Edible marijuana includes any type of CBD, THC food, or drinks you can ingest. You can make medical cannabis edibles at home and gummies, candies, brownies, and other edible cannabis products at dispensaries in legal states. Ingesting edibles takes longer to kick in, but they produce a relaxing body high that is helpful for many people.

If you enjoy cannabis smoke but seek other ways to consume it, edibles may provide that path. Let’s go over the basics of marijuana together and weigh the pros and cons of marijuana edibles and inhaled THC.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana and cannabis plants are often thought to be the same thing; however, the two terms are not exactly interchangeable. Cannabis refers to the broader plant species and can encompass all products made from Cannabis sativa. There are about 170 different cannabis species, including marijuana plants and hemp.

Often referred to as pot or weed, marijuana is explicitly referring to the products made from dried flowers or buds of the plant. It can include flowers, stems, and leaves. The main psychoactive compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It also contains CBD, while hemp contains no THC and only CBD.

Types of Cannabis

The cannabis plant has two significant strains: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These names, of course, give rise to the strains of Sativa and indica that many people enjoy and can find at any cannabis dispensary. While these two kinds of plants are both members of the cannabis family, they have some differences in appearance and chemical composition.

There is another kind of cannabis plant known as Cannabis ruderalis; however, this plant is not considered cannabis but rather hemp. This is because hemp does not produce high amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that brings on a high when consumed. Instead, the hemp plant is high in another cannabinoid known as CBD, which is non-psychoactive and does not produce a high.

On the other hand, the indica and Sativa plants tend to produce very high amounts of THC, which is one of the reasons they are so widely cultivated. It is crucial to remember that both indica and Sativa plants have countless more strains that all have unique properties.

Federal Laws on Consuming Cannabis

The 2018 United States Farm Bill describes hemp as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC. Hemp oil or CBD oil are products manufactured from extracts of industrial hemp.

In contrast, hemp seed oil is an edible fatty oil that is essentially cannabinoid-free. Some products contain other botanical extracts or non-prescription analgesics and are available as oral and topical tinctures.

According to medical marijuana laws, hemp products containing less than 0.3% of delta-9-THC are not scheduled or considered an illegal drug and can be considered Farm Bill compliant.

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use. Today, nineteen states plus the District of Columbia allow people to purchase medical marijuana for specific medical conditions.

Several other states are expected to consider legalizing marijuana in the upcoming years. There has been significant support for legalizing marijuana in recent years.

Recreational vs. Medical Marijuana

In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize weed for recreational cannabis users. In 2017, California became the most significant state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Currently, 18 states where recreational marijuana is legal at a state level and 36 states (as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have approved comprehensive medical marijuana programs. 

Cannabis for Medical Benefits

Marijuana is a drug that has been used for centuries. The first recorded use of marijuana as a medication was in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. Marijuana was also used as an anesthetic during surgery in Europe and the United States during the 1800s and early 1900s.

Today marijuana is sold as a pain reliever and an alternative to dangerous prescription medications like opioids. Marijuana has been used in various medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, and muscle spasms. Marijuana is also effective in treating symptoms caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Marijuana has many potential medical uses, including:

  • It effectively reduces pain, nausea, and vomiting associated with cancer and other illnesses. 
  • It may also be used to manage mental illnesses such as PTSD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. 
  • Marijuana has also been shown to reduce intraocular pressure in the eyes of people with glaucoma. It may cause the pupil to constrict, reducing the pressure inside the eye.
  • Seizure management, particularly from epilepsy. 
  • Diseases such as Crohn’s disease, HIV/Aids, Multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. 

Marijuana is most commonly used for recreational purposes. People enjoy smoking or ingesting marijuana for its psychoactive effects, including euphoria and a sense of relaxation.

However, the use of marijuana as a medicine is still hotly debated, with some states legalizing it for medical purposes. In contrast, others restrict all use as a comprehensive drug abuse prevention method.

