The Pros And Cons Of Cannabis Edibles
7 min

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Cannabis Edibles?

7 min

If you prefer a cannabis consumption method that's less destructive to the lungs, edibles are your best bet. However, they do come with some pros and cons, each of which we'll discuss in this article. Find out if cannabis edibles are right for you, and, if so, how to go about taking them.

For those who love their cannabis but don’t want a potentially compromised pair of lungs, marijuana edibles are the way to go. This also applies to people who want to get high freely without sounding the alarm bells that come with smoking.

But as much as there are benefits to eating edibles, there are also drawbacks. Snoop Dogg, the guiding light of stoners everywhere, says no to edibles because “they ain’t got no off button”. Now that says a lot.

This isn’t to say that you should renounce edible cannabis like all other things unholy. But at the very least, you should know what you’re getting into. And this piece will cover exactly that. Below, we give a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of marijuana edibles. Hopefully, by the end of this article, your next (or first) edibles experience won’t be as traumatising as you fear it to be.

The Basics of Marijuana Edibles

The Basics of Marijuana Edibles

The main difference between edibles and smokeables is in the way cannabinoids enter your body. After consuming edibles, THC makes its way into your bloodstream through your digestive system. Because of that, it takes a while to feel its presence.

Edibles come in different shapes, sizes, and flavours. We’re all familiar with magic brownies, space cakes, and cookies, which are still the most popular forms. These days, however, you can also purchase edible cannabis in the form of gummy candies and other sweets.

And if you aren’t a fan of the sweet stuff, there are savoury options for you, such as cannabis-infused pasta sauces, salt, and coffee. And if you don’t want the high, edible CBD is also there for you to consume to your heart’s content.

Advantages of Cannabis Edibles

First, let’s talk about the upsides of eating edibles, and there are quite a few. For these reasons alone, it’s easy to see why many prefer this method of cannabis consumption.

2 advantage

Fantastic Taste and Variety

Cannabis Edibles: Fantastic Taste and Variety

This is the most obvious reason, and for many, the most significant one of all. Food is an entirely different and profound experience on its own. The emotions you get from eating a slice of cake differ vastly from what you feel when enjoying a bowl of authentic spaghetti bolognese.

The same thing goes with edible cannabis. Edibles bring much more depth in terms of flavour and variety compared to smokeables. Your taste buds won’t get the same satisfaction from a bong hit as they would from a batch of perfectly cooked hash brownies.

Add to that the countless ways to make edible cannabis. Whether you bake, blend, or infuse, the possibilities are endless!

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Oh, what a luxury it must be to be able to consume cannabis at any time, in any place. But even in places where cannabis use is legal, one can’t freely light up whenever they feel like doing so. Even vaping, the supposedly more discreet option, can’t be done in public without sounding a few alarm bells.

You obviously won’t have these problems with edibles. You can bring cannabis gummies onto a plane without alerting airport security. You can enter a cinema with a bag of cannabutter-infused popcorn without issue. You can even have grandma take a bite off your space cake without her noticing until later. But that would be downright mean.

If you plan on eating edibles in public, do keep in mind appropriate dosing. For your own sake.

2 advantage

Easier on the Lungs

Cannabis Edibles: Easier on the Lungs

Smoking tobacco is still the vilest thing you can do to your lungs. It brings no health benefit whatsoever, and is the cause of more than seven million deaths worldwide per year.

Cannabis users would argue that their method of consumption isn’t as detrimental, but that doesn’t completely absolve weed smoking. Sure, there isn’t enough evidence to link it with chronic lung disease. However, studies have found a connection between smoking marijuana and “milder” issues like wheezing, coughing, and sputum production.

But with edibles, these issues are non-existent. You can consume as much cannabis-infused coffee as you want without compromising your respiratory system in any way. And if you’re a person with lung problems, or a medical cannabis user in general, this allows you to still have your fun with marijuana.

2 advantage

Offer a Different Kind of High

In an earlier section, we mentioned how THC enters the body through a different route when ingested orally. The exact method is a bit more convoluted, and we’ll get more into that in a later section. But ultimately, after eating an edible, THC is eventually converted into an even more potent compound, 11-hydroxy-THC, which offers a different and stronger high than smoking cannabis.

In most cases, the psychotropic kick is longer-lasting, with a duration of about six to eight hours. That’s a much more significant amount of time compared to the three-hour high that smoking cannabis brings. Not only that, but the edibles experience itself can border on psychedelic.

Now, this can either be an appealing or appalling experience to go through, depending on the person. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

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2 advantage

No Lighting, Grinding, or Rolling Necessary

Cannabis Edibles: No Lighting, Grinding, or Rolling Necessary

Smoking cannabis is a ritual on its own. Although the apparatus varies depending on the preferred method, each one involves at least two steps.

Do you prefer bong hits? You’ll first need to fill the base with water, grind up some herb, and light it up. Smoking a bowl is a bit more straightforward, but you still need to perform the last two steps. And let’s not get started on rolling up a joint, which is an art and a task in itself.

Consuming cannabis, on the other hand, is a plug-and-play affair. You take a bite and watch the world go by as you wait for it to kick in. No lighting, grinding, or rolling necessary.

