Tetradhydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the chemical that causes the high that people affiliate with marijuana. THC is a psychoactive drug and it activates the cannabinoid receptors in one’s brain. There are several ways in which someone can consume marijuana, some ways being: smoking via joint, from a vaporizer, cooked into food or eaten via edibles, or some sort of topical administration. The way that it affects a person is by eventually getting into the bloodstream and impacting the brain of the person.
Something most users don’t realize is that the effects of THC changed based on the method of consumption. Smoking and edibles have generally been the two most common methods. These methods work in different ways and affect a person differently.
THC affects every person differently but the following effects are what are seen generally. Smoking marijuana via a joint or bong allows for the THC to enter the lungs and access the alveoli and since there are millions of them, this allows for THC to easily access the body. You feel the effects faster when smoking then when taking an edible but the effects tend to be “more potent and will last for a shorter period of time,” when the marijuana is smoked.
When a person takes a THC edible, it is usually in the form of a candy or baked good, meaning that the THC is infused in butter or oil. Because of this, the potency greatly varies in edibles and it’s hard to know how much a person is taking per amount of edible. Once taken, the THC is absorbed into the blood via the stomach and liver. This takes about 30 to 90 minutes to reach the brain and the effects last much longer, even between 4 to 6 hours after consumption. Likewise, since the THC is going through the liver, it can alter it and make it have a greater sedative effect.
All in all, how long the effects last, their potency, and some health risks differ based on if a person smokes marijuana versus taking an edible.