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Inhale or Ingest? What is The Best Way To Use Cannabis?

Medical Marijuana Card San Bernardino

Cannabis can be your boon or bane. While it can regulate depressing thoughts, it can also hinder physical activity. Reason? There are several. From correct dosage to user’s genetics.

But, I’m here to brief you on one of the basic factors. Way of consumption. Specifically, inhalation and ingestion.

Cannabis shook the world of medicine with its miraculous effects. Its psychoactive character helped patients suffering from mental and physical disabilities. And continues to be a salvation for many. It is even legally accessible in the U.S. with a medical cannabis card.

However, deriving remedial benefits from cannabis can be dependent on the way it is consumed. Now you may ask, how does it matter? Well, it matters in terms of effects. While both smoking and ingesting work by affecting the brain. They can vary in some aspects.

Want to know which method will work best for you?

Here are some points to help you find out.

How do they work?

Whether you inhale or ingest, it will eventually reach your brain. The difference lies in the process.

Both methods of consumption are known to have varying onset time. If smoking works within 2-3 minutes, ingesting cannabis may take up to 2 hours to show effects. This is mainly because of their different absorption processes.

Let me explain briefly.

Inhaled cannabis enters your respiratory system as THC and then passes to your heart. After it is pumped into the bloodstream, it easily reaches brain receptors to give out a psychoactive effect.

When you ingest edibles, this process begins by entering the stomach to reach the liver before entering your bloodstream.

Simply put, as the steps increase, onset time increases.


For instant effects, smoking cannabis is the way to go. Along with a fast onset time, psychoactive effects can reach its height within 30 minutes. That is pretty quick.

But, the effects of cannabis can deplete just as fast. Within 6 hours to be exact.

Edibles, however, can last longer in your system. This is because of the absorption process we talked of earlier. Just like every other edible substance, cannabis is broken up by your liver into simpler compounds for easier absorption. Specifically, 11-hydroxy-THC. It is much stronger than THC. As a result, effects are longer and sometimes, even stronger than inhaled cannabis.


If you are a medical cannabis user, you must have heard about ‘going slow and small’. That is because knowing the correct dose of cannabis is important. Since it is something you will have to figure out. It is advised to start slow.
Now, with inhaled cannabis, it is much easier to go small as the results are faster. But with edibles, it may get a little risky. First, it is very difficult to determine the THC content of edibles. Especially of the ones that are homemade. Second, its unpredictable onset can tempt first time users to consume more than necessary and end up overdosing.


When you light up a joint, cannabis is activated to release THC. But, it’s not just THC that you inhale. Ammonia, tar, hydrogen cyanide are some other chemicals that go down your respiratory tract. According to a study, smoking cannabis for a long term can be riskier than tobacco.

This is not the case with edible cannabis. Since combustion is not involved, you wouldn’t have to worry about inhaling any sort of harmful substances.

Time for you to decide

With the use of cannabis to alleviate symptoms of several disabilities. You can find a plethora of ways to get its benefits. Smoking and ingesting are the most common means of consumption.

But remember, each method has its pros and cons. While one way may work for you others may not. Onset time and duration of effect are important, but you must keep a check on the THC concentration of your medical cannabis type.

If cannabis provides you relief from any medical symptoms, get a medical cannabis card to easily and legally benefit from cannabis. Once you are done, follow the pointers to decide your way of intake.