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Edibles vs. Smoking: Which is Cheaper and Which is Better?

Edibles vs. Smoking: Which is Cheaper and Which is Better?

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Since the legalization of hemp, the cannabis industry has grown in both popularity and variety. The rise in demand has brought with it new ways to enjoy cannabinoids, from trendy THC-infused seltzers to rechargeable Delta-8 vapes.

Still, classic flower and edibles continue to reign in the market for their tried-and-true reputation. While prices are relatively steady, newcomers want to know the difference between edibles and smoking costs to get the best bang for their buck.

If you’re ready to enjoy the euphoric effects of cannabis but want to save money, you’ve come to the right place. This article will shed light on the price and overall value of each product by considering factors like convenience, effects, and more. 

Smoking vs. Edibles: Pros & Cons

Before we get into edibles vs. smoking costs, let’s go over the benefits and drawbacks of these consumption methods. 

Smoking: Pros & Cons

car dashboard with blunt, grinded flower and herb grinder on console

Smoking is a process of inhaling cannabinoids. Typically, this consumption method entails lighting a joint of cannabis flower, but other tools like water pipes are available.
  • Smoking is known to offer nearly immediate results. Compared to ediles, it has a faster onset and a shorter duration of effects
  • The effects of smoking tend to be described as more of a head-high since the cannabinoids pass directly through the lungs (as opposed to your digestive system).
  • Depending on the quality, smoking flower may encourage the entourage effect as it contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
  • Smoke can leave a noticeable scent behind, and while we all love the smell of cannabis, you don't want it to linger. Just make sure to have a scented candle or an air freshener ready or smoke outside. 
  • Snoking typically involves more work and tools and can be "messier" than edibles (at least, store-bought edibles).

Edibles: Pros & Cons

chocolate chip cookie edibles with cannabis buds on top

Edibles are cannabis-infused food products that can come in forms ranging from gummies to baked goods to candies.
  • Edibles taste delicious (if made correctly), making them a treat in more ways than one!
  • Edibles can be enjoyed anywhere, as they are odorless, discreet, and convenient.
  • Edibles offer more intense effects overall since orally ingested cannabinoids are processed by your digestive system and liver, which converts THC into a stronger "form." This THC builds up and releases from your body's fat reserves.
  • The ingredients of a typical Delta-9 brownie include butter or oil, which are types of fats. Lipids boost your body's bioavailability, defined simply as the rate of absorbing THC. 
  • Lab-tested edibles from reputable brands have consistent cannabinoid content.
  • Unlike smoking, edibles take a longer time to activate (slower onset) but the duration of effects can be much, much longer. For a beginner, this means you don't know how or when you'll start feeling the effects of a particular cannabinoid. A good rule of thumb is to start a timer after you consume an edible to gauge your body’s typical onset of effects. 
  • If you're making edibles at home, the process might be time-consuming and messy- especially if it includes decarbing flower. 
  • With homemade edibles, the cannabinoid content per piece is inconsistent and unpredictable.

Which is Better?

Before we dive into the typical costs associated with each method, you've probably already noticed that there can be a big gap between the prices. The above list helps to highlight the fact that each of them has notable advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you're looking for, one might be more ideal or "worth it" than the other.

For example, if you’re chilling at home but not trying to draw attention to yourself, it may be best to stick with edibles. But if you want to quickly experience the euphoric effects of cannabis, smoking flower may be the ideal route you take.

How Much Does Smoking Cost?

cannabis buds

Inhalation is likely the oldest cannabis consumption method known to man, with evidence of burning cannabis dating as far back as 5,000 years ago. 

Even with the dawn of more contemporary methods like vaping, cannabis enthusiasts love the aromatic and euphoric experience smoking offers and continue to cherish it as a time-honored tradition.

But with modern-day advances in farming and new tools to use, does smoking cost more than edibles?

Premium Flower vs. Average Flower

The cost of flower is based on a number of factors: 
  • The state you live in (this determines base price and taxes)
  • Whether you purchase it online (which may have associated shipping costs) or from a local dispensary (which may charge extra)
  • The farm on which it was grown
  • And most importantly, the quality of the flower itself.
Therefore, you can find a range of prices for cannabis flower online. But if it costs less than $25 for 1/8 oz, run in the other direction. 

Yes, premium hemp flower will cost more, but you’ll find that this cost is reflected in the quality of the product. Experientially, high-quality hemp flower contains a higher concentration of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other compounds, which give you a desirable full-spectrum synergy.

Plus, when you buy premium hemp, your product is likely lab-certified, untainted with pesticides or chemicals, and Farm Bill-compliant. All of this will be shown in the flower's Certificate of Analysis (COA). 

And at Hometown Hero, our products go beyond the standards. All of our flower is grown on U.S. soil and are third-party tested for compliance, safety, and quality. Plus, it can be delivered right to your door with free priority shipping! Our online store carries a rotation of THCA flower or Delta-8 flower strains to suit your preferences. 

