Edibles have been experiencing something of a PR crisis ever since the New York Times reported that cannabis edibles were being linked to a growing number of ER visits in Colorado.
While there does seem to be some indication that ingesting too many edibles can cause health complications, in the same way drinking too much alcohol can do damage (if you funnelled a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels, you’d probably need an ER visit, too), much of it can be attributed to users eating a very high dose or, growing impatient and eating too many edibles in an effort to get high quickly.
It should also be said that there is some evidence that smoking does offer certain advantages over edibles. For example, smoking seems to be more effective at addressing insomnia. The ruling hypothesis is because smoking is much more fast acting than edibles (again, another instance of the slow-acting nature of edibles as a negative).
So, eating too many edibles? Sure, bad. Having to wait a while to get high? Also, not ideal.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some significant benefits to ingesting cannabis rather than smoking it.
1. You can control your dose
Like other food items, edibles clearly label their chemical make up per serving. In this case, THC content per serving is clearly identified so that you can more precisely control your high.
2. Convenience and clean up
Assuming you’re using packaged edibles and not making your own edibles, there’s far less mess and hassle. No grinding. No shake on kitchen table. No rolling. No ashes. No smokey rooms. No bong water. No dirty pipes. No forgetting to charge your vape pen.
You just eat a cookie. Life is great.
3. There’s no smoke
We’ve all heard that cannabis works to reduce nausea and help induce appetite. That’s not just hearsay.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), found that stimulating the endocannabinoid system was incredibly effective in regulating nausea and vomiting — even in response to chemotherapy.
However, some sufferers find that smelling and breathing in smoke only worsens their symptoms, leaving edibles as the workable alternative.
4. You avoid damaging your lungs
You may be surprised to learn that inhaling hot smoke into your lungs is bad. And usually, smoking cannabis is particularly bad.
This is because cannabis smokers tend to inhale more deeply into their lungs (and hold it there). As a result, they wind up with four times as much tar than people who smoke cigarettes.
Yeah, burning cannabis flowers creates tar — in your lungs.
However, when eating cannabis, it doesn’t introduce any harmful carcinogens into your lungs. You know, because it’s not on fire.
5. You can get nutrition from the cannabis flower
Yeah, cannabis has some actual nutritional value. After all, it is a leafy green plant.
Raw cannabis leaves are actually a great source of certain vitamins, minerals and fiber. Raw cannabis is actually high (insert dad joke here) in:
- Vitamin K (essential for blood clotting)
- Vitamin C (essential for immune systems)
- Iron (essential for blood oxygenation)
- Calcium (essential for bones)
- Folate (essential for DNA repair)
Now granted, that’s just the raw leaves and like other plants, some of this nutrition can be lost when cooked.
However, cannabis, whether raw or cooked, is still chock-full of antioxidants. So either way, there are nutritional benefits over smoking.
6. A longer, stronger high
While it’s true that smoking cannabis gives you a much quicker high, it’s also much shorter lived. This means you have to continuously dose throughout the day if you’re using cannabis for medicinal purposes or your parents are visiting.
Beyond time-consuming, it’s not exactly the cheapest way to go either.
However, when you eat cannabis, it gets metabolized by your liver first. This turns it into a completely different kind of THC than you get when you smoke it.
This new THC, 11-OH-THC (sounds sexy, right?), is actually more potent than regular THC (Delta-9THC). That translates to a more intense and longer-lasting high.
They should have called it 11-OH-MG.
7. It’s better for pain relief
That longer, stronger high mentioned above means that edibles are ultimately much more effective against chronic pain.
For example, edibles have been shown to provide significant relief to patients suffering from Crohn’s disease. In addition to the more potent, longer lasting effects, cannabinoids go straight to your gastrointestinal tract when they take effect — and that’s where Crohn’s disease is present.
True, because of their delayed fuse, edibles do offer less immediate pain relief. Ninety minutes can be a long time to wait when you’re in pain.
However, if you anticipate pain from things like menstrual cramps or chemotherapy, then edibles present a much smarter alternative.