2 advantage

Cheap To Make at Home

Any product you buy from a retail store will cost you more. That marked-up price is the way businesses earn money from their sales.

This applies to any type of consumer good, including edible cannabis. Cookies, tinctures, and other ingestible products come at a much higher price point. If you’re tight on expenses, buying a box of space cakes for €18 may not be an appealing idea.

The good news is, you can enjoy the same edibles for a much cheaper price if you make them at home. For Zamnesia’s space cake recipe, for example, you’ll only need eight grams of top-shelf bud. The rest of the ingredients are ones you’ll find in your pantry and fridge.

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Disadvantages of Cannabis Edibles

Now, let’s take a look at the potential challenges you may encounter when it comes to cannabis edibles. For those who are apprehensive about going down this route, here are the drawbacks you’ll want to keep in mind.

1 disadvantage

Difficult To Get the Potency Right

Cannabis Edibles: Difficult To Get the Potency Right

There is a formula you can follow to estimate the amount of THC in your edibles. Take the THC percentage of your chosen strain and multiply it by 1,000 (because there are 1,000mg in one gram). From there, you get the amount of THC in milligrams.

So if you’re working with a strain with 18% THC, one gram of dried bud contains about 180mg of THC. Now, you can use this information to determine the total amount of THC in your recipe, and the approximate amount per dose.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many regulated cannabis markets only allow up to 20mg of THC per dose, so you'll probably want to stick to this cutoff.

When making edibles at home, you’ll need to make the necessary calculations to get the right amount of THC per edible, and that can be tricky as there is a lot of room for error.

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1 disadvantage

Take Longer To Kick In

Any marijuana smoker knows how quickly the high kicks in. It only takes two to ten minutes to feel a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and the sudden urge to chow down on something gravely sinful.

It’s the exact opposite experience with edibles. You won’t feel anything until around 30 minutes after consumption. For some people, it’ll take a whole hour before they start to notice any difference.

It’s all connected to what’s known as first-pass metabolism. Once it enters the body, THC makes its way through the digestive system before reaching the liver. The liver then does its job in breaking the cannabinoid down, much like it does every other substance.

With smoking, on the other hand, the smoke diffuses through the alveoli in the lungs and quickly makes its way into the bloodstream, where it can penetrate the blood–brain barrier and produce its psychotropic effects.

Here’s where some people make the rookie mistake of eating more than they should; and before they know it, they’re feeling like the entire world has been dumped on their head. And this is when the experience turns unpleasant.

1 disadvantage

Quality of Store-Bought Edibles Is Hit or Miss

Quality of Store-Bought Cannabis Edibles Is Hit or Miss

A cupcake from a bakery may seem delectable and moist at first glance. But it’s only after taking that first bite that you discover how dry and inferior it actually tastes.

The same thing goes for store-bought edibles. You’re totally oblivious about the quality of ingredients used, or whether or not they did the infusion properly. Or, you’ll open up a pack of expertly infused THC gummies, hoping to experience a taste that brings you back to childhood, only to be met with sheer disappointment.

1 disadvantage

Homemade Edibles Require Forward Planning

As we mentioned earlier, baking your own batch of edibles at home is your best bet. But that too has its downsides.

Whipping up some cannabis-infused cookies isn’t as simple as baking your classic recipe. The cannabutter, for one, requires the tedious step of decarboxylation, which will eat up some of your time, as will the infusion itself. And even if you have ready-made cannabutter to hand, there are still multiple steps that follow.

Yes, the actual act of consuming edibles is a breeze compared to rolling up a joint. But if we’re talking about the process of baking itself? Not so much. A little planning will go a long way!

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1 disadvantage

Harder To Track Intake

Cannabis Edibles: Harder To Track Intake

Edibles are an oral affair, and that goes without saying. Your taste buds are stimulated as you go through a mind and body-altering episode. Add to that the munchies you’ll eventually experience along the way.

As you try to navigate your psychotropic journey, you can easily lose track of what you ate. And if these goodies turn out to be extra tasty, you may find yourself having a little more. Then, before you know it, you’re being taken on a ride you can’t get off of for a few hours to come.

Yes, these treats come with a recommended dose; it’s even indicated on the package of store-bought edibles. But when you’re in the thick of things, it can become a bit trickier to track.

1 disadvantage

Potential Risk to Pets, Children, and Other Adults

You won’t be able to tell the difference between regular brownies and spiked ones just by looking at them. And without the knowledge that these could potentially kick you hard, you can end up overindulging.

This can turn out to be a dangerous circumstance for pets, children, and those who aren’t familiar with the high.

Doing Marijuana Edibles the Right Way

Doing Marijuana Edibles the Right Way

Just like all good things in life, cannabis edibles have their fair share of drawbacks. But if you orient yourself well, you can easily avoid the unpleasant side effects they can inflict.

It mainly comes down to proper dosing. If you’re consuming cannabis for the first time, it’s best to follow what’s indicated on the package, or to take a small bite of a homemade edible. Once you feel like you’ve got the hang of it, you can eventually ramp up your consumption.

But if you happen to need a guide to return to, you always have this list of edibles pros and cons!

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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