The ins and outs of smoking CBD
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- The difference between smoking CBD and THC
- Why consumption method matters
- The benefits of smoking CBD
- The side effects of smoking CBD
- Hemp flower vs. high-CBD flower
- How does smoking CBD feel?
- Frequently asked questions
You’ve likely seen cannabidiol (CBD) everywhere from drugstore gummies to boutique coffee concoctions. But there’s reason to believe smoking high-CBD flower might be one of the most effective ways to experience the potential benefits of CBD.
If you’re curious about smoking CBD flower and want to explore the pros and cons, this is the guide for you. And if you’re looking for a literal guide to smoking, we have a guide for that, too.
Many consumers typically prefer consuming or smoking CBD through a pipe, joint, or vape pen. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The difference between smoking CBD and THC
Contrary to popular belief, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD have a lot in common. They’re the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and they both have the potential to help with anxiety. They even have the same chemical structure (the atoms are just arranged differently). The main difference between THC and CBD can be summed up in one word: intoxication.
CBD is often touted as nonpsychoactive or having no psychoactive effects, but it’s more accurately described as nonintoxicating. Why? Even though CBD won’t get you high, that subtly calm feeling you might experience after taking some CBD tincture is technically a psychoactive effect. Any substance that has a direct effect on the function of the brain is considered psychoactive. By contrast, THC can be intoxicating even at low doses.
Both THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Why this happens has to do with how THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The human endocannabinoid system consists of the cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. The body’s most studied cannabinoid receptors are the Cannabinoid-1 and Cannabinoid-2 receptors (CB1 and CB2), and they are found in the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and the immune system.
THC binds with the CB1 receptors in the brain to produce that classic weed high, while CBD has been shown to have the opposite interaction with CB1 receptors, acting as an antagonist. When consumed together, CBD appears to improve the therapeutic and enjoyable effects of THC by minimizing the unwanted side effects such as anxiety and a rapid heartbeat.
The bioavailability of CBD is greater through the lungs than through the gut. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Why consumption method matters
The consumption method plays a critical role in how long it will take to feel the effects of CBD. Inhalation is considered an effective delivery method for CBD because of how quickly the body absorbs it. When CBD is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids enter the lungs and then the bloodstream, circulating throughout the body from there.
While some cannabis consumers and patients prefer to take their CBD through oral administration or topical application, others have found inhalation to be the most effective way to consume. And there may be some science to support this preference.
According to Dr. Adie Rae, a neuroscientist and scientific adviser to Weedmaps, “The bioavailability of CBD is greater through the lungs than through the gut. Specifically, about half of the CBD you inhale makes it into the blood, but only 5% of the CBD you eat gets into your blood.” A Chemistry & Biodiversity study published in 2017 confirms this, stating that while the bioavailability can vary based on how the CBD is smoked, “smoking… provides a rapid and efficient method of drug delivery from the lungs to the brain.”
As an added benefit, the effects are felt almost immediately after inhalation. The effects of edibles, on the other hand, can take up to two hours to kick in.
Smoking CBD flower is an efficient way to experience the potential benefits of CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The benefits of smoking CBD
Of the emerging research into CBD’s potential medical benefits, there is concrete scientific evidence for its effectiveness in the treatment of epilepsy by reducing seizures. So much so that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based drug to treat childhood epilepsy. But that’s the only hard scientific evidence on the cannabinoid.
Anecdotally, cannabis consumers have used CBD to alleviate depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain. But until multiple studies confirm the anecdotal benefits of CBD and the benefits of smoking CBD specifically, that’s all they are — anecdotal.
The good news is there is a lot of clinical evidence that CBD is safe to consume, even in large quantities. A clinical trial published in CNS Drugs in 2019 showed that healthy individuals who received 1500 mg of CBD twice per day experienced very few adverse reactions and all were mild. For context, most CBD products on the market today contain 10 mg per serving.
Because CBD poses minimal risks even in large quantities, you should be able to experiment with smoking CBD flower without fear of overdoing it.
The only way to find out if CBD works for you is to try it. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The side effects of smoking CBD
Because smoking CBD involves — no shocker here — smoke inhalation, there is the risk of developing respiratory issues. Whenever you combust plant material, toxins called polyaromatic hydrocarbons form. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons exist in both tobacco and cannabis smoke and exposing yourself to those toxins is one of the risks of smoking weed.
Luckily, smoking cannabis doesn’t have the same risks as smoking cigarettes. While smoking CBD flower in excess may lead to respiratory issues (like bronchitis or, in severe cases, COPD), there has been no causal link found between smoking weed and cancer, one of the biggest risks associated with smoking cigarettes. Smoking anything, including cannabis, has potential risks.
A 2007 study published in the Harm Reduction Journal examined self-reported respiratory symptoms in participants who used cigarettes and cannabis. The study found that using a vaporizer could decrease respiratory symptoms in regular cannabis users who smoke.
In addition to possible respiratory issues caused by smoke inhalation, CBD does interact with some prescription drugs so check with your doctor before smoking it.
Hemp flower vs. high-CBD flower
While they may sound similar, the difference will largely dictate where you can buy these products — or if you can buy them at all.
Hemp flower and high-CBD flower may look the same, but they’re legally very different. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The hemp plant produces a broad range of cannabinoids, including THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid in marijuana. However, hemp does not produce enough THC to be intoxