As a cannabis user, you’ve got options when it comes to consuming your cannabis strain of choice.
You can smoke the flowering buds, using a joint, pipe, or water bong; vaporize cannabis oil using a vape pen; or eating one of a variety of cannabis edibles.
But which method is your best option?
Well, as with many things in life, the answer is somewhat unsatisfying. Because the reality is… It all depends.
And the deciding factors boil down to your level of health consciousness, how quickly you want to feel the effects, how strong you want those effects to be, and how long you want them to last.
To answers these key questions, let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of your cannabis consumption options one-by-one…
Advantages + Disadvantages of Smoking Cannabis
The clearest advantage of smoking cannabis is that you quickly feel the effects. Usually, within seconds of your first inhale, the impact is apparent. And the feeling spreads throughout your system in short order.
It’s also easy to control your dosage. Looking for a quick buzz? Just one, shallow inhale does the trick. Want a deeper, longer-lasting interlude? Several strong, deep inhales ensures stronger effects that last much longer.
On the downside, smoking cannabis comes with many of the negative attributes of smoking cigarettes. You are, after all, inhale burning hot smoke, loaded with particulates and byproducts of the charred organic matter directly into your lungs.
And while smoking cannabis has not been linked to cancer and other smoking-related illnesses to the same extent as cigarettes, neither have the long-term effects of smoking cannabis haven’t been studied as thoroughly as smoking cigarettes. Though it’s also true that even regular cannabis smokers inhale a fraction of the amount of smoke inhaled by habitual cigarette smokers.
What About Water Bongs?
The effects of smoking a water bong are felt just as quick as smoking a joint or pipe. But the smoke is partially converted to water vapor. Which is arguably less harmful than inhaling raw smoke.
The water vapor in a bong, however, still carries many of the particulates and other harmful byproducts produced by smoking cannabis. Plus, water bong vapor is still super-heated, which is also not good for your lungs.
The Advantages + Disadvantages of Vaporizing Cannabis
Vaping, which involves vaporizing cannabis oil using a battery-powered piece of equipment known as vape pen has all the advantages of smoking cannabis… It’s fast-acting and it’s easy to control your dosage. A quick puff gives a fast, short buzz. While several, longer, deeper hits yield stronger, lengthier effects.
Vaping also eliminates some of the health concerns related to smoking cannabis flower buds. A vape pen vaporizes cannabis oil, which is distilled from cannabis flower buds, a process that removes many of the potentially harmful particulates and byproducts that come with smoking the raw cannabis flower.
All of this said, however, a growing number of medical professionals have raised concerns over the impact of vaping. And the potentially harmful effects of cannabis vaping in particular have been called into question.
Part of this concern is because vaping is relatively new, and the long-term effects have yet to be carefully studied. The point being, you should take any suggestion that vaping is a “healthier way to consume cannabis” with a grain of salt.
The Advantages + Disadvantages of Consuming Cannabis Edibles
The biggest advantage of consuming cannabis edibles is it eliminates all the health concerns related to smoking or vaping.
The other main advantages of consuming cannabis edibles are the effects tend to be stronger and last longer.
This is also a disadvantage. Regulating your dosage is a lot tougher with cannabis edibles. And if you take too much, the effects could be very intense, and last quite a while. In some cases, up to 8 hours or more.
Similarly, if you take too little, you may not feel any effects. And even if you do, it's likely to be a while before you feel any impact.
This also relates to the other main disadvantage of consuming cannabis edibles… It usually takes 30-40 minutes to feel the effects. And in some cases, it can take an hour or more. Even if you’ve taken the proper dosage.