But if you’re buying flower, whether it’s from our brand or another, you are going to need some accessories.

Don’t Forget About the Tools

ground up cannabis flower in a steel herb grinder

Often, beginners forget about the additional cost of tools. With this consumption method, you not only need to purchase flower but smoking accessories too.

Some items you may need include:
  • A grinder
  • A lighter
  • Rolling paper
  • A pipe/water pipe (optional)
The cost of the items above can range anywhere from $5-$250 each, all of which depend on how much you are willing to pay.

You might be tempted to buy the cheapest option, but the quality of your tools will determine the smoothness and flavor of the smoke. So, rather than a short-term fix, it’s best to look at these items as a long-term investment.

To ensure you experience premium flower at its best, find pipes that are made with borosilicate glass. This type of glass is durable and resistant to thermal shock, which means it won’t crack as easily as other materials, allowing you to enjoy your glass pipe for years.

A cost-effective alternative to a pipe is rolling paper. With that, you will simply need a lighter and of course, a grinder.

A grinder is arguably the most important item on the list. Without one, you have to break apart the flower by hand, which will place you in a sticky situation. Pun intended. Stainless steel herb grinders are going to guarantee longevity and durability, however, $20 options also exist.

The Cost of Edibles

fudgy brownies hometown hero

Are Homemade Edibles Cheaper?

With some creativity and cooking, you can turn your favorite recipes into THC-infused edibles, while potentially keeping money in your pocket. But making edibles correctly takes trial and error, and lots of ingredients. 

With homemade edibles, the cost analysis will look quite similar to smoking. Depending on the recipe, you’ll need to buy flower, distillate, or a tincture. You’ll also have to consider the cost of things like butter, sugar, flour, and basic cooking tools. 

One notable downside here is that homemade edibles are nearly impossible to “dose” consistently. Unless you are willing to mess up a batch or two, which itself can waste some money, it might be best to stick with store-bought edibles. 

So, let’s look at the average cost of edibles that you'd find online, which take cooking and the associated costs out of the equation.

Store-Bought Edibles Cost

Since the manufacturers do all the heavy lifting, the price of your average edible can range from $5-$60.

The production of edibles involves some sort of cannabinoid distillate being incorporated into traditional cooking methods. With gummies, the distillate will be infused into the mixture or, with cheaper brands, sprayed on at the end. With baked goods, it will be stirred into the batter before cooking.

The final price will ultimately depend on the quality of the product, the number of servings, and the total amount of THC within them

You will notice that the higher the concentration of THC in a piece, the higher the price. Things get even more complicated when you throw in potent concentrates such as Live Rosin or if the edible features a “blend” of cannabinoids like THC, CBD, THCP, or THCV. These ingredients will make your experience more intense but also may raise the price per piece.

Another variable that can affect the cost of edibles is the state you live in, applicable taxes, and the company you purchase from.

All things considered, edibles still come out cheaper than smoking when you consider the upfront costs. Just remember that, like with flower, you should spring for a trustworthy product even if it costs you a few dollars more. If you find a dirt-cheap edible, it's probably just a gummy that's sprayed with distillate (which tastes unpleasant and doesn't deliver a consistent experience) or it hasn't been lab-tested. Such products could put your health at risk or even put you in legal jeopardy due to noncompliant concentrations of THC.

Rest assured that all of Hometown Hero's edibles are third-party tested in a DEA-certified lab, and are infused to ensure enhanced flavor and consistency! You can choose from a wide range of baked goods, taffies, or gummies in Live Rosin, HHC, Delta-8, or Delta-9 varieties. 

How Do Other Hemp Products Compare?

Back in 2019, MJBizDaily shared the results of a data analysis on the price of THC in cannabis-infused products.

The data shows that the average price per milligram of THC in edibles is 20 cents or less, with THC-infused topicals and tinctures averaging at 32 cents per milligram.

These prices are high, but keep in mind, that this is based on marijuana-derived Delta-9.

While there is still a lot more data to uncover between hemp brands, we are aware that according to some sources, hemp-derived Delta-8 can average between 6 to 10 cents per milligram. Talk about a huge difference in price!

But beyond the price per milligram, there are many other variables to consider when discussing the overall cost of a high-quality product. Some important factors to look at are taste, quality control, and most importantly, lab testing for safety.

Which is Cheaper: Edibles or Flower?

Considering the upfront costs of smoking, store-bought edibles come out as the cheaper option. Even premium edibles offer a bang for your buck when you consider how much it would cost to make a comparable edible yourself. These products usually come in a pack that can last you multiple sessions, whereas flower could be gone in a few short sessions. 

But remember, the experience you get from an edible will be completely different from what you'd get from smoking. Even when considering the same milligrams of THC, your body will process cannabinoids differently depending on the consumption method.

So if you enjoy the effects of one over the other, you shouldn't compare the two based on price. Instead, choose the product that will meet your needs! 

Until next time, happy exploring, and mind your mind.

FDA Disclaimer:
 The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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