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Smoking cannabis versus edibles: Is one better for the brain?

Tom Gaffey 7-9 minutes 11/11/2022

Smoking cannabis versus edibles: Is one better for the brain?

Each way of consumption has a high that kicks in a little differently and comes with its own set of pluses and minuses

Nov 11, 2022  •  22 hours ago  •  3 minute read  •  Join the conversation
With smoking weed, it is much easier to control dosage and prevent overdoing it. /
With smoking weed, it is much easier to control dosage and prevent overdoing it. / Photo by José Antonio Luque Olmedo /Getty Images

Everyone who enjoys cannabis has their preferred method of consumption, from vaping to eating, drinking and even good old-fashioned smoking.

Each way of consumption has a high that kicks in a little differently and comes with its own unique set of pluses and minuses.

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While many of the pros and cons associated with how a person consumes weed are minor, others are a bit more substantial.

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In fact, the way in which marijuana is consumed can even affect how healthy (or unhealthy) the substance is for one’s body — even the brain. After all, all the organs that interact with THC eventually lead to the brain in one way or another.

When it comes to eating or smoking weed, which is better for brain health?

Why smoking weed is both better and worse for one’s brain

People prefer smoking instead of eating cannabis for many reasons, but one of the main ones is the speed in which weed hits when smoking versus eating.

As The Fresh Toast previously reported, smoking weed kicks in much faster than edibles. This not only allows a consumer to get high quicker (often the goal), but it also prevents the user from consuming too much THC at once.

It is much easier to control dosage and prevent overdoing it, which is great since overdoing it can have negative effects on the brain, including memory issues and paranoia.

Smoking cannabis, however, can do some real damage to a user’s lungs since cannabis can cause all sorts of lung issues over time. While these issues might seem bad enough to steer a prospective smoker towards a different consumption method, there is also evidence that suggests poor lung health can even affect the brain.

According to the book An Overview and Management of Multiple Chronic Conditions, “Lung disease and impaired lung function were associated with greater risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment through both Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular aetiologies.”

While it might be easier to dose and get high quickly, the potentially compounding health issues with consistently smoking cannabis might be why many consumers prefer to eat their THC.

Edibles are smoke-free, but carry their own brain baggage

Perhaps the biggest and most obvious brain and health plus of eating one’s marijuana is that there’s no inhaled smoke involved. By ingesting THC, a consumer removes many of the potentially negative health effects that can damage the lungs and, in turn, even the brain.

While this is great news for the lungs, consuming edibles comes with its own set of health risk factors that can mess with a consumer’s brain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “edibles, or food and drink products infused with marijuana, have some different risks than smoked marijuana, including a greater risk of poisoning.”

The reason for this, the information notes, is that because it can take up to two hours to kick in, novice users may consume more and more edibles, resulting in potentially dangerous overconsumption. While cannabis overdoses (also known as acute cannabinoid overdose) are not a common symptom when consuming cannabis, and reported to not be directly life threatening, they can have negative brain effects.

Per Healthline, “The combination of the highly variable THC concentration and the long latency period of edible cannabis products makes them very easy to unintentionally overconsume, which can lead to unwanted symptoms, such as paranoia and impaired motor ability.”

Paranoia and other mental issues are never good for the mental state or brain health, not to mention they completely ruin any chance of enjoying the marijuana experience.

In the end, careful consumption, regardless of how cannabis is consumed, is best for the brain and body as a whole. Reducing the smoke that’s inhaled, as well as controlling dosage, are both ways to ensure a user’s body and brain enjoy the benefits of weed without the potential downsides.

The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with feedback and story tips at thegrowthop@postmedia.com

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