FEB 19, 2020 3:32 PM PST

Is it Better to Eat or Smoke Cannabis?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Smoking is well-known as a bad health habit. Although not necessarily as detrimental as smoking cigarettes, smoking cannabis is nevertheless  known to cause respiratory inflammation, a precursor for more serious lung defects. This in mind, could eating cannabis products be better than smoking it? 

As marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, research looking into both its potential benefits and downfalls  is limited. This makes it difficult to know how exactly smoking affects our health. That said, according to the American Lung Association, it nevertheless damages the lungs’ first line of defense against infections by killing cells that remove dust and bacteria from air intake while causing more mucus to gather. In doing so, it also suppresses the immune system, potentially leading to a higher risk of lower respiratory tract infections. 

Research has also shown that marijuana users who are HIV positive may be at a heightened risk of opportunistic infections, although smoking the substance does not seem to affect numbers of white blood cells, nor accelerate the progression of the condition into AIDS. Alongside this risk, smoking marijuana has also been associated with a suite of other symptoms common among those who smoke other substances such as coughing, chronic bronchitis, and wheezing. 

But what about eating cannabis? Consuming cannabis as an edible is a way to enjoy the substance’s effects without the negative byproducts of smoking. Needing to be heated in order to have its chemical compounds activated, an array of edible cannabis products are available including brownies, candies, cookies, tea, gummies and even coffee creamer. 

Although perhaps a healthier way to consume cannabis, its effects may be difficult to predict- both in intensity and in time duration. For example, it can take up to 2 hours to feel the effects of ingested marijuana, and up to 3 hours for its full effects to materialize. Moreover, eating it may cause it to linger in the system for far longer than by smoking- often up to 6-8 hours. This makes dosing difficult to calculate, meaning that few guidelines are available to inform people how much to take for their desired result. Thus, to understand individual dosing, people are simply recommended to dose themselves by eating it slowly and observing effects. 


Sources: Healthline, Inverse and American Lung Association

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
MAR 27, 2020
Health & Medicine
Possible Link Between Marijuana Use and Heart Health
MAR 27, 2020
Possible Link Between Marijuana Use and Heart Health
Research presented in a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that 2. ...
APR 15, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Marijuana May or May Not Actually Help with Pain
APR 15, 2020
Marijuana May or May Not Actually Help with Pain
Cannabis use is often associated with pain relief, but a recent study of medical marijuana use suggests that scientists ...
APR 21, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Is CBD Effective Against Women's Health Issues?
APR 21, 2020
Is CBD Effective Against Women's Health Issues?
Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are increasingly known as a natural and effective way to handle a wide range of wo ...
MAY 28, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis-Free CBD More Effective than Regular CBD
MAY 28, 2020
Cannabis-Free CBD More Effective than Regular CBD
Commonly known to come from the cannabis plant or hemp, cannabidiol (CBD) can also be found in a range of other plants. ...
JUN 18, 2020
Health & Medicine
People Taking Medicinal Cannabis Report Greater Well-Being
JUN 18, 2020
People Taking Medicinal Cannabis Report Greater Well-Being
Legalization of medicinal cannabis is now fairly widespread, yet there's been a paucity of data collected on patient exp ...
JUL 08, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
CBD Helps Dogs With Osteoarthritis Stay More Active
JUL 08, 2020
CBD Helps Dogs With Osteoarthritis Stay More Active
It’s estimated that up to a fifth of dogs above the age of one are afflicted with osteoarthritis, which causes inf ...
Loading Comments...