RecreationalEdibles vs. Smokeables vs. Tinctures: Comparing & Contrasting


The cannabis boom is finally here. The health and recreational benefits that have been buried for almost 100 years now are coming back to life. This boom is not without challenges though and the main one has been confusion. It is like being released from serving a 100 year jail term and you are trying to adjust and live normally – hard. Everyone is trying to get a share of the benefits be it health, economic or simply recreational.

Cannabis is found in various forms with a wide spectrum of health benefits including the management of chronic pain, regulation and prevention of diseases like diabetes, improvement of the lung capacity, regularizing seizures, treating depression, fighting cancer and so forth. The first question that usually comes to mind is how to use cannabis for maximum health or recreational benefits. Should you ingest, smoke or simply take it as a concentrate/ tincture? To understand this, it is necessary to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each form.



Cannabis or CBD edibles are those treats that you can eat and is by far the easiest method of CBD consumption. They are made by infusing CBD in drinks, beverages, candies, chocolates, gummies and more. They are created following the standard food production procedures and have an advantage of being tasty and one can choose a product depending on the levels or ratio of CBD/THC that it has.

Smokeables/vapes are inhaled and they have an advantage of a higher bioavailability and a quicker onset as it permeates easily into the interior of lungs.

Cannabis tinctures are alcohol or flavored oil- based cannabis extracts. The flavor makes them palatable and they also tend to be affordable hence good for beginners and experienced users alike. They can be incorporated in all kinds of meals and drinks like juices, ice cream, gelatin, soups, salad dressing and even gravy. They are however quickly absorbed when taken sublingually.



CBD products are now being advertised everywhere as a cure all and it is normal for businesses to want to sell it in any attractive form. It is true that orally administered CBDs are effective but only at high doses since its bioavailability is very low (maximum 4% -20%). What this means is that only below 20% of the drug will enter into circulation and cause the desired effect.

The figure is very low for edibles compared to smokeables that have very high bioavailability of around 40%. Tinctures have a bioavailability of between 13% – 20% which is comparable to edibles but a maximum of 35% is achieved when taken sublingually.

The implication of the different rates of bioavailability is that you will need a higher dose when using edibles and tinctures than when using smokeables.  Besides, the effect is felt faster when using a CBD with a higher bioavailability although the retention time will be lower.



The importance of dosing when it comes to the consumption of various CBD products cannot be underestimated. Potency is the measure of the strength of the drug such that a highly potent drug produces a response at lower concentrations compared to a low potency one that takes higher concentrations to produce an effect. The digestion process delays the onset of edibles and this usually causes potential overconsumption for those who are trying it for the first time.

The intensity and longevity of the effects produced by the edibles depends on various factors including an individual’s metabolic rate, weight, sex, amount of food ingested and genetics in general. Anything that skips the digestion process will easily enter into the bloodstream and that is the case with smokeables and tinctures although not as easily injectables.

Vape oils can be very potent and tasty too but not everyone finds inhaling appealing. Tinctures are a good way of consumption for both recreational and medical consumers especially for those who prefer the smokeless route. Since they can be measured with an eye dropper, tinctures are easy to dose, have a fast onset and are discrete.


Availability and pricing

Talking of cannabis products without looking at its economic aspects is like going to the market without any money. The cannabis market is growing as products continue to expand with many of them now popping up in saloons, spas, health stores and retail shops all over the U.S.

CBD products are expensive to produce at least yet and the cost per milligram of CBD is between 5 and 20 cents. Cannabis prices will eventually come down but may be not in a few years but when the current strict regulations and requirements are done away with. As long as it is still considered the devils lettuce by the federal government, nothing much is expected to change.

As for the availability of legal cannabis, they are available in all states that have legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes or both. The edibles, tinctures and smokeables are equally available in the market.



After going through the different forms of cannabis, making the right choices can still be overwhelming. The best route of administration actually depends on what you need: a quick peak of CBD or a slow, steadier concentration of it.

It also depends on whether you enjoy the vape, the taste of the tincture or simply prefer just to ingest it in your favorite treat such as ice cream, beverage or gum.

Everybody is different hence there is no standard dose. Start with a very low dose of 1 or 2 drops of tincture, a tiny puff or a small edible serving then wait until the effect has peaked before trying a slightly higher dose. Wait for at least 6 hours for any oral formula.

In terms of quality, you need to remember that some manufacturers are less trustworthy than others and the different sources will definitely have different effects. So, go for a full or broad spectrum product as compared to the pure isolates in order to reap the full benefits of cannabis compounds

The information within this website is for educational, recreational, and informational purposes only. The content produced is not to be substituted for actual medical, health, or legal advice. Click for terms of service, disclaimers, and privacy information.

Photos courtesy of and unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2020 – Michigan Marijuana Facts, a service of WSJM Inc. / Mid-West Family – Southwest Michigan