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

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.

What is The Difference Between THCA and THC?

Imagine you own a cannabis garden, and your first batch is ready for harvesting. You started the curing and drying process carefully. And finally, you have your favorite cannabis buds in your hands. What next? You will be looking forward to taste one of them at least. And guess what? You don’t feel the high at all.

How is that even possible? You start blaming your growing process or the seeds. Well, the reason is that your raw cannabis buds contain a compound that is slightly different from your famous THC. Experts refer to this compound as THCA. So, should you go for products with THCA after your cannabis card renewal? Let’s find out.

Everything About THCA

THCA is a cannabinoid that does not cause any euphoric effects. It’s a precursor to the intoxicating component of cannabis. But, why is there a difference between them. The reason lies within the chemical structure of THCA. It has a 3D shape that does not fit into the cannabinoid receptors. The concept is similar; one needs to fit in to produce the final effects. So, how does THCA convert into THC?

Decarboxylation Process

Only a few cannabinoids out of the hundreds of them present in medical marijuana are responsible for producing the euphoric effects. And the one who is the clear leader of all is THC. People usually assume that marijuana comes with THC right from the start. Unlike what you presume, THCA is the primary cannabinoid, and it gradually becomes THC through a process called decarboxylation.

Heat removes the carboxylic acid group present in THCA and converts into an entirely different molecule, THC. Thereby, becoming the best fit for cannabinoid receptors. Hence, eventually becoming part of an ECS that runs through CNS — thus producing the “high.” The non-intoxicating THCA is the reason why raw cannabis buds can be taken as superfood or as a part of a health regimen. Here are some of the most common ways to decarboxylate cannabis and experience the “high.”

Keep Your Buds Into Sunlight For Some Time

THCA easily converts into THC if you expose your raw product into the warm sun for some time. That’s a bit slow process to transform the cannabinoids into a one with intoxicating effects.

Varying Room Temperature

You can convert THCA into THC if you store it at room temperature for an extended time. If you keep your product in olive oil, you can easily carry out the conversion of approximately 22 % THCA within ten days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you follow a similar condition, more than 60% will convert with an ethanol extraction. If you keep your buds at room temperature with little sun exposure, you will be able to convert more than 15% of THCA into THC.

Also, Read – Want to Boost Mental Health? Start Using Marijuana Today


When you light your joint, you apply a high degree of heat that rapidly converts THCA to THC. However, not every THCA turns into THC. But, you can enjoy the maximum benefits using this mode of consumption.


This is the best way to decarboxylate your nugs. You can subject the buds to heat at lower temperatures. So, cannabinoids convert and release via vaping. If you continue the heating process, you will be able to convert the maximum amount of THCA and boost your endocannabinoid system.

Concentrates/ Dabbing

You can convert THCA in a crystalline form and consume it in the form of dabs. You can perform the decarboxylation process quite rapidly using a dabbing method. It is an excellent method to re-introduce terpenes into the concentrate. It will help you improve the flavor by producing entourage effects that enhance cannabis concentrates’ health benefits.

By Heating The Nugs Using Oven

When you make edibles, you activate THCA or decarboxylate it before adding butter oil or any other medium. You need to evenly spread cannabis across a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it at 110 degrees Celsius for half an hour or a bit more; it will slowly convert THCA into THC.

Should You go For THCA or THC?

For patients looking for medical cannabis card renewal, THC might not be something they will be aiming for as a medical aid. I am sure you understand that THC produces some intoxicating effects. On the contrary, if you go for THCA, you can save yourself from euphoric effects. And as an added benefit, it provides different therapeutic effects, including dietary or nutritional benefits. The following are the primary therapeutic properties that you can expect from THCA.

Anti-inflammatory Action

A 2011 study found that THCA has some incredible anti-inflammatory effects. So, you can use THCA dominant strains to fight away any condition with inflammation issues.

Anti-proliferative Action

A 2013 study analyzed THCA’s role as a protection agent in neurodegenerative diseases. Some studies also confirm its role in preventing the spread of cancer cells in prostate cancer.

Neuroprotection Action

A 2012 study revealed that THCA acts perfectly as a neuroprotectant. It could help slow down the progression of several neurodegenerative disorders.

Antiemetic Action

THCA helps to improve your appetite and is thought to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting.


Cannabis plants contain mostly all the cannabinoids in their precursor forms, such as CBDA, CBGA, THCVA, THCA. It helps the plant to sustain for more extended periods. Otherwise, the plant will start losing its potential elements the moment you pluck it from the plant. So, if you are looking to purchase cannabis strains with a medical cannabis card renewal, make sure that you decarboxylate them before consuming. Otherwise, you won’t be able to feel the famous “high” at all.