Are marijuana edibles healthier for your brain than smoked marijuana? The short answer to that question is no. Both routes of administration, eating cannabis and inhaling it, deliver the same effects and benefits. Especially when it comes to your brain; both are healthy ways to consume the plant and lead to many valuable medicinal benefits.
If you buy weed edibles online in Canada or stick with straight flower products, maybe you are curious about the different effects on your brain. Does either edible or inhaled truly matter for your brain? Not really, but these subtle differences do change the way cannabis works in your body.
But smoking and edibles are slightly different in the way they feel, the duration of the effects, and the way our bodies process the essential compounds.
So, are THC-rich edibles better than smoking marijuana on your brain function? Here are the differences.
Your Brain After You Smoke Marijuana
If you smoke cannabis, you absorb the valuable compounds through the smoke. Cannabis contains both cannabinoids and terpenes, which travel through the respiratory tract into the lungs with each and every puff.
Alveoli cells line your lungs, and these tiny cells operate as gas exchanges. As you breathe in cannabinoids, the millions of alveoli pull these from your lungs into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, cannabinoids travel to different areas of the body, including the brain.
Cannabinoids float around the central nervous system and within our brains, interacting with the endocannabinoid system. This system is a series of chemical messengers and receptors, including the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
It turns out THC mimics a naturally produced endocannabinoid. When you smoke THC-rich flowers, the THC molecule instantly binds to the CB1 receptors in our brains. These connections create some of the medicinal benefits and all of the recreational ones.
Your Brain After You Eat An Edible
But what happens in your brain if you eat weed, instead of inhaling it? After you buy weed edibles online in Canada and chow down, does this change the effects on your brain?
All the same compounds travel through your digestive tract instead of your respiratory system. It not only takes much longer, but it also changes the molecules.
Your stomach digests the edible, sending all the medicinal and nutritional compounds to the liver for processing. The liver metabolizes these compounds, turning them into something called metabolites. These similar but slightly different compounds that circulate through the bloodstream like THC.
Specifically, THC turns into THC-COOH. The high and medicinal benefits of a THC-rich edible actually come from the THC-COOH metabolite. It’s not only more powerful, but it tends to pump into the bloodstream at higher levels than if you just smoked the same amount. Essentially, that means you absorb more THC when eaten. More THC in the bloodstream will create a more powerful intoxication.
Differences Between Edibles Versus Smoking
Let’s review the differences between edibles versus inhalables on your brain. The first difference is the time it takes for the cannabinoids to travel to your brain. When you eat delicious cannabis-infused candy, THC takes about one to two hours to completely digest and end up in your brain. If you smoke marijuana instead, the onset of the high is likely under five minutes or less.
The second difference is the compound that infiltrates into your brain. If you smoke a potent THC rich flower, like Alien OG, the THC travels through the lungs, into the bloodstream and directly to the brain. THC binds to the CB1 receptors located in your brain. But when you digest cannabis, the THC goes to the liver to metabolize into THC-COOH. THC-COOH is much more potent compared to smoking.
Are Edibles or Smoking Better for Your Brain?
To be clear, if you choose to eat or inhale your medicine, both are safe routes of administration. Neither dramatically changes the end result in your brain. But is one better, healthier, or more effective for your brain?
The potential difference when it comes to brain health is if you green out. Greening out is officially known as acute marijuana intoxication. It is not deadly, and will not have long term repercussions, but it isn’t pleasant. Many people feel so uncomfortable or frightened that they end up in the emergency room.
When you have too much THC (or the metabolite) floating around in your brain at once, this can trigger acute marijuana intoxication. Greening out happens during peak intoxication and may last for several hours.
Acute marijuana intoxication rarely happens from puffing on a joint, blunt, or one-hitter. You’d have to take massive hits, and in rapid succession to reach peak intoxication from these methods. A massive bong, with a huge chamber, may trigger the onset, but only for those with little experience.
Edibles, on the other hand, are known to be problematic for the uneducated and the inexperienced. Because THC-COOH operates differently and is more powerful than THC, it can get some people in trouble. If it takes too long for the high to come on, many people choose to double-dip. But then both doses hit, and suddenly they find themselves feeling increasingly uncomfortable— they are greening out.
Edibles are the single most common reason why people end up in the emergency room from cannabis consumption. Again, this condition isn’t deadly, and it quickly dissipates, but it doesn’t feel good for the duration.
If this is a contest between edibles and smoking, edibles are technically not better for your brain if you can’t handle THC. If you buy weed edibles online in Canada, edibles could be worse for your brain, at least temporarily, if you overdo it.
How to Choose Between Smoking Weed and an Edible?
Honestly, it all comes down to personal preference. If you are new to the big wide world of cannabis, you’ll want to start with smoking for the first few sessions. Figure out how you feel with THC pumping through your system first to feel familiar with the experience. Smoking gives you smaller doses, and a more controllable experience because the high comes on almost immediately.
But then, when you are ready to buy weed edibles online in Canada, start with a low dose for the first session. If you already know and love stronger, longer highs, of course, you can start a little stronger. New to edibles? Start with five milligrams of THC. Once you know how edibles affect your brain, you can safely increase it by five milligrams at a time. Edibles have one rule: always start low and increase slowly.