Well, in my experience at least, the smoked high is a lot more intense. Not to say you can't reach those levels through edibles, if you eat enough, you definitely can. But like, a brownie or 2 vs. a bowl or 2, the bowl or 2 will get me a much more intense high. Eating is mellower, but lasts a lot longer. It doesn't seem to have as much of a "peak", if you will. It just kinda comes on as a nice relaxing buzz and stays that way for a few hours. Now, waiting for the edibles to kick in and then smoking a bowl or 2 always keeps me incredibly ripped for incredibly long, which is nice.
One dude said eating it reminded him of the burnt-out feeling you get after you smoke a lot, where you're all relaxed and slow and a little out of it. It's a little more pleasant than being burnt out, but it's a fairly accurate comparison.
Again, this is all in my opinion/experience. I'm sure anyone who's eaten really potent baked goods will chime in to tell you about how intense it can be and stuff, but in my experience, edibles are always real mellow.
As for which I prefer, it really depends what I have going on. If I need to be able to do stuff, a cookie or 2 is a nice way to make it a little more pleasant. If I can just get as stoned as I want, then smoking works better. Again, eating then smoking is really good.
In my opinion a good edible is a 6 to 8 hour narcotic indica dominate high.. no getting out. Did some 20 grams of recycled vape waste in coconut oil. Then I had to test it.. 4 teaspoons.
I don't recall much except the drive home was scary and I don't remember getting in bed. I'm one of those guys Mr Dunlap spoke of.. my edibles are incredibly intense and non-functional and a bit scary. But, shit, damn good medicine. The best for pain or sleep. The highest I have ever been is on edibles and they last so long.
A good vape for me.. the best vape for me was last week, incredible oil on a concentrate pad via a volcano.. whoa.. a good 90 minute intense sativa dominate high (almost psychedelic). (Volcano calls their pad a "liquid pad".)
I believe this is the only way to vape oil or hash. You've never tasted hash or hash oil till you've vaped them with a liquid/concentrate pad in a volcano. Trust me on this one.
In my experience, edibles have gotten me the highest I've ever been - I'm talking non-functioning scary highs, where the words coming out of my mouth made absolutely no sense and couldn't particularly be conceived to mean anything.
That was really only once though. I ate about an 1/8th which I cooked into some pasta sauce with some olive oil. I just simmered the weed in the olive oil and then poured some pasta sauce that my mom had made.
I've experimented with lower doses and I still get really high, but not non-functional. For example, I made a Leary biscuit with about a gram (a bit more, an 1/8th made three biscuits and we eyeballed them) and that was probably the second highest I've ever been. Really good high, though my friend who had not been smoking for too long had a pretty scary experience. I find that when I smoke or vape there is a threshold I cannot get past. This may be due to my high tolerance as of late. When I use edibles, on the other hand, I find that my high just keeps going up and up and up for about an hour or 2, then it plateaus for about 3 or 4 hours, then I slowly come down for about an hour or two. They can be very intense, even borderline psychedelic.
I would say that vapor highs are much more similar to moderate dose edibles than to smoking. For one thing, smoking makes everything "jagged," for a lack of a better word. I guess it would be better to say that vapor highs and edible highs are clear headed (at low doses at least with regards to edibles) and smoking is not. If I had to guess I'd say it's probably due to the many chemicals in smoke that result from combustion.