The pros and cons of cannabis edibles

The pros and cons of cannabis edibles
Luke Sholl

Cannabis edibles represent a world of untapped possibilities, but only if you know what you're getting yourself into. That's why we've compiled a definitive list of their pros and cons to help you decide if unrivalled potency and long-lasting effects outweigh the potential for an inconsistent or overwhelming experience.

On paper, combining your favourite herb with beloved foods is a recipe for canna-infused success. And, in truth, the reality isn't far removed. Still, there are some important considerations you need to keep in mind, especially if this is your first time exploring the world of cannabis edibles.

Cannabis-infused foods have the potential to be a game-changer, but they also come with some unique challenges, so you'll want an idea of the complete picture before you dive head-first into what could be one of the most intense highs of your life.

What are cannabis edibles?

The pros and cons of cannabis edibles

Anyone remotely interested in the world of cannabis is likely familiar with the term "edibles", but it doesn't hurt to establish what exactly they are and how they differ from smoking or vaping.

In essence, a cannabis edible is any food (or liquid) infused with the cannabinoids found inside weed. While THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis) is the primary cannabinoid of choice, you can also create CBD edibles for a balanced approach to wellness. But why go to the effort of carefully preparing your herb and infusing it with cakes, cookies, or even smoothies?

The main reason for ingesting cannabis, compared to smoking or vaping, is because it changes the way your body processes cannabinoids. THC now has to travel through the digestive system before it can pass through the liver and into your bloodstream. The caveat to this delayed journey is the potential for a more intense, longer-lasting high. In fact, an edible high can last up to twelve hours!

Pros and cons of cannabis edibles

Of course, a more intense high is just one of the pros (and potential cons) of consuming cannabis edibles. Below, you'll find several more potential benefits alongside an equal amount of drawbacks. While edibles are a versatile choice for cannabis lovers, they may not be suitable for everyone, so it's crucial to understand the complete picture.

The pros and cons of cannabis edibles

Pros of edibles

Let's kick off our pros and cons with the best bits of cannabis edibles. From their discretion to their unrivalled potency, it's not hard to see why edibles continue to grow in popularity.


While many dream of the day that cannabis is accepted in all its glory, it's considered a controlled substance in many countries, so there's nothing wrong with taking a discreet approach to your love for marijuana. And, if discretion is the name of the game, then you're in luck. Edibles are one of the most discreet ways to consume cannabis, and most are nearly impossible to detect from appearance or smell alone.

You see, there's no need to worry about the telltale smell of weed smoke or the suspicious looks you’d get using a dry herb vaporizer. With edibles, most people simply assume you're eating one of your favourite snacks, utterly oblivious to the fact that it's loaded with THC goodness. However, we should quickly point out that preparing homemade edibles can be a stinky affair, so you'll want to do this away from prying eyes and noses.

Strong effect

The potency of edibles is hard to match, even with dabs and other cannabis concentrates. In fact, potency is usually what entices people to try edibles in the first place. Of course, potency is all relative, and a seasoned stoner will likely need a larger portion of edibles than a novice. Still, because of the way the body processes edibles, it's almost always going to provide a more intense sensation than smoking or vaping.

It's also true that an edible high can feel a little different to traditional methods of cannabis consumption. While not an exact science, many people claim that the influence is much more psychotropic, bordering on psychedelic at large doses. Your experience may vary, but if you're chasing new highs, then edibles are definitely worth considering.

Cheap to make

Most edible recipes list cannabis flower as the prime ingredient, which can actually make canna-infused goods more expensive to produce than rolling a blunt or spliff. But the beauty of edibles is that you can use any cannabinoid-laden plant material. Remember all the excess sugar leaves you normally discard when trimming your homegrown buds? Well, that seemingly unsmokable trim is now the star of your next edible recipe.

This makes edibles incredibly cost-effective because you can use just about any plant material (although potency will vary). And the best part is, even once your prized flower is gone, you'll have a handful of edibles ready and waiting. You can even use already vaped buds (AVB) to infuse cannabutter, so there really is no excuse not to experiment.

Easy to use

What could be more straightforward than chomping down on a tasty canna-infused brownie? No, really, that's all there is to consuming edibles. You eat, you wait, you get high. Speaking of which, waiting is a crucial part of enjoying cannabis edibles. Unlike smoking or vaping, it can take up to an hour or more before you feel the effects of the first bite.

Usually, this delayed onset catches most people out, but we like to think that good things come to those who wait. Provided you take a measured approach to consumption, edibles couldn't be easier to enjoy morning, noon, or night. And, if you want to really streamline the process, ensure you use an online edible calculator to get portion control spot on.

Avoids lung aggravation

Even Snoop Dogg has likely ended up coughing and spluttering after a harsh hit of weed. Not only is smoking a joint rough on the lungs sometimes, but throw in tobacco, and you're risking a slew of health conditions—especially if you're a long-standing smoker. Edibles circumvent all of the harshness linked to traditional methods of consumption and, instead, taste fantastic no matter how many times you try them.

Edibles are also crucial for anyone struggling with lung aggravation linked to a health condition. Just because your health has changed doesn't mean you need to end your love affair with weed. In fact, many medical cannabis users prefer edibles over a joint, given their negligible impact on the respiratory system.

