More people than ever are choosing to try cannabis by eating it rather than smoking it. While always popular, cannabis edibles such as gummies have now become the preferred way of enjoying marijuana for many people.
The trend, which existed long before 2020, took off during the isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic that swept the nation. Consumers now have a wide variety of edibles to choose from, giving them plenty of options beyond brownies and gummies (although plenty still prefer them over anything else).
Edibles sales are up in many areas. For example, Michigan saw cannabis edibles sales increase 14% in 2020. Sales across the U.S. are expected to reach $3 billion. Part of the reason for increased edible use is that people are grouped together during the pandemic and don’t want to smoke, according to people interviewed by The New York Times. But it’s a trend that, pandemic or not, was going to happen, anyway.
A More Health-Conscious Choice
For many people, choosing not to smoke marijuana feels like a better overall health choice because they do not have to tolerate the smoke produced from a joint or bong. Vince Ning, founder and CEO of cannabis distributor Nabis, told the Times that the trend toward cannabis edibles may be the result of such “health-conscious” consumerism.
Others supported the idea that the trend was already underway by the time the pandemic arrived. Alex Levine, owner and joint CEO of the Colorado dispensary chain Green Dragon, told the Times that “edibles every year have been taking up a bigger slice of the pie. Right before corona hit, edibles were basically at 20 percent of our sales. That was a huge increase over the past couple of years.”
Many people prefer edibles because you can more accurately assess the level of THC dose. And many edibles, especially gummies, preserve well over time.
Differences With Cannabis Edibles
If you decide to try cannabis edibles, there are important differences from smoking that are important to keep in mind. They include the following.
Feeling the Effects
When you smoke cannabis, you typically feel the effects within just a few minutes. Edibles work differently, entering the bloodstream through the digestive system rather than the lungs. This takes longer. It’s important not to keep eating edibles because you don’t feel the impact soon enough – just give it time.
Most cannabis users will tell you that edibles have a stronger impact than smoking. While it takes longer to hit your system, the high from edibles can hit you a bit stronger once it arrives. Researchers believe this is the difference between having THC go directly to your brain from your lungs (via smoking) and getting processed in your liver (through eating). The bottom line: make sure you are in a safe, comfortable place before consuming an edible for the first time.
A big positive for edibles is that the high tends to last longer. In some cases, it can last hours, much longer than the high felt from smoking cannabis.
With the popularity of cannabis edibles growing, it’s important to keep these basic tips in mind for the first time you use them. For many people, edibles provide a safe, discrete and convenient way to enjoy the effects of cannabis and skip on the smoke.