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Are Cannabis Edibles Safer Than Smoking?

As sales of edibles are trending up, cannabis brands are emphasizing the idea that the products might offer a healthier alternative to bongs or blunts. But is it safer to eat your weed or should you keep puffing?

The question of whether cannabis is safe and effective for the treatment of many medical conditions is largely open-ended, although there is strong evidence that purified cannabis extracts (especially cannabidiol or CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis) are successful with some types of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s decease.

Cannabis may be smoked, vaped or consumed. As you say, many users are turning to edibles for both recreational and medicinal use. There are many forms of edibles, not just “gummies.”

In a recent NY Times article, a professor in the field had the following to say:

“There’s tons of nuance there,” said Ryan Vandrey, a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine who studies cannabis. “You can’t black and white say edibles are safer than smoking, or smoking is worse than vaping — there are different risks for the different routes.”

Those who use edibles vs. smoking marijuana might experience different physical side effects, psychological effects, or problematic use patterns.


In terms of physical side effects, marijuana edibles may indeed be safer than smoking marijuana. When a person smokes marijuana, they inhale combusted material, which can cause substantial lung irritation.

In contrast, marijuana edibles have a minimal set of physical side effects, except those produced by THC. The most commonly reported side effect is a sensation of nausea or stomach discomfort, which occurs in people who smoke marijuana.

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The THC content in marijuana edibles can be much higher than in smoked marijuana. Furthermore, the effects might not kick in for up to two hours, leading many stoned citizens to take more cannabis edibles and receive a much higher dose than expected. 

In contrast, smoking cannabis kicks in almost instantly. people who smoke marijuana often have better control of their dose since they feel the effects straight away.


Neither type of marijuana use is without risks and too much of anything can drive one crazy, so be safe out there. Take it slow and enjoy the ride!

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