There are many different ways to consume cannabinoids, and each option has different effects. Even experienced cannabis consumers sometimes don’t know enough about the products they’re using, and new users are often left at a loss.
In this guide, we’ll clear things up by comparing cannabis edibles, vapes, and flower and providing an answer regarding which product types are best for both newbies and experienced users. Along the way, learn more about each product type with answers to commonly asked questions.
What are edibles?
The term “edibles” refers to food products that have been infused with cannabinoids. While “pot brownies” are the most stereotypical type of edible, it’s just as common to find cannabinoids in cookies, candy, or even drinks. Edibles commonly contain 10-20mg of cannabinoids per serving, and they deliver long-lasting effects that are often uncomfortably intense for new users.
What are vapes?
In the context of cannabis, vapes are products that vaporize inhalable cannabinoids. There are quite a few different types of vapes ranging from disposable vape cartridges to dry herb vape pens. Some vapes are appropriate for new users, but certain methods of vaporizing cannabis, such as dabbing, are better left to experienced consumers.
What is cannabis flower?
Cannabis flower consists of dried, cannabinoid-rich flowers taken from the Cannabis sativa plant. The most iconic and plentiful type of cannabinoid product, flower is popular among both new and experienced cannabis consumers. For many, flower is the easiest type of cannabis product to use, and it is the least likely to cause undesirable effects.
Edibles, vapes, & flower compared
Let’s compare the benefits of edibles, vapes, and flower by answering some commonly asked questions:
What’s the difference between vapes and flower?
The primary difference between cannabis vapes and flower is that vapes produce vapor while flower usually produces smoke. It’s also possible to vaporize cannabis flower, however, so the next most-important difference is that vapes are generally stronger than flower.
An average vape cartridge or dab contains around 80-90% cannabinoids while even the strongest cannabis flower only comes in at around 30%. The water-based vapor that vapes produce does not leave behind any lingering smells while smoking cannabis will make your hands and clothes smell like weed for a considerable amount of time.
What gets you higher—vapes or flower?
Between the two, vapes definitely get you higher than flower. Vapes generally contain 3-4 times the amount of cannabinoids as flower, resulting in a more powerful high from using less. Many users also find it easy to inhale huge hits of vapor while same-sized hits of cannabis smoke would cause severe discomfort and coughing.
Are vape cartridges cheaper than flower?
No, vape cartridges and cannabis flower are just about equally priced. An average 1-gram cannabis vape cartridge costs $30-$50, and the most common size of cannabis flower products, the “eighth” (1/8oz) is usually priced in the same range. A gram of cannabis concentrate in a vape cartridge usually consists of around 800-900mg of cannabinoids, and an average eighth of cannabis flower contains about the same amount.
The only way in which vapes might be cheaper than flower is that flower is more prone to waste. Accidentally sprinkling a little bit of ground-up cannabis flower on your table as you roll a joint or load a bowl is common, and it’s just as common to leave a little bit of unused flower at the end of a joint. At the same time, it’s often difficult to get every last bit of concentrate out of a vape cartridge, and empty dab containers usually contain a small amount of extract you can’t scrape out.
Do edibles cost more than smoking?
Generally, yes, using edibles costs more than smoking if you ingest cannabis on a daily basis. An average edible cannabis product costs around $20 despite only containing about 100mg of cannabinoids. In comparison, an eighth of cannabis, which costs around $35, contains about 700-900mg of cannabinoids. Therefore, flower contains 3-4 times the cannabinoids-per-dollar as cannabis edibles.
Which is better—vapes or edibles?
Cannabis vapes and edibles are too different to declare that one is better than the other. For many users, vapes are the preferred option for everyday consumption, but edibles are often more fun and interesting, and they also deliver long-lasting effects.
If you’re going on a long car trip, for instance, you might prefer to eat some edibles before you go rather than hit your vape every half-hour or so while you’re driving. If you’re watching what you eat, however, the processed, sugary ingredients that often abound in edibles might be a no-go.