Endless options

Saying the world of cannabis edibles is vast doesn't really do the sheer scope of options justice. Sure, you have your stereotypical space cakes, brownies, and cookies. But have you ever considered making canna-infused coffee, flour, strawberry sauce, risotto, or even tacos? Honestly, you could list practically any dish in the world, and chances are you can turn it into an edible.

If you're interested in experimenting, it's best to first infuse several core ingredients and see how they fit into your preferred dishes. By this, we mean creating cannabutter or canna-oil. Not only are both integral to hundreds of recipes, but stored correctly, they will keep for months, meaning you can get busy in the kitchen whenever the mood takes you.

Cons of edibles

Even your favourite things in the world have downsides, and edibles are no different. That's not to say you necessarily need to avoid them, but it helps to understand the canna-related obstacles you could run into along the way.

It takes longer for effects to set in

Time is a valuable commodity, and if you really need to get high quickly, then edibles are not the best choice. Just one puff of a joint is enough to get you buzzing in mere minutes, but depending on your digestive system, it can take well over an hour before edibles kick in. If you plan ahead, this isn't a problem, but when it's been a long day at work, getting home and having to wait around before you can really relax can become frustrating.

The delayed onset can also catch some off guard. It's common for beginners to misjudge just how long it takes to feel the effects and try to speed up the process by consuming a second or third portion. As any experienced edible lover will tell you, this is a surefire way to end up in the shadow realm and turn a good time into a walk down washout lane.


Without a specific recipe, a dosage calculator, and a little luck, calculating the potency of homemade edibles can be hit-or-miss. This is fine if you've nowhere to be and are down for whatever the experience may bring, but most of us want to know what to expect when we eat our canna-infused brownies. Plus, if you're using edibles to support a medical condition or you're at risk of regular drug testing, then it's imperative to know how each portion will affect you.

However, even with the best portion control in the world, there's no getting around the fact that edibles are nearly always going to hit harder than smoking or vaping. This is a bonus for some people, but in many situations, the chance of greening out and the inevitable comedown simply isn't worth it.

Dangerous for children and pets

In most forms, weed has a very distinct and unmistakable appearance. With edibles, the risk of children, pets, and other individuals inadvertently consuming your prized cannabis becomes significantly greater. Edible gummies, for example, don't smell or taste anything like cannabis. And, with the appearance of everyday sweets, it becomes all too easy for the unaware to get hold of products they shouldn't.

Some recipes are tricky to get right

Most edibles are straightforward variations of traditional recipes, like cakes, brownies, and cookies. You don't need much previous experience, and if you take the time to prepare core ingredients such as cannabutter or canna-oil, the process is simple enough. However, cannabis is incredibly sensitive to heat, which means you'll need to make relevant adjustments during the baking process.

Venture further off the beaten path, and you'll have to manage dozens of tiny adjustments to your favourite recipes. You can view it as an exciting challenge, but there's no way of knowing if your hard work has paid off until you take that first bite. Nothing is worse than waiting over an hour for your edible to kick in and realising it's all taste and no substance.

More difficult to dose

While dosage calculators go a long way to improve the efficacy of your edibles, they are merely an estimation. Without highly sophisticated machinery, it's impossible to tell if your edibles actually contain 5mg, 10mg, or 15mg of THC. Not only do you need to know your weed's initial potency, but you'll also need to account for a loss of THC during the infusion process, the portion size, and whether the cannabis was spread evenly throughout the mixture.

For a novice, the factors above are daunting, and some people will simply avoid edibles because they cannot risk the uncertainty. If you've got the time and a safe space to experiment, edibles are great. If not, opting for tried and true methods (vaping or smoking) will likely yield more reliable results.

Variability in quality

Differences in the quality of your edibles apply to both homemade and store-bought options. The cannabis industry is still largely unregulated, meaning those high-potency edibles you've been looking forward to all week could turn out to offer more of a mild buzz than otherworldly euphoria.

Your best bet is to scour customer reviews and see if you can find a reputable supplier or coffeeshop. Obviously, this only applies in areas where edibles are legal. If you have to rely on more unconventional methods of acquisition, then, sadly, you're at the mercy of the canna-gods.

Weed edibles: Know what to expect

Cons of edibles

Weed can augment and enhance our lives in myriad ways. However, when using any substance, you must consider the pros and cons. Edibles' delayed onset and variable effects can catch some off guard, emphasising the importance of starting low and going slow. Additionally, regulatory challenges and inconsistent product quality highlight the need for careful consideration and research when selecting or crafting your edibles.

Ultimately, whether cannabis edibles are the right fit for you depends on your individual preferences and lifestyle. If you value discretion, long-lasting relief, and diverse flavours, edibles are a fantastic choice. On the other hand, if you prefer more immediate effects and precise control over your dose, smoking or vaping might be a better fit. Either way, there's no shortage of ways to enjoy your favourite herb!

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl

Fascinated by the wellness potential of nature, Luke has spent over a decade writing about cannabis and its vast selection of cannabinoids. Creating, researching and writing content for Cannaconnection, alongside several other industry-related publications, he uses strong technical SEO skills and diligent research to bring evidence-based material to thousands of unique visitors.