The world is finally coming around to the idea that marijuana might not be so bad after all. In fact, marijuana may just be one of the most influential therapeutic herbs of the 21st century. Plenty of research reinforces this notion. Scientists continue to unveil groundbreaking new evidence that marijuana truly is a health force to be reckoned with.
Is smoking marijuana the healthiest way to do it?
Sadly, most people are still under the impression that the only way to cash in on these health benefits is to smoke marijuana. Sure, it’s one of the fastest ways to deliver THC and other cannabinoids into your nervous system, but it’s not ideal. For starters, there’s the coughing, sore throat and stench of smoke permeating through your clothes or house. Next, there’s the social stigma around smoking cannabis and how it isn’t viewed as classy.
With all the pitfalls of smoking marijuana, you likely wouldn’t even consider bringing a joint to work and lighting up as you plug away at your daily tasks. But what about if that marijuana was in an edible form? So far, mixing marijuana into foods has been met with mixed results. This is purely due to the fact that most people have difficulty determining what ratio of ingredients is required to make the perfect mix. But many people are now taking a scientific approach to constructing their weed edibles. They carefully measure out exact amounts of marijuana based on the type of food it is being mixed into. The result is something truly magical.
When viewed in much the same way as caffeine, marijuana could make significant headway into the mainstream world of health. Rather than knocking back a morning cup of coffee, within the next decade you could find yourself sipping on a cup of marijuana tea. Or perhaps nibbling on a small marijuana protein cake as you gear-up for your next big work meeting.
Whatever the reason, it’s time to put down the joint and take up the hash cookies once more. Here are six reasons why you need to start eating marijuana, rather than smoking it.
Eating marijuana gives you a different high
Consuming marijuana, rather than smoking it, produces a different form of narcotic effect on the body. When you smoke marijuana, your body converts non-psychoactive THC, the major mind-altering component of marijuana, into delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC produces the “high” that pot smokers are so famous for — heavy-lidded, lethargic, giggling, binge-eating type of behavior.
Eating marijuana brings on a completely different kind of high, due to the fact that your body actually converts the non-psychoactive plant form of THC into a whole different variety of THC — delta-11. This, in turn, produces a different effect in both your mind and body. It’s one which many people would consider more beneficial than the effects of simply smoking a joint.
Eating marijuana makes the high last longer
If you’re looking for a longer but milder high from your marijuana bud, consuming it rather than smoking it may be just the ticket. Because smoking marijuana distributes the THC into your central nervous system via the lungs, it acts very quickly. After smoking marijuana, you might feel the high starting to come on within one to two minutes. That high will typically last anywhere between one and three hours, at which point you’ll start to feel the buzz burning off and the tiredness starting to creep in.
Not so when you eat marijuana. A person who consumes marijuana, whether by eating or drinking, may find that the high doesn’t take effect until at least one hour afterwards, sometimes as much as three hours. This time can depend on a number of factors, but in particular how full or empty that person’s stomach is. While it results in a slower response time, however, eaten marijuana can remain active in your body for as long as seven hours. The result is a much longer-lasting, more laid-back high that doesn’t send you diving for the nearest couch or bag of chips. People who use marijuana to find relief from anxiety, depression or pain may find this far more desirable than the effect created from smoking marijuana.
Eating marijuana helps you avoid that post-high crash
For many people, the post-high crash that comes after smoking marijuana is enough to discourage them from using this herb as a therapeutic drug. That crash can make you feel tired, burnt out and grumpy. It essentially means the rest of your day is a complete write-off. Because eating marijuana acts on different pathways in the body and is slower-acting, you’re less like to experience that dreaded post-high crash. This may mean that edible marijuana can be eaten in the morning or during the afternoon without ruining the rest of the day.
Eating marijuana creates a full-body effect
Smoked marijuana is distributed into your body via the lungs. While this is a faster way of achieving a THC-based high than ingesting marijuana, it doesn’t spread evenly throughout the body. According to experts, eating or drinking marijuana rather than smoking it, can help to distribute the pain-alleviating and soothing effect of THC and other cannabinoids more evenly across the body and brain. Whereas smoked marijuana appears to act primarily on the brain, consumed marijuana may be a more holistic solution.
Eating marijuana prevents throat and mouth damage
Many people are unaware of the fact that smoking marijuana can cause many of the same problems associated with heavy tobacco use. Smoking marijuana can reduce the production of saliva due to its strong effect on the nervous system, which over time can lead to the development of a condition called xerostomia. This condition, otherwise known as “dry mouth,” causes a chronic reduction of saliva in the mouth. It results in bad breath, mouth sores and tooth decay. Having a lack of saliva in the mouth can also significantly increase your likelihood of gum disease. This occurs when oral bacteria grow out of control within the confines of your mouth.
And while the THC and other active compounds in marijuana have been shown to fight many different forms of cancer, marijuana smoke may be almost as damaging as tobacco smoke to your health. Some studies have suggested that a higher rate of lung injury or cancer may result from smoking cannabis. Others suggest that there may be some acute toxic effects from marijuana smoke. Clearly, more research is needed on this subject area. But it’s safe to say that eating marijuana is probably better for your health than smoking it.
Eating marijuana uses up the “offcuts”
If you’re still set on smoking marijuana, don’t completely discount the use of edible cannabis. Making baked good and other snacks or drinks with marijuana is a great way to use up any defective buds, offcuts and other bits of this glorious herb that might otherwise go to waste. Rather than throwing out your substandard marijuana bits, why not gather them up and mix them into a delicious cookie or brownie batter?
How to safely eat marijuana
Before you race down to your nearest marijuana dispensary and start shoving great handfuls of the stuff directly into your mouth, take heed! Eating marijuana is an entirely different process to smoking, due to the fact that it takes so long for the THC to kick in. When you smoke it, the marijuana takes effect almost immediately. But edible marijuana can take as long as three hours to start influencing your body and mind (as discussed above). For that reason, a measured, empirical approach is needed to get the most out of your bag of cannabis. Here’s a few pointers on getting started, to ensure you enjoy and benefit from the experience.
Step 1: Work out your limit
The best way to determine your optimum concentration of edible marijuana is to buy manufactured or over-the-counter consumables that contain known, measured amounts of marijuana. Provided you buy these from a reputable establishment, these edibles have been carefully measured out to a calculated formula. They are designed to provide a suitable high that isn’t too excessive. Experiment with these products, noting how much marijuana is in each one, and find your optimum amount.
Step 2: Walk, don’t run!
Many people make the mistake of eating some weed cookies or brownies, waiting an hour, feeling nothing, then eating a whole lot more. They are under the impression that they haven’t consumed enough marijuana, then all of a sudden… wham! That THC high comes out of nowhere and sends them reeling. When making your own marijuana edibles, start with low doses. Be patient and wait at least a few hours before you eat any more. You can gradually increase your dosage each time until you find the sweet spot.
Step 3: Infuse your marijuana
One of the best ways to ensure your marijuana edibles are delicious and effective is to infuse a the marijuana into butter, oil or some form of other heated cooking fluid. Try warming some butter in a saucepan and mixing the marijuana into it. Then, leave it to simmer together in order to infuse the THC oils into the butter. That way, when you bake or cook with the butter, the marijuana effects will evenly distribute throughout the food.
Have you ever tried marijuana edibles? What has your experience been? Have you used marijuana purely for recreational reasons or for medicinal purposes? Let us know!
— Liivi Hess