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What’s the Difference Between Smoking Marijuana and Using an Edible?

Smoking medical marijuana vs. edibles

When it comes to smoking medical marijuana versus edibles, edibles are universally considered the healthier alternative. And although edibles are certainly less volatile on our bodies, smoking is still one of the main consumption methods for medical marijuana.

Louisiana has approved smokable cannabis flower beginning January 1, 2021, as a medical marijuana product available to patients who get approved for medical marijuana cards in Louisiana.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about smoking medical marijuana vs. edibles, and how to decide which way is right for you!

Smoking Medical Marijuana

Smoking cannabis is one of the oldest and most efficient ways to use medical marijuana. This is because smoking allows for immediate relief of symptoms and more convenience and ease of use.

You can load a bowl or roll a joint and have it completely smoked all within a fraction of the time it takes to bake an edible. And with smoking, the effects will come on immediately and begin to work effectively very quickly, while edibles take some time to activate in your body.

However, smoking does have disadvantages.

Smoking can irritate the lungs, eyes, and heart, and smoking can also influence your sense of taste and smell. Smoking cannabis can also cause a persistent cough in some users, and for patients with chronic lung or breathing issues, smoking may not be the best approach.

Additionally, smoking marijuana can produce a strong smell that lingers in the air for some time, which may be undesirable in some social situations or around non-smokers.

Eating Medical Marijuana: All About Edibles

If you're looking for an alternative to smoking medical marijuana, edibles are the way to go.

Edibles are a very popular consumption method for medical marijuana users, especially those with conditions such as lung cancer. Eating is a much healthier alternative to smoking because edibles do not contain the same carcinogens or toxic carbons from the production of smoke.

Edibles tend to be better for your lungs and respiratory system, although edibles do tend to take longer on average to activate in the body than smoking does.

How Long Before Edibles Take Effect?

In fact, edibles can sometimes take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half to activate, and once they do, the effects of edibles are often much more potent and long-lasting than smoking cannabis, so special care is required when dosing edibles.

Edibles allow you to get the same relief of symptoms as smoking, but without all the risks that come with smoking cannabis.

The Difference Between the Effects of Smoking Cannabis and Taking an Edible

However, because edibles can take such a longer time to activate in your body, it's important to start with small doses of edibles. Edible ingestion is also very different from smoking because when you eat medical marijuana, your liver processes THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is what provides a more potent high than regular THC.

In other words, smoking activates lighter effects immediately that will last for a shorter duration, while eating medical marijuana has delayed, but stronger effects that last for a much longer time.

What Kinds of Edibles Can I Buy From a Louisiana Dispensary?

The most common ways of eating medical marijuana are by consuming food products such as cookies or brownies that are infused with cannabis oil, and oral products such as tinctures (though there are infinite ways to consume cannabis).

Edibles are a great way to consume cannabis in a healthy way, but because of the potency and activation time, the downside is that it's harder to control the dosage.

It is highly recommended to start with a small dose (the smallest possible) and slowly increase over long periods of time with edibles to avoid becoming too intoxicated.

Should I Smoke Medical Marijuana or Take Edibles?

Some people prefer smoking medical marijuana because it can be easier to control the dosage, and because relief can start immediately.

Smoking allows for more accurate dosing, which is important if you are trying to avoid getting too high. The problem with smoking is that smoking anything can be dangerous to the lungs, and smoking medical marijuana is no exception to the harms of smoke production, even though cannabis does not contain the same chemicals as cigarettes for example.

Fortunately, for patients in Louisiana with medical marijuana cards, many options are available for cannabis consumption. You don’t need to choose between one or the other, if you’d like, try them all!

While some consumption methods may be considered healthier than others, patients are free to choose which products are appropriate for their condition or symptoms.

Vaporizing, edibles, smokable flower, tinctures, all cannabis products have their unique properties, benefits, and downsides, and there are plenty of alternatives for people that are unable to smoke cannabis or keep solid foods down.

And for patients who have not applied for a medical marijuana card, consult with one of our qualified medical marijuana doctors to figure out the best plan to get your medical marijuana card in Louisiana today!

Get Your Louisiana Marijuana Card


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


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