4 Differences between Vaping Cannabis and Cannabis Edibles

Posted 6 years ago by Ian Shutts

One mistake that many newbies to medical cannabis make is to think that vaping is similar to ingesting cannabis-infused edibles. Yes, you get the same medicinal effects, but there are actually big differences between the two. Knowing these differences is important. It just might save you from some unwanted side effects, which, if you’re a first-time user, can turn you off of this beneficial plant.

So before you choose between these methods, know their differences first so you can make an informed decision. Remember; your health is important and making the right decision is the first step in taking active control of your health.

Mode of Cannabinoid Delivery

The mode of cannabinoid delivery in vaping is inhalation. You take a puff on your vape pen and inhale it. The cannabinoids will go directly into your lungs and your bloodstream.

In cannabis edibles, the cannabinoids won’t go directly into your bloodstream. Instead, they will first have to pass through several organs like your stomach, intestines, and liver where they will be broken down into their smaller forms called metabolites. Metabolites are formed when your body processed something you have eaten. Once your digestive system processed the cannabis edibles, they will then be filtered by the liver before they go into your bloodstream.

Potency and Effects

The cannabinoids are potent enough that, when you inhale them through vaping, you immediately feel their effects.

This isn’t the case though with cannabis edibles. In their metabolite form, they become even more potent so the effects are stronger when it hits you. You won’t immediately feel their effects, too, since the cannabinoids have to pass through the stomach and the liver.

Duration of Effects

As mentioned earlier, you’ll immediately feel the effects of vaping cannabis, sometimes even less than five minutes. But the duration of these effects are shorter though and can last anywhere from three to four hours. The effects will gradually fade away as your body flushes them out.

Vaping cannabis is best for acute symptoms. The fast delivery of effects can quickly control your symptoms.

The effects of cannabis edibles kick in a little slower than vaping. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, but this is dependent on the person’s body weight, type, and metabolism. Those who have a faster metabolism and are thinner and shorter can feel the effects sooner than those who have a slower metabolism and are heavier and taller.

The duration of effects typically lasts longer, too, when you ingest cannabis edibles. This is due to the potency of the cannabinoids’ metabolites. They produce a “higher high” and typically stay longer in the bloodstream before they’re flushed out by the body.

Because the effects of cannabis edibles last longer, they can be used for chronic medical conditions. The cannabinoids are given longer time to control chronic symptoms.


Vaping cannabis gives you better control over the dose. The moment you feel the effects, you can simply stop. As soon as the effects fade away, you can take another puff.

Dosing is much harder in cannabis edibles. Some people tend to eat more so they can feel the effects faster. But this is an incorrect way of dosing with cannabis edibles though. The more you eat cannabis-infused edibles, the stronger the effects will be once they start to kick in.


Remember; you have to wait 30 minutes to two hours before you can take another nibble. If the effects are far too strong for you, rest and lower the dose. On the other hand, if the effects are minimal, you can gradually increase your intake until you get the dose that works best to control your symptoms.

What to Do If You’ve Taken Too Much Cannabis

Cannabis has a relatively safe profile, compared to other drugs. Yes, the side effects may be unpleasant if you’ve had too much, but you can simply take a rest or sleep it off. It’s also recommended that you eat some food and drink some sugary liquid to help with the dizziness.

vaping cannabis

More importantly, don’t panic. Relax, breathe, and simply wait for the effects to wear off. No one has ever died of taking too much cannabis. In fact, according to the 1988 cannabis rescheduling petition, one will have to consume 1,500 pounds of cannabis and take it within 15 minutes for cannabis to be lethal. Now that is an astounding amount and only someone with superhuman strengths can do!

If you’re a newbie to cannabis and want to try either cannabis vaporizers or edibles, knowing these differences can help you choose the best method for you.