How To Choose Between Edibles, Inhalables, & Sublinguals

How To Choose Between Edibles, Inhalables, & Sublinguals

Cannabis has been a controversial plant ever since its discovery, with some cultures embracing it wholeheartedly (Morocco) and others outraged at its very existence (Egypt). In the Western Hemisphere, it’s the United States that has undergone a radical transformation in its stance on cannabis. Some states have gone so far as to legalize its use for both recreational and personal use with other states that are sure to follow. For consumers new to the cannabis scene, it can be challenging to know where to start. You’ll remember the scene in Alice in Wonderland where there’s an array of consumables on a little glass table that say “drink me” and “eat me” with no further explanation. The world of cannabis is a bit like that, especially with the variety of cannabis products on today’s market. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look on exactly what each product type is and whether or not they’re right for you. Let’s begin! 

Edibles: Eat Me!

The term “edibles” is very broad but is used to bring all orally consumed products into one category. Gummies, candies, softgels, “funny” baked goods, and chocolates are all things that are eaten and digested. Edibles are the go-to product type for beginners but are highly enjoyed by cannabis lovers of all ages. You won’t need any special hardware to enjoy edibles but you should be very careful with how much you consume. Some edibles will taste delicious and may tempt you to consume more than a single dose. It’s always recommended to start off with a small amount and gradually increase the amount consumed once you figure out your ideal dosage. Remember that you can always take more, but it’s impossible to reverse how powerful the high gets if you consume too strong of a dosage in one sitting. The high from edibles can take anywhere from 45–90 minutes to kick in, and the high can last for several hours. 

Sublinguals: Savor Me! 

Sublinguals are a product type that can be loosely associated with edibles, but with a very important difference: they must be held under the tongue. Sublingual product types like tinctures and oils derive their name from the Latin “sub” (under) and “lingual” (tongue). Sublinguals are released under the tongue and held for a few minutes; anything remaining under the tongue is safe to swallow. The liquid permeates the mucous membrane under the tongue and is absorbed into the bloodstream much quicker than edibles. Since the majority of the sublingual bypasses the digestive system, you’ll feel the same effects and duration of the high but typically faster than edibles.  

You don’t need any specialized hardware to consume tinctures, but you should pay special attention to how much you take. Some droppers come with special markings to help you precisely dose, while others you’ll have to roughly estimate and keep track of for next time. Sublinguals can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to kick in, and the high is quite long lasting. Some users report feeling the effects the next day as well, so you’ll want to be mindful of how much and when you consume them. 

Inhalables: Breath Me! 

The category of “inhalables” refers to any product that requires inhalation to consume. Some common inhalable products are vape carts (disposable and screw-in), pre-rolls, dried flowers, and dabs. All inhalables will require some form of extra hardware to be used. Some disposable devices may be rechargeable, so you’ll need to charge them once the battery life expres. Vape cartridges will need to be screwed into a pen-style battery to heat up the liquid into a vapor. Pre-rolls must be lighted while dried flowers will need to be ground up and packed into rolling papers/cones before lighting up. Dab syringes will need to be warmed and “dabbed” onto pre-rolls or joints; they can also be used in a dab rig. 

Those choosing inhalables should have some prior knowledge of smoking/vaping or someone with experience to guide them on how to use them properly. Inhalables are excellent choices for those looking to enjoy a quick high with very minimal wait time; if you’re struggling with motivation, creativity, or are simply impatient to get high, inhalables typically kick in after 5 minutes and will last for an hour or so. 

Which Product Type Is The Best? 

If you ask three different cannabis users which product type is best, you’ll probably get three different answers. This isn’t to say that they’re wrong; the best product type to them is based on their preferences. The “best” product type for you depends on your situation. Are you looking to kill time on a day off? Do you need a quick burst of inspiration or a way to relax quickly? How long do you want the high to last? Would you be willing to wait an hour or so to feel the effects or are you impatient for the high to begin? You see how the word “best” is a relative term. Here’s a chart of some of the pros and cons for the three different types of cannabis products. 

