Edibles VS Smoking: The Major Differences You Need to Know

This first difference alone is majorly informative in choosing the right method of use for you.

Are you a first-timer who’s researching what product is right for you? Or simply curious about the differences between two of the most common ways to consume cannabis? We are happy to help!

Cannabis edibles and smokeables both accomplish the same goal, but have many differences between them. What are those differences and why are they so?

Well, let’s get started with the basics:

  • What is Cannabis?

    Cannabis is scientifically referred to as “cannabinoid drug” from the cannabis plant. Marijuana or “weed” refers to cannabis derived products that contain THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. As of right now, hemp-derived THC products are available widely in both Delta-9 and Delta-8 variations legally. (Check it out.)

  • What is an Edible?

    An edible is a form of ingestible cannabis. Typically designed in the form of a sweet treat, you can eat these snacks just like candy! But please, don’t. We’ll learn why in a second.

  • What is a “Smokeable”?

    This varitation of consuming THC includes any smoke or vapor that is being inhaled: pre-rolls (”joints”), vapes, pipes, bongs, water bottles, apples, and the occasional potato. You get the idea. (For simplicity of this article, we are calling this category “smokeables”.)

Now that we know more about what we’re dealing with, let’s learn the major differences between the two activities.

How Our Bodies Process The Cannabis

The key to understanding the difference between “smokeable” THC and edibles is understanding the way our bodies process each of them.

Smoke or vapor can process into our bodies very rapidly! The THC particles are delivered into your lungs, directly absorbed into your bloodstream, and then passes to your brain all within seconds. Due to this, you can start feeling the effects or “high” pretty early on within a few minutes of inhaling.

Edibles, however, need to first be consumed and digested in your stomach. From there, the THC will pass to your liver, where it will convert the THC into a more potent form due to “partially [metabolizing]” the compound. The THC will then need to be absorbed into your bloodstream from your liver, then travel to your brain. This process can take up to 3 hours, but averages at about 30 minutes. It may be a while until you see the effects, but be patient! (Do not consume more than one whole edible in a day)

Due to these contrasting absorption processes, the intensity of the THC is greatly affected. That brings us to our second major distinction…

Intensity and Length of High

While edibles may have a longer delay, this does not mean that there isn’t major pay off! Due to the metabolization in the liver according to the 11-Hydroxy-THC theory, the THC becomes more potent while digesting which not only leads to a more intense, full-body effect, but a longer experience with THC in your system.

Full effects of the THC can peak within 4 hours from the point of consumption of an edible and last up to 12 hours after use. Potential residual feelings (grogginess, “weed hangover”) can last up to 24 hours.

In contrast, smoking provides an almost instantaneous effect that can peak within 30 minutes. Effects can last up to 6 hours from the point of inhalation of smoke or vapor. Potential residual feelings can also last up to 24 hours.

Risk factors

There are also some risk factors to consider when choosing your method of consumption.

While smoking may be easier to manage dosage wise, it does more harm to your lungs than with edibles. It is also less discreet and less legally available in certain states.

Edibles have less negative effects on health, do not harm your lungs, and are widely available across the US. However, they are more challenging to dose and can be intense for newer users.

So, now you understand that these two methods have very different effects and shouldn’t be played around with! But, you also want to find balance in your experiences. Here is some information about dosing the two to keep in mind.


Due the delay in effects and the intensity of edibles, it is easy for unprepared users to take more than necessary creating an unpleasant experience.

For this article, we will use our own products as examples.

For anyone, but especially beginners, we always recommend starting small and starting slow. We highly recommend reviewing the THC contents (12mg, 25mg, etc) of an edible and choosing the least potent option to start with.

If you are consuming a gummy (click for a free sample), we suggest starting with 1/4 of one gummy to gauge tolerance.

If you are consuming a cereal bar treat, we recommend dividing the whole bar into four squares and then consuming 1/4 of an individual square.

Fight the urge to take more because you ”aren’t feeling anything,” you can easily consume too much and end up not having a good time!

For smoking, it’s an easier process. Beginner tip: Avoid things like dabs and bongs at first. Figure out your tolerance and go from there.

We suggest taking one small “hit” of a pre-roll/joint to gauge your tolerance. After about 30 minutes, if you wish to proceed, continue with a single additional hit at a time. Don’t rush into anything too quickly, it is still possible to become overwhelmed!

TLDR?? To summarize, here are some of our Edibles vs Smokeables pros and cons!

Pros & Cons



  • Less negative effects to lung health
  • Discreet
  • Intense
  • Delicious snacks available
  • Legal to ship


  • Long lasting
  • Easy to over-do
  • Harder to manage dose
  • Intense for beginners



  • Have a more immediate effect
  • Easier to manage dose
  • Shorter experience
  • Less intense
  • Full weed experience some people crave


  • Negative effects on lungs
  • Less discreet
  • Less availability
  • Shorter experience
  • Less intense


Are you someone who can’t stand the taste or smell of weed? Do you have certain health restrictions that limit you from smoking? Edibles will be the way to go for you, especially if you like the occasional Cereal Bar.

Maybe you don’t like sweets. You love the smell and want to feel like you’re at an outdoor concert venue every time you light up. Or you have a low tolerance and want more control over your dosage. Then, smokeables will be your friend!

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that everyone is different. Your unique preferences, circumstances, and tolerance should be kept in mind when starting (or continuing) your THC journey. If you’re new, be sure to start slow and small to gradually discover how your body responds to cannabis. If you’re interested in trying something new, we hope that this article was helpful in your search!

Interested in getting LEGAL hemp-derived cannabis edibles shipped right to your front door? Check out our shop’s website here to try out different THC products and discover your faves!