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Inhaled vs. Cannabis Capsules: What's the difference?

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been a subject of research and debate for years. With its potential therapeutic benefits, it's no surprise that various consumption methods have emerged. Inhaled cannabis and cannabis capsules are two popular options, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. This article aims to explore the differences between inhaled cannabis and cannabis capsules, shedding light on their effects, onset times, dosing precision, and overall suitability for different individuals.

What is Inhaled Cannabis?

Inhalation is one of the most common methods of consuming cannabis. This can be achieved through smoking or vaporization. When cannabis is smoked, the heat burns the plant material, releasing its active compounds, which are then inhaled as smoke.

Vaporization, on the other hand, heats the cannabis to a point where the active compounds are vaporized without combustion, producing a vapor that is inhaled.

Advantages of Inhaled Cannabis

Advantages of Inhaled Cannabis
Advantages of Inhaled Cannabis

Rapid Onset

Inhaled cannabis effects are typically felt within minutes, making it a preferred choice for individuals seeking immediate relief from symptoms like pain, anxiety, or nausea.

Dosing Flexibility

The effects of inhaled cannabis are felt quickly, allowing users to titrate their dose more effectively and avoid overconsumption.

Terpene and Flavor Profile

Inhaled cannabis retains its full flavor profile and terpene content, providing a more nuanced sensory experience.

Drawbacks of Inhaled Cannabis

Respiratory Irritation

Smoking cannabis can irritate the respiratory tract due to the combustion process, potentially leading to respiratory issues over time.

Short Duration

The effects of inhaled cannabis tend to wear off more quickly compared to other consumption methods.

Social Stigma

Smoking cannabis can be associated with a social stigma, potentially limiting its use in certain settings.

What is Cannabis Capsules?

Cannabis capsules, also known as edibles or oral cannabis, involve ingesting cannabis in the form of a pill or soft gel. The cannabis extract is typically mixed with a carrier oil and encapsulated.

Advantages of Cannabis Capsules

Longer Lasting Effects

The effects of cannabis capsules are prolonged compared to inhaled methods, making them suitable for all-day relief or for individuals who prefer less frequent dosing.

Precise Dosing

Capsules offer accurate dosing, allowing users to have a consistent experience and manage their cannabis intake more precisely.

Avoiding Lung Irritation

Capsules eliminate the potential respiratory irritation associated with smoking or vaporization.

Drawbacks of Cannabis Capsules

Delayed Onset

The effects of cannabis capsules can take much longer to manifest, often ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion, making it challenging to titrate accurately.

Varied Effects

The liver metabolizes the active compounds differently when ingested, leading to the production of a more potent compound (11-hydroxy-THC), which can result in more intense and potentially unpredictable effects.

Individual Variability

Due to differences in metabolism and digestion, the effects of cannabis capsules can vary widely among users.

How to Choose the Right Method?

When deciding between inhaled cannabis and cannabis capsules, several factors come into play. Individuals should consider their desired onset time, preferred duration of effects, desired level of dosing precision, and any potential health concerns.

Immediate Relief

If quick relief is a priority, inhaled cannabis may be the better choice.

Long-Lasting Effects

For prolonged effects and consistent dosing, cannabis capsules might be more suitable.

Health Considerations

Individuals with respiratory issues should avoid smoking and may opt for capsules to minimize potential harm.


In the ongoing exploration of cannabis's therapeutic potential, the choice between inhaled cannabis and cannabis capsules depends on individual preferences and health considerations. Inhaled cannabis offers rapid relief and dosing flexibility, while cannabis capsules provide longer-lasting effects and controlled dosing. Understanding these differences empowers users to make informed decisions that align with their wellness goals and lifestyles. As the cannabis landscape continues to evolve, both consumption methods offer unique benefits for enthusiasts and patients alike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the safest way of inhaling cannabis?

Vaporization is considered one of the safer methods of inhaling cannabis. It involves heating the cannabis to a temperature that vaporizes the active compounds without combustion, reducing the potential for harmful byproducts.

2. What is the bioavailability of cannabis in inhalation?

3. What is the duration of action of inhaled cannabis?

4. What are the effects of inhaled cannabis?

5. Which method provides quicker relief: inhaled cannabis or cannabis capsules?

6. Which method is better for individuals with respiratory issues?

7. Can I use both methods interchangeably?

8. How should I decide which method is right for me?

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