Some Consumers Choosing Marijuana Edibles Over Smoking

shutterstock 533424535
shutterstock 533424535

A new study by RTI International examined which methods of ingestion marijuana consumers preferred.

Many consumers prefer to eat marijuana products vs. smoking or vaping in states where the use of the drug has been legalized according to a new study.

RTI International examined marijuana consumer behavior in Colorado and Washington. Specifically, they focused on consumers who preferred edibles over flower.


“Our findings suggest that some people prefer edibles to smoking marijuana because there is no smell from smoke and no secondhand smoke,” Sheryl C. Cates, senior research public health analyst, said in a press release. “They also liked edibles over smoking for their convenience, discreetness, longer-lasting highs, and less intense highs,” said Cates, lead author for the study. Some participants also said that consuming edibles provided better pain and anxiety relief than smoking, Cates said.

Edibles do offer convenience and discretion but they can also create other issues. Because the effects of a marijuana edible can take up to two hours to set in, many ingest too much as they think what they ate is having no effect. While not fatal on its own, it can cause extreme anxiety. In one unfortunate case, a college student fell off of a balcony after ingesting six times the recommended amount of THC.

Colorado has since strengthened its labeling and safety warning requirements. Even more recently, Colorado authorities outlawed edible products in the shape of fruit or animals in order to make them less appealing to children.

Some study participants also reported a preference for edibles’ effectiveness for pain and anxiety management.

“Although this study did not examine whether edibles are used as a substitute for other drugs, a growing body of research suggests that greater availability of marijuana may reduce use of pain medications, and may reduce the frequency and amount of opioid consumption,” said Jane A. Allen, RTI research public health analyst.

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