find a wide variety of cannabis-infused products such as baked goods, gummies, seasonings, butter, chocolates, sodas, and more!
Edibles are infused with cannabis extracts or concentrate and can contain a combination of THC and CBD or either substance on its own.
Edibles Vs. Smoking: The Differences Between Flower and Edibles
The most obvious difference between marijuana flowers and edibles is the consumption method.
Cannabis flower requires that you inhale the dried herb into your lungs while edibles rely on the digestive tract to deliver the pleasant effects of marijuana to your body.
However, there are more differences than simply digesting versus inhaling that cannabis users should be aware of:
1. THC Absorption
Although both flowers and edibles can contain THC, how your body absorbs them is vastly different.
For instance, marijuana-infused edibles feel much stronger than smoking flowers because the THC is metabolized by the liver making it more effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier and creating a more intense high.
When you inhale THC, the THC undergoes a different metabolic process and can reach the brain more quickly. For this reason, the effects of THC when smoked come on quickly but diminish faster than with edibles.
2. Ingestion vs. Inhalation
As we’ve mentioned, marijuana edibles are ingested and processed through your digestive system while smoking flower involves inhalation into your lungs.
To many people, smoking cannabis can be a harsh experience. Plus, there are some negative effects that can come from inhaling marijuana (or any substance) into your respiratory system.
Vaping is an alternative smoking method that has fewer risks than smoking a joint. If you choose to vape, make sure you are buying regulated cartridges from reputable retailers – otherwise, you could end up inhaling dangerous substances.
3. Duration and Effects
We talked about how edibles are metabolized by the liver and can cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver a more intense high. This is why it’s important to only ingest small doses of edibles and be patient while you wait for the effects to kick in.
Because edibles need to be metabolized, the pleasant psychoactive effects act slowly and usually between half an hour to two hours to kick.
The upswing of this is that the high tends to last longer – sometimes throughout the day!
Smoked cannabis, on the other hand, hits the brain more quickly and usually peaks during the first ten minutes after consumption. However, the effects then wear off during the next half an hour and dissipate completely.
As far as cannabinoids and delivery go, smoking cannabis introduces 50-60% THC into the bloodstream whereas edibles only tend to deliver between 10-20%.
Cannabis products, no matter if they are edible or smokable, affect each individual differently based on aspects such as gender, weight, health, etc.
For this reason, dosing cannabis is not a “one size fits all” situation. Knowing how much to take is a matter of personal preference related to the effects you want to achieve.
Knowing how much THC is contained in a homemade batch of edibles is difficult so it’s easy to overestimate the dose – especially because edibles have such a delay between ingestion and feeling high.
Cannabis flower, when inhaled, has instantaneous effects so it’s easier to gradually dose as needed.
5. Advertised Potency
Without meticulous testing, it’s possible that an edible’s potency does not match the label. When it comes to producing cannabis edibles, batches can vary so what you thought was simply a weak product may have just been a weak batch.
While stricter regulations for edible testing and THC content maximums are starting to come into play, there can still be a discrepancy between what is labeled on the edible and what the edible actually contains.
Marijuana flower, on the other hand, is easier to test, regulate, and label when it comes to THC content.
To be safe when it comes to consuming edibles, be sure to ease yourself into the experience by starting with smaller doses.
To Smoke or Eat? That Is the Question…
Basically, the difference between flowers and edibles comes down to whether you want to smoke a cannabis product or eat a cannabis product. You also have to take into consideration how quickly you want your high to come on and how long you want it to last.