Did you know that even though consuming or inhaling marijuana can provide many of the same effects, there are still some notable differences between edibles and “smokables”? Many people who are new to cannabis tend to assume that they lead to the exact same effects, so the experience they have may not be exactly what they expected.

So, let’s take a closer look at what is going on when marijuana is eaten or when it is smoked.

The Marijuana “High”

Whether you eat it or inhale it, marijuana is still marijuana, and that means either method will lead to experiencing the same feelings of relaxation and euphoria that are most often associated with “getting high.”

This “high” that you experience comes from a chemical found in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short.

The TCH enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the brain, activating the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. This connection is what causes the desired effect, and it will happen whether you consume or smoke marijuana.

Marijuana Edibles vs. Smoking a Joint

While any form of marijuana that enters the body contains TCH – which is responsible for altering the goings on in the brain – there are differences between cannabis that is eaten versus a marijuana joint that is smoked.

These differences include the drug’s potency, longevity of the effect, and how long it takes to start feeling the effects. We should also note that how you consume marijuana may impact how easy it is to gauge the dosage that you’re getting. Let’s take a closer look at these elements.


The first thing you may notice is that less marijuana is used in edibles than in joints, yet the effects are actually stronger in edibles.

In states where marijuana is legal, they often limit the quantities of marijuana that can be present in edibles because of the increased potency.

So, to get into this a little more, the marijuana in edibles is absorbed differently by the body than when it is smoked.

It all goes back to the TCH compound. When you consume marijuana, the TCH will be metabolized in the liver. When that happens, it changes the TCH into 11-hydroxy-TCH.

We don’t want to get into too many acronyms and science talk, so all really need to know is that this new compound can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, resulting in a more intense “high.” However, since it takes time to metabolize, the effect comes on much slower.

On the other hand, the TCH from smoked marijuana goes straight to the brain, giving a more immediate “high” that doesn’t last as long.

Gauging Your Dosage

Inhaled marijuana produces an almost instant effect, which means it’s usually easier to keep dosages in check. With edibles, however, the sensation comes on a little slower, so it’s important to know exactly how much you’re getting to avoid over-consumption when you don’t feel anything immediately.

In general, edibles are typically limited to around 10 milligrams of TCH, which inputs only 10-20 percent of TCH into the bloodstream. In contrast, smoking marijuana introduces 50-60 percent of TCH into the bloodstream.

So, what this is all getting at is a simple recommendation. If you are new to marijuana edibles, start with low doses until you’re more accustomed to how your body processes it. This way, you’ll know how long it usually takes to start feeling its effects.

Other Edible Effects

Some edibles rely on cannabidiol, or CBD, instead of TCH to produce the desired effect. CBD can help people feel the same relaxing effect and pain relief as TCH, but it doesn’t get the user “high.”

Whether you’re new to marijuana or are looking for additional ways to enjoy it, Tops Cannabis has numerous types and forms of fine, pure marijuana that can be delivered right to your door.

We are a premier Southern California marijuana dispensary and offer a wide range of marijuana products including edibles, pre-rolled joints, topicals, extracts and wax.

If you’re ready to give us a try, sign up or contact us at (844) 420-TOPS today.