Cannabis, and especially high CBD strains, has become well-known for its health benefits, but its effect on the body varies depending on whether you’re ingesting CBD (oils and edibles) or inhaling (smoking and vaping).
Risks and Rewards
Smoking cannabis offers instant pain relief and stress relief but is more short lived. Ingesting cannabis via edibles and oils has a more subtle but longer-lasting effect, and may provide more health benefits overall.
Smoking any substance creates oxidation in the body, which damages cells and DNA. This is because metabolizing oxygen creates free radicals, which steal electrons from other molecules and can lead to accelerated aging, inflammation of the joints, deterioration of eyesight, damage to nerve cells in the brain, increased risk of coronary heart disease, and increased risk of cancer. Antioxidants help combat free radicals, and according to a scientific study performed by the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Regulation, cannabidiol (also known as CBD) is one of the most powerful antioxidants around. In this study, cannabidiol was compared to two highly popular antioxidant compounds, α-tocopherol and ascorbate, and was found to be 30-50% more effective at protecting neuronal cultures from oxidant toxicity.
Ingesting CBD May Last 12-24 Hours
Ingesting CBD allows it to be metabolized by the liver before crossing the blood-brain barrier, whereas inhaling it sends it straight to the brain. This is why edibles have a slow onset and last longer, whereas smoking cannabis brings about an immediate but short-lived rush. This is also why ingesting cannabis offers more health benefits; the cannabinoids interact with the body on a more intimate level when they are allowed to follow the regular digestive process, and the nutrients remain intact rather than getting burnt to a crisp.
Inhaling Cannabis is Short Lived but Potent
Inhalation is by far the most common method of taking cannabis, but ingesting CBD offers a much more reliable way to get the most out of the plant’s healing potential. Oxidation aside, smoking cannabis has its own benefits — such as improved lung function, increased creativity, and relief from insomnia — but in order to unlock the disease-reversing potential and long-term physical benefits — such as protection from and reversal of cancers, epilepsy, anxiety, and other conditions — make sure to include CBD oils, tinctures, or edibles in your daily routine.
Ingest and Inhale
Since ingesting and inhaling cannabis offer different types of relief, you can get the most out of it by doing both. One cool way to do this is by growing your own plants from cannabis seeds. When you grow your own plants, you can smoke the flowers as well as cook them into edibles. This is a great way to get all the benefits of cannabis that this wonderful plant offers and to see for yourself everything that one plant can do.
Whatever you choose — happy healing!
Source: Hampson et al. “Neuroprotective Antioxidants from Marijuana.” New York Academy of Sciences, 1998.