Smoking Weed VS Ingesting Weed

Smoking Weed vs Ingesting Weed - what is the difference?

Smoking Weed vs Ingesting Weed

The use of weed for various reasons has been in existence from as far back as 2500 years ago. Smoking weed vs ingesting weed… which has been more popular?

Weed consumption is and was often for leisure or medicinal purposes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2012 4.3 million Americans fit into the criteria of dependence on marijuana whether recreationally or medically. The use of marijuana is quickly becoming a staple for many people.

With at least 26 states having legalized marijuana in one form or another, such statistics are hardly surprising. The dried seeds, flowers and stems of cannabis are smoked or ground into fine powder to be used as an ingredient is marijuana edibles. They contain the psychoactive ingredient of the drug known as THC or Delta -9- Tetrahydrocannibol which is what makes weed euphoric.

When weed is smoked or vaped, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. The THC binds to the cannabinoids receptors in the brain. The binding causes the brain to trigger the production of dopamine which makes you feel euphoric waves of pleasure.

Smoking and vaping weed get THC into one’s bloodstream faster and therefore the effects of getting high are almost immediate. Absorption of the drug when weed is topically applied or ingested is much slower.

a guide to smoking weed vs ingesting weed 101

Ingestion of weed is often preferred by those who are using marijuana medically.

Cannabis extracts have also become quite popular, mostly because of the high THC content they carry. Marijuana extracts are THC resins extracted from the cannabis plant and they include the following:

Budder – this product has a lip balm like texture and comes as a soft solid
Shatter – it comes as an amber colored hard solid
Hash oil – comes as a lightly viscous liquid

Marijuana extracts should be used with a good measure of caution due to their concentrated THC composition. Many individuals have found themselves staring at the ceiling of an emergency room in the aftermath of cannabis extracts binges.

In fact, the need for a better kick of THC has led people to extract marijuana resins at home using butane. That is particularly dangerous as the risk of explosions in such a DIY process can cause grievous harm.

How is cannabis consumed?

1. Smoking

The most popular method of weed consumption known to many is through smoking. Weed can be smoked in the form of a joint. A joint is a cigarette that’s filled with weed.

Blunts are also popular, think of a cigar filled with weed. In developed countries joint are often filled in a refined paper, while in developing countries, it is common for newspapers or brown paper to be used for wrapping a weed joint.

Historically, cannabis was consumed communally with large groups of people inhaling the smoke from burning or smoldering seeds and flowers of the plant. This practice evolved into the use of smoking purified cannabis known as hashish using pipes.
Today weed is still being smoked using various types of pipe implements such as hand pipes and water pipes (bongs). Since cannabis contains more than 500 chemical compounds vaping is now a smoking method that’s thought to deliver far less toxins into the body compared to regular smoking.

Vaping is when a smoker uses a vape pen to extract the active ingredient of weed. Vaping pens are thought to be safer because of their extraction method. They work by burning the plant material (in this case weed) at a lower than burning temperature. This eliminates the main hazardous smoke which contains carcinogenic tars and carbon monoxide. Although more scientific proof is needed, vapers are considered a better option for those using cannabis for medical reasons.

2. Ingesting

There are other ways of consuming weed including ingestion. Some people place weed under their tongue and allow it to slowly be absorbed into the body. Others prefer to mix it with their food. This works great if one’s need for cannabis consumption is medical.

For countries that have legalized the drug, the consumption has evolved to include cannabis edibles. Weed in edibles can be eaten in cake or cookies or candy. It is more common to have marijuana in baked goods than in regular cooked food. Marijuana can also be consumed in capsule form which contains hash oil or as delicious weed edibles. This enables one to easily ingested it orally or crack it open for application.

3. Drinks

One of the famous ways of ingesting marijuana is by drinking it. A popular marijuana drink known as Bhang Goli from India is made from freshly ground cannabis flowers and leaves added to water or milk. Another similar drink is bhang lassi which is made up of curd, whey and ground cannabis leaves.These drinks are common in the Indian culture even being sold on the streets in some instances.

Alcohol manufacturers are also pouring in billions in the manufacture of cannabis drinks. They are in the process of creating weed infused drinks to mirror the consumption of alcohol. On the market there are currently various sodas, coffees and teas infused with marijuana.

4. Raw marijuana

One can eat raw marijuana but not for getting high but to harness the medical properties of weed. For weed to release its euphoric effects it has to be exposed to heat so that active THC and CBD are released. The effects and benefits of raw marijuana are still unknown.

5. Baked goods

Perhaps the most popular way of ingesting weed is through baked goodies. From cafes serving cannabis brownies and chocolate cake to friends baking weed into their family recipes of chocolate chip cookies, there is no shortage of ways to infuse weed into tea time.

For people in need of marijuana for medical purposes this may be the best way to ease into the use of the drug especially if one is not a smoker. In weed dispensaries baked weed goods feature prominently because they are able to mask the heavy scent of cannabis. As the legalization of marijuana continues in many states and countries the baked marijuana infused goods industry is also continuously expanding.

