Comparing oral intake of cannabis and sublingual intake is not a case of which is better or worse; it is about the experience that you wish to have at that time.
Smoking is the oldest and most common way of consuming cannabis, with the process of grinding, rolling, and lighting the joints being social rituals in the cannabis culture. However, not every cannabis user is comfortable with smoking thereby necessitating the need for other means of consumption.
Two of the most popular alternatives to smoking cannabis are oral intake and sublingual intake. While both methods of intake involve the mouth, they have a lot of differences. This article will discuss everything that you need to know about oral and sublingual intake of cannabis, as well as the best intake method for you.
What Is Oral Intake Of Cannabis?
Oral ingestion of cannabis involves consuming the product in the form of an edible. It entails drinking, eating food that has been infused with cannabinoids, as well as popping cannabis capsules. Edible cannabis can take the form of cannabis juices, marijuana cookies, and cake, gummy sweets, pizza, coffee.
Regardless of the form that it takes, orally ingested cannabis goes into the stomach where it undergoes metabolism before entering the bloodstream. Due to the metabolic process that edibles undergo, orally ingested cannabis has a longer onset than every other form of consumption. While in the body system, the liver converts the THC contained in the cannabis into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is a very potent metabolic byproduct, with a great psychotropic effect.
Characteristics Of Oral Intake of Cannabis
High Potency: The effect of orally ingested cannabis is quite potent, as 11-hydroxy-THC has a more intense effect than other forms of THC. This means that you experience that hard-hitting and satisfying high. This is why taking edibles appeal to some individuals.
Longer Onset: Edibles usually take a while before it gets into the bloodstream, which explains why it takes longer to hit. After consumption, the food undergoes metabolism traveling through your gut and liver. This longer onset appeals to some people, as the build-up to the high offers a different thrill on its own. Orally-consumed cannabis typically takes up to 90 minutes or more to start working, giving you ample time to settle down.
Long Duration: Not only do they take a longer period to set in, edibles also offer a longer duration of high. This is due to the potency of 11-hydroxy-THC when it enters the bloodstream. The effect of orally-consumed cannabis usually lasts between six to eight hours. The way it works, you enjoy three hours of peak concentration which is followed by a few hours of less intensity.
What Is Sublingual Cannabis Intake?
Sublingual intake refers to the absorption of substances by placing them underneath the tongue. Sublingual cannabis intake entails placing cannabis in form of oil, extracts, tincture or strip, under your tongue in order for it to gain direct entrance into your bloodstream.
The reason these substances need to be placed under the tongue instead of swallowed is because there is a collection of capillaries connected to the arterial system located beneath the tongue. As a result, this serves a route that gives cannabinoids fast access to the bloodstream. Due to this means of entrance into the bloodstream, sublingual intake does not undergo metabolism. This gives it a faster onset than oral intake of cannabis.
Characteristics Of Sublingual Cannabis Intake
Quick Onset: Sublingual intake of cannabis shares a similar onset period as smoking and vaping. Owing to the direct entrance to the bloodstream, cannabis ingested this way takes effect in a matter of minutes.
Controlled Effect: The effect of sublingual cannabis products is controlled, in the sense that the THC is not broken down into a more potent form. This is because the cannabis does not come in contact with your liver, which can convert it to 11-hydroxy-THC. This means that with sublingual cannabis products, you get a high that is proportionate to the quantity that you took.
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Short Duration: Compared to orally-consumed cannabis, the psychotropic experience gotten from sublingual cannabis lasts for a shorter duration. The high gotten from it usually lasts about an hour or two. With sublingual cannabis, you can enjoy your high for a few hours, and go on with the rest of your day.
Similarities Between Sublingual Cannabis & Orally-Consumed Cannabis
Through The Mouth: Both methods involve taking the cannabis through the mouth. While oral intake involves eating, drinking, and swallowing cannabis, sublingual consumption involves placing it under your tongue for quick absorption into your bloodstream.
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Discretion: The two methods are quite discreet and can be consumed without the limitations that come with smoking. You can take both on a trip back home, with the effects hitting just as you arrive at your place. For cannabis enthusiasts with health concerns, any of these methods serve as a better alternative to smoking.
Dual Functionality: Both methods of consumption are effective for recreational use, as well as for medical purposes.
Differences Between Sublingual Cannabis & Orally-Consumed Cannabis
The distinctions between these two methods of cannabis consumption are evident in their characteristics.
Onset: The effect of sublingual cannabis hits within a few minutes due to its quick absorption into the bloodstream. Orally-consumed cannabis however takes between 60 to 90 minutes, before it starts working due to the longer route that it takes.
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Duration: The high gotten from orally-consumed cannabis lasts longer than sublingual cannabis. While orally-consumed cannabis keeps you high for up to eight hours, sublingual cannabis lasts only for an hour or two.
Intensity: Due to the metabolic process which it goes through in the body, the effect of orally-consumed is quite intense. Sublingual cannabis does not give such intensity, as the experience is quite similar to the effects of smoking cannabis.
Comparing oral intake of cannabis and sublingual intake is not a case of which is better or worse; rather, it is about the experience that you wish to have at that time. If you are looking for a quick high that would wear off fast, then sublingual cannabis is your best bet. For a slower high that gives you a wholesome experience, orally-transmitted cannabis gets the job done.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.