If you ever ask someone who has tried marijuana how it feels you will get a variety of answers. Marijuana has been known to bring on effects ranging from a natural high to inducing immediate unconsciousness. The reasons behind the effect differentiation can vary depending on the strain type. An Indica strain usually leans towards a relaxing or calming feeling. Indica strains are great for use if you need pain medication or to help induce sleep. Where as, a Sativa strain will uplift you in some manners. You can work while using it, read a book or even go running with no problem. Then you have hybrid strains which can give you a plethora of mixed feelings. The effects can also vary widely in regards to how marijuana is used. Traditionally marijuana has been consumed by smoking it. Today things have changed. With marijuana gaining ground through legal channels, its use has increased. New marketing strategies with marijuana have produced several ways it can be consumed.

  • Joints, pipes or water bongs (smoking)
  • Vaping (use of electronic vaporizer pen or device)
  • Edibles (cooked into various food products and eaten)
  • Topical use (oils, lotions, and creams)
  • Liquid tinctures (alcoholic solution)

Even with more options to use it, marijuana use is primarily done through smoking and eating it. While it is the same overall product, it does come with a wide range of effects. Keep in mind that the end results can vary from person to person after using marijuana. While one person may feel euphoric and happy another may feel dazed and confused using the same product. The effects can also vary depending on how much is taken. The effects of ingesting marijuana by eating it are very different than consuming it through smoking or other methods of use. In fact, eating it may have the strongest after effects of ingestion than any other methods of consumption available.

How the body processes marijuana

One significant difference in smoking marijuana versus eating it is the way THC affects the body.

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is one of many chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found inside the resin glands primarily in the bud or flower of a female marijuana plant. Basically it is the chemical that causes the psychological effects after using marijuana. There are two different metabolic processes THC goes through depending on how marijuana is used. When you are smoking marijuana, the THC goes from your lungs straight to the brain within a matter of minutes. The effects come on quick, linger around a while and then slowly dissipate away. This is why some people can smoke for hours on end with no negative side effects. By eating marijuana, the THC travels from the stomach and then directly to the liver for processing. The liver metabolizes the THC before sending it to the bloodstream. Since it must pass through the stomach and then to the liver to process, it will take some time before a person can feel any sort of body high effects. Sometimes the whole digestion process can take up to a few hours to set in. Three to six hours can pass before you feel anything.

The after effects of ingesting marijuana

Smoking marijuana can bring on a variety of feelings. People have reported feeling, happy, euphoric, sleepy, hungry, focused, mellow, giggly and pain free. Some people have said they felt slightly dazed and confused. The effects can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or longer. The high can be a quick head high or a relaxing body high. This depends greatly on the strain type being taken. The feelings associated with eating marijuana can mirror smoking it to a point. Since the THC is absorbed differently it takes longer to get a high off an edible. Once the effects kick it, they will kick in hard.   Most reported after effects of eating marijuana range from psychedelic and happy to dizzy and feeling sick. Severe ill feelings may incapacitate a person and require them to lie down.   The after effects can last for several hours unlike with smoking. The reason behind this is due to how the edibles are made. For this reason caution should be used while driving or operating machinery or other equipment if you are using edibles.

Potency differences

There can be a bit of disparity in regards to marijuana potency. A long term marijuana connoisseur can tell if their marijuana strain potency has changed. Smokers can instantly tell after the first puff or two if something is amiss. The effects come on fast so you will know immediately if there is a difference from your current stash to your last. Growers can change their growing methods at any time. Sometimes even a nutrient change can affect the outcome of a marijuana plant’s growth and output during consumption. Also several people can use different growing methods for the same strain and each person’s strain can have a different effect. Detecting the potency in an edible product can be very difficult. Makers of edibles use different varieties of marijuana in there products. They don’t always know the potency of the marijuana before it gets cooked into foods. So while one batch of product may be extremely potent another may be somewhat dull. This can vary depending on where the marijuana comes from and if anything was changed during the grow process. Often times the marijuana used for cooking is the leftover product remains from marijuana plants after they have been processed for other uses. Edibles can be quite strong as the makers of edibles can use varying amounts of marijuana when cooking. So the user should use caution when ingesting by using edibles in small quantities only.

Dosage differences  

Since the effects of smoking marijuana onset fairly fast it is easy to determine how much the body can tolerate. After a few puffs you know how much of a dosage you can take and still function. Some people can smoke continuously all day and function just fine. Others may need only one or to puffs and they are set for the day. You learn over time how much your body can tolerate. Dosing marijuana edibles is a little more difficult. This weighs heavily on how much THC is used in making an edible product. Even the most advanced marijuana distributors have difficulty dosing edibles. Some edible foods may contain higher amounts of THC than others. So being that the digestion can take a few hours to set in, many people often overdose on edibles. They won’t die but can become seriously ill. For that reason alone its recommended to use edible products in small quantities. For example rather than eating a whole marijuana infused candy bar, you should eat a few small pieces at a time. Using 10 milligrams of THC is standard in marijuana cooking. However some edible products can contain more or less than that figure. This depends on ho good of a quality the marijuana batch was from the beginning. Once you know what your body can handle then you can adjust your intake accordingly. Also never use edibles on an empty stomach. This can cause nausea, vomiting and fainting.

Short and long term affects of marijuana use

As much as people love to smoke marijuana, it is not the healthiest form to use for some. Smoking can irritate the respiratory system. It can expose you to long term and debilitating respiratory issues. Edible use doesn’t have that side effect. Edibles can be used any time of day or night providing long term pain relief that can counteract effects of some illnesses. While many long term users have reported no long lasting effects there have been cases where there was a negative physical impact. Issues such as growth disorders, sexual dysfunction and suppression of the immune system have been diagnosed through long term marijuana smoking. Over time smoking marijuana can also lead to health issues similar to that with general cigarette smoking. Health complications can include; emphysema, bronchitis and bronchial asthma. Smoking marijuana using vaporizers can be somewhat healthier than traditional smoking methods. However, vaporizers contain additive drugs including THC and may be habit forming. Long term effects of using edibles are still widely unknown and can only be speculated. Although there have been cases of edible use associated with anxiety, panic and schizophrenia. Allergy sufferers may be at risk using edibles as they may contain trace elements that can trigger allergic reactions over time. It is recommended to use caution with continuous long term use. As it is not always known where the marijuana for edibles comes from, obtaining it should be done through a trusted source only.


Overall the effects of marijuana use vary greatly. The impacts can be small or major depending on who is using it and for how long. It really doesn’t matter if it is cooked and eaten or rolled and smoked. The effects will vary no matter what. The key to consumption is tolerance. Always know your limit and use caution.