Marijuana candy is an extension of baked marijuana goods and is also a blooming industry on its own. Especially during the Halloween season, grown up can indulge in their favorite marijuana candy and leave regular candy for the kids and other trick and treaters.

6. Meals

Infusing marijuana in a meal is easy and safe. Most people opt to place the flowers or leave ground into paste form into their favorite dish. Alternatively, they use cannabutter which is like regular butter only it has been infused with cannabis leaves and flowers and oil. Even gourmet chefs can be hired to prepare gourmet meals infused with cannabis.

This is a great way to consume weed for medical purposes as well.

7. Tinctures and Capsules

Tinctures are concentrated oils infused with marijuana extracted from the plant by soaking its flowers, buds, steam and leaves in alcohol for long a couple of weeks. The resulting extract is deeply infused marijuana and is extremely potent. Tinctures come in small dropper bottles which dispense the extract in drops.

Cannabis pills and capsules can be ingested easily and discreetly as well. They can be taken like vitamins with various dosages available in weed dispensaries.

Comparison of smoking weed vs ingesting weed.

A) Stigma

Baked goods have less stigma compared smoking weed. This is because they are far more discreet and will probably go unnoticed even when consumed in public. Smoking weed, on the other hand, is obvious just from the smell of cannabis. Even though weed is legal in some states and countries a whiff of the stuff could attract a police visit or stigmatization in a community.

B) Ease of use

It’s easier to dispense weed by ingestion compared to smoking it. The primary reason is because smoking weed can be hard on the lungs. A non smoker who is using wed for the first time will find it easier to eat weed than smoke it.

Plus, rolling a joint s not as easy as it seems for novice and neither is getting the hang of using a bong or other smoking pipes. However, eating baked goods infused with marijuana is easy. Preparing a meal with cannabutter is also an easy affair. In addition, the house doesn’t smell smoky like it would with smoking weed. And combustion from burning weed can release carcinogenic elements in the weed that are harmful to the smoker’s health.

C) Absorption

Smoking weed takes effect almost immediately as the active ingredients of the drug are absorbed almost in real time into the blood stream. Eating it takes longer since the body has to breakdown and digest the ingredients before they are released into the blood stream.

Proponents for smoking weed are usually wary of eating weed because they cannot predict when the effects will finally set in compared to the instant effect of smoking. There is some truth to this because of the delayed absorption of cannabis in edible goods. The euphoria can take place within minutes to a couple of hours later. If one is using marijuana for medical purposes that might be too long to wait.

D) Dosing differences

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to overdose on edible marijuana goodies compared to a joint. For example, a full bar of weed infused chocolate may have 100 milligrams of pot in it. Eating 1 out of the 10 pieces translates to ingesting 10milligrams. Chocolate is tasty and one may wolf down half to a full bar before they know it resulting in an overdose.

A full joint can contain 10milligrams of weed so smoking the entire joint is not going to put one at risk of an overdose.
Professional weed dispensaries have concurred that they have trouble quantifying the dosage of weed in their edible products compared to smoking products. Until regulations are created to ensure product dosing consistency this gives smoking the upper hand in term of correct dosages.

Advantages of smoking weed

Fast absorption

The absorption of THC into the bloodstream when weed is smoked is instant. As the cannabis combusts it releases the active euphoric ingredients which when inhaled in the smoke quickly bind to the cannabinoids receptors in the brain. The psychedelic effects then begin to manifest as hallucinations, slowing down of motion and feelings of elation.

Better dosing

When rolling a joint or using a weed vape pen one can easily determine the dosage they want to use. And the best part is that the dosage will apply to the entire joint. When smoking marijuana for medical purposes, the dispensary will sell only the required dosage according to the prescription.

Quick to administer

For seasoned users of weed there is no question that it’s faster to light up a joint than to cook it or bake it into edibles. To smoke a joint only requires one to roll and light it up. However, with edibles there is the process of mixing ingredients and cooking time.

Less expensive

A joint costs less than an edible because of the basic nature of the ingredients used: paper and dried leaves, flowers or seeds. Edibles, on the other hand can be expensive because they contain several ingredients and require some labor to create.

Advantages of eating weed

Slower absorption

This is an advantage depending on how one likes to consume their marijuana. For people who use weed as a prescription that needs to be administered at select times for depression or even pain, eating weed allows the user to ingest the weed before hand in anticipation of certain symptoms. The effects of the weed slowly creep into the system keeping consumer at a consistent level of comfort.


Eating marijuana is certainly tastier than smoking it. As part of a meal or desserts it goes down faster and is easy to consume. Smoking can be harsh on the throat and on the lungs as well.


Weed edibles are discreet and can be consumed in public without any one around becoming none the wiser. This discretion prevents many marijuana consumers from being labeled because of their use of the drug.


Like most medicines, weed has the potential to do a lot of good in the world but can equally wreak havoc when misused.

As its medical and recreational evolution continues, perhaps new ways of consuming it other than smoking and ingesting will emerge. It’s also increasingly clear that more potent strains will continue to be developed and more countries are likely to legalize the drug. Find more weed guides here.