Are edibles the same as flower?
No, cannabis edibles certainly aren’t the same as flower—while edibles are often made with flower, they administer cannabinoids via the oral route, delivering potent, long-lasting effects. Cannabis flower, on the other hand, is usually smoked, offering short-term effects that experienced users might find more potent than taking edibles.
What’s better—flower or edibles?
Both cannabis edibles and cannabis flower have unique benefits—neither product type is inherently better than the other. Some users might like the long-lasting effects of edibles, but just as many would prefer to avoid unnecessary ingredients when they ingest cannabis. Many dedicated cannabis fans love the natural, time-honored experience of smoking flower, but new users often dislike the feeling of smoke in their lungs.
What are the pros and cons of edibles?
- Edibles are convenient and tasty
- They often make cannabis more accessible for new users
- They deliver long-lasting effects
- Some find the effects of edibles overpowering
- Not everyone wants to consume carbs when they use cannabis
What are the pros and cons of vapes?
- Cannabis vapes are highly potent and easy to use
- There are lots of different kinds of vapes to choose from
- Many vapes are convenient to take from place to place
- The potency of vapes might be overwhelming for new users
- Vapes lack the “natural” feeling of smoking cannabis flower
What are the pros and cons of flower?
- Smoking cannabis flower is the classic, natural option
- The high from flower is milder and less overpowering
- You can smoke cannabis flower in tons of different ways
- Inhaling smoke isn’t for everyone
- Flower isn’t as potent as edibles or vapes
Are edibles, vapes, or flower best for new users?
Out of the three, flower is probably the best option for new cannabis users. Newbies might also enjoy edibles if they don’t like smoking, but they should be careful to only take small doses of edibles at first. Some cannabis vapes, like disposable vapes, might also be appropriate for new users, but newbies should stay away from dabs, which are complicated and extremely high-potency.
Are edibles, vapes, or flower best for experienced users?
For experienced, everyday cannabis users, vapes and flower are the most reliable. Edibles can be fun, but they don’t do much to break through your tolerance when you’re an everyday user. If the somewhat limited effects of flower aren’t doing it for you anymore, consider trying vapes instead, which offer enhanced potency.
Cannabis types compared FAQ
Still have questions regarding which type of cannabis product to choose as a new or experienced user? Check out the answers below:
1. Is dry herb vaping better?
Some users prefer vaping cannabis flower to smoking it. Vaping flower certainly has its benefits—the taste is more mild, and the vapor produced has much less of an odor compared to smoke.
Portable dry herb vapes, however, are notoriously finicky, and alternatives like the Volcano Classic are too cumbersome to take with you. Sometimes, the natural simplicity of smoking cannabis is sure to be preferable.
2. Do edibles count as concentrate?
Some states have separate categories for cannabis edibles and cannabis concentrate, but it’s just as common to see these two product types lumped into a single category. For hemp cannabinoids, this distinction is irrelevant—regardless of the product type, hemp products are regulated the same as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
3. Are edibles with live resin stronger?
Yes, if they contain live resin, cannabis edibles will most likely deliver stronger effects. Live resin enhances the benefits of cannabis terpenes to their fullest, and recent research indicates that terpenes may strengthen the entourage effect—a synergy that occurs when multiple cannabis compounds are used together.
4. How long do edibles last in your bloodstream?
Cannabinoids usually only remain detectable in your blood for around 3-4 hours. If you use cannabis edibles instead of flower or vapes, this window may extend to 6-8 hours, but a day after use, the cannabinoids in edibles will no longer be present in your blood.
5. Do edibles increase your heart rate?
For some people, using cannabis edibles can lead to increases in heart rate. This side effect is more likely to occur if you’re new to cannabis or ingest a large dose of cannabinoids, so start slow while gradually moving up in dosage if you’re concerned that eating edibles might make your heart beat too fast.