August 17, 2021
With Canada’s legalization of cannabis products, many people are looking to try it out for the first time, and that leads to questions about how to consume it. It’s important to use cannabis responsibly and understand the effects and differences between edible products and inhalation. Each method has its pros and cons and affects the body differently, so a first-timer must understand the implications of the products they’re trying.
Your local Co-op Cannabis store staff can help you with advice from experienced experts. Naturally if you have more serious questions, you should consult your physician.
Cannabis Consumption: Eating or Ingesting Cannabis
Edible cannabis products are consumed by eating them. They come as different types of food products, and cookies, chocolate, and gummies are among the most popular. Cannabis is also available in capsule form as well as in oil form.
Edible cannabis isn’t simply ingesting the flower of a cannabis plant. For the cannabis to take effect, it must either be heated by flame or slowly heated through a process called decarboxylation. The latter is the method used to make edibles, and that’s how the THC from cannabis flowers gets into the edibles; it’s not simply a matter of grinding up some cannabis buds and stirring them into a recipe.
Effects of Edibles
Edibles generally take between 30 minutes to two hours to take effect, and the high can last between three and twelve hours. The effect time is a crucial point, as first-timers may not feel the effect right away and could be tempted to consume more edibles, thinking it’s not impacting them. This could lead to a potentially uncomfortable experience when the edibles finally do kick in.
Cannabis Consumption: Inhaling via Combustion and Vaporization
Combustion is the most common method and involves burning cannabis with a heat source and inhaling the smoke into your lungs. You can inhale cannabis through a joint (cannabis cigarette), bong, or any kind of pipe. A dry-herb vaporizer can also be used for inhalation which lessens the burning effect.
Dry herb-vaporization differs from combustion in that it heats the cannabis below the point of combustion, which increases the number of cannabis compounds that are activated, rather than burning off many of them as combustion can do.
The effect is almost immediate and can last from 45 minutes to two hours, though timing can vary from person to person.
How Inhaled Cannabis Affects Your Body
The main difference between edibles and combustion is how quickly it takes effect (onset) and how long it lasts (duration).
With inhalation, the cannabis smoke moves into your lungs, where it is absorbed into your bloodstream. The effect happens almost immediately and lasts a shorter time than an edible product.
An edible product is ingested into your stomach, and the THC will be broken down by your liver and absorbed into the bloodstream, which can lead to a more potent dosage. It generally lasts a lot longer than inhalation, and once you’ve consumed the product, there’s no turning back.
With that in mind, the cannabis newcomer might be wise to try an inhaled product first. That allows for a quicker end to the experience if it’s not a pleasant one.
Consuming For the First Time
First-timers looking for a simple introduction to cannabis can purchase a “pre-roll,” a cannabis cigarette that has been prepared beforehand. It removes the process of grinding and rolling your own cannabis, and you won’t need other equipment like a grinder or a bong to use it.
You’ll want to talk to the Co-op experts at the store; they can determine whether you’re looking for something specific in terms of effects.
Cannabis comes in many levels of THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), and they’ll explain to you what effect the different levels may have on you.
In general, THC is responsible for that “high” that people feel when consuming cannabis. At the same time, it’s believed that CBD is the aspect of cannabis that can aid in relaxation.
Cannabis has a wide range of potency and purpose, and the first-timer would be well advised to talk to their Co-op in-store experts to find out which products will be best for them. They can answer questions about how best to prepare and consume the products and have helpful advice about various strains and types of cannabis products.
Please Note: Health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health advice. This general information is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Any information, advice, or suggestions given by Calgary Co-op staff is not a replacement for medical advice from your Doctor, Dentist, or professional Practitioner. Consult with your healthcare professional with any questions you may have.