Potential Adverse Risks

Edibles and smoking weed carries similar risks as other THC cannabis oil. The potential dangers of medical marijuana include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry or Red eyes
  • Slowed cognitive function
  • Extreme fatigue

Marijuana for medical use does not produce any known severe side effects. Some people fear it might cause too intense of a high, and others have reservations about its legality, considering that marijuana is federally illegal in the United States. It’s crucial to brush up on local laws and choose a high-quality product for pain relief.

If you are on coagulants or blood thinners, you may want to remain cautious with edibles because THC can significantly slow down blood clotting. Remember to discuss using medical marijuana for migraine prevention with your primary care physician, especially if you are scheduled for an upcoming surgery or procedure.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — published by the American Psychiatric Association — the following criteria are indicative of potential marijuana abuse:

  • Prolonged marijuana use despite physical or psychological distress
  • Prolonged marijuana use despite social or relationship problems
  • Marijuana cravings
  • Difficulty controlling or reducing cannabis use
  • Prioritizing cannabis in favor of other activities
  • Causing harm at work, school, and home as a result of marijuana use
  • Marijuana use dominates one’s daily schedule
  • Risky behaviors during/after marijuana use
  • Using more cannabis than is typical
  • Cannabis tolerance
  • Cannabis withdrawal symptoms such as emotional distress or severe agitation (irritability/anger/depression), difficulty sleeping, and decreased appetite

Are Edibles or Smoking a Better Option for Long-Term Storage?

When it comes to long-term storage, many prefer to freeze edibles for storage rather than relying on traditional smoking methods. Freezing edibles can help preserve their potency and flavor, making them a better option for extended storage. This method also allows for convenient and discreet consumption when needed.

Consumption Methods

The market is vast among cannabis products, from medical-grade buds and tinctures to recreational vape pens and dabbing. You can consume cannabis in many other forms and can also be vaped, eaten, applied orally, and even used topically.

Baked goods, candies, cannabis-infused oils, beverages, savory snacks, candies, and gummies, there are many different choices for cannabinoids.

These tiny chemical compounds called THC and CBD have many more benefits than most people know. Purchasing marijuana from a reputable dispensary is always essential, along with deciding on consuming edibles or smoking marijuana as your preferred method.

Pros of Cannabis Edibles

  • Eating edibles is more discreet than smoking weed, which you can use in public
  • It’s easier to travel, especially on a plane, with cannabis in edible form
  • The effects are more intense and last longer
  • Relatively easy to make at home
  • They come in many different forms
  • Healthier on the body than smoking marijuana

Cons of Edibles

  • Takes longer to feel the effects
  • Can be hard to take the correct dosage
  • Edibles can be much different from brand to brand, product to product

Pros of Smoking Cannabis

  • When you smoke cannabis, the THC levels in the body will decline faster than if you ingest it. Edibles take longer to metabolize and leave your digestive system, which means they may show up longer on drug tests
  • You can feel the effects faster when smoking weed than with edibles
  • Vaping can be an easy way to feel quick effects without too much smell

Cons of Smoking or Vaping Cannabis

  • Can be worse on the lungs due to smoke inhalation
  • Smelly, definitely not discreet especially in flower form

Final Thoughts on Cannabis Consumption

Learning what types of cannabis and consumption methods will work best for you is a process. What is suitable for one person may not be great for another. There are so many products, and options to choose from it can be overwhelming.

Cannabis interacts differently in everyone, so start with a little bit and increase the amount until you get the effects that feel good. Always make sure to read product labels for dosage recommendations.

Ingesting or taking cannabis sublingually will cause a more prolonged, intense feeling while smoking or vaping will have faster yet shorter effects. Keep this in mind as you learn more about how your body responds to different products and strains of cannabis.

Leafy Mate is a resource that can help with finding licensed and reputable dispensaries in your area, deals on cannabis products, and connecting you with medical doctors. Let us help make this process easier and more beneficial for you!

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