Product Type




Onset Time

45-90+ minutes

30-60+ minutes

5-15+ minutes


Processed in liver before entering bloodstream via digestion system

Absorbed into the mucous membrane under tongue; remainder is digested

Absorbed into the bloodstream via lungs; bypasses the digestive system. 


Intense high; duration 4-6 hours

Intense high; duration of 4-12 hours 

Moderate high; duration 1-3 hours

Ease of Use

Great for beginners; no additional hardware needed

No additional hardware needed. May need to measure with marked dropper

Additional hardware required. Ideal for those with vaping or smoking experience


No known downsides

No known downsides

Coughing fits and shortness of breath may occur. Not recommended for those with heart/lung issues. 


5-15mg to start; increase by 5mg over time to find ideal dose

5-15mg to start; increase by 5mg over time to find ideal dose

1-2 hits to start. Gradually add additional hits over time


Easy to consume; often mistaken for non-THC varieties. 

Somewhat easy to consume. May be a bit tricky to dose without marked dropper

Lingering aroma and clouds may attract attention. Best used outside or in a ventilated room. 

Are There Any Side Effects With Certain Cannabis Products? 

As you explore the different types of cannabis products, you may wonder if certain product types have differing side effects. The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no, but rather “it depends.” For example, inhalables may cause you to cough or sneeze depending on how sensitive you are to the smoke, flavor, terpenes, or deepness of the hit. With edibles and sublinguals, you may notice a stronger hemp flavor, bitterness, or unpleasant aftertaste once you finish consuming it. These side effects are typically short-lived and easily eradicated with a glass of water or brushing your teeth.

During and after the high, you may notice more pronounced side effects. For example, edibles and sublinguals may leave you with reddened eyes, pronounced thirst, increased appetite, and others that won’t dissipate until the high wears off. Inhalables may carry the same effects but can wear off once the high lessens over the course of an hour or so. You may also experience drowsiness, elevated heart rate, or uneasiness from all three product types. Granted, these side effects will be short-lived with inhalables in comparison to edibles and sublinguals, so be sure to keep this in mind when choosing a product type. 

Yet not all the side effects are bad. You may experience enhanced creativity, motivation, uplifted mood swings, euphoria, heightened sense of taste/smell/touch, and increased sense of humor. These side effects will be more prolonged with edibles and sublinguals, as the high will last considerably longer than the high from an inhalable.  Be sure to keep your favorite snacks and beverages on hand for any cottonmouth or munchies, and consider keeping a journal to remember anything you enjoyed or disliked throughout the high. 

Final Thoughts

Cannabis product types are incredibly varied throughout the industry. You’ll see a huge variety of edibles, sublinguals, and inhalables that include strength, flavor, and size. Your preference for a particular product type may vary from your peers, and that’s completely okay! Many consumers are staunchly against inhalables due to health concerns while others want to avoid the sugar, aftertaste, and wait time from edibles and sublinguals. Your product type should cater to your preferences; remember it’s not a popularity contest…it boils down to what you enjoy the most. 

Remember that chart we had in the middle of the article? That chart can help you decide what you’re willing to deal with, whether that be onset times, discretion, high duration, and so forth.  

The important thing to keep in mind is to start off slow with the amount you consume and work your way up. It’s also crucial to ensure your product was crafted with premium high-quality ingredients. Consult the product CoA (Certificate of Authenticity) to see the test results of the product in question. Ask lots of questions if you’re unsure about something and try to keep an open mind when trying a product for the first time. Cannabis has been used for centuries to aid with a plethora of physical and mental ailments. It’s exciting to see how much cannabis has helped others and even more exciting on how it can help you. In honor of 4/20, it’s “high time” you and cannabis got better acquainted. Should you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us! We look forward to helping you understand the wonders of this fascinating plant and all it has to offer. 

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