Almost everyone’s first experiences with consuming cannabis involve smoking. While that will always be the most common method of consumption, edibles are continuing to gain popularity. This is due to their ease of use, potency and the fact that they bypass the lungs. For consumers and patients with asthma or other respiratory issues this is a huge benefit! The highs from edibles typically hit a little harder and last longer too, although this is very dependent on every individual’s unique endocannabinoid system.
The key difference between inhaling cannabis versus ingesting it in food is how quickly it’s absorbed by the body. When smoking or dabbing, the smoke or vapor enters your body through the lungs and then goes directly into the bloodstream. This process allows cannabis to reach your brain and produce its psychoactive effects quickly!
Meanwhile when eating an edible, cannabis is digested at the same rate as the food that it’s infused into. The key part of it passing through the digestive system is when cannabis gets processed by the liver; as this happens the liver breaks down THC to become more bioavailable. This bioavailability allows THC to pass through an important cell membrane in the brain known as the blood-brain barrier, and passing through it is likely why edibles’ effects tend to be so potent and long-lasting. The process of THC becoming more bioavailable is unique to the liver though and doesn’t occur when inhaling cannabis. Due to its influence on the body processing edibles, if your liver is damaged then edibles have the potential to be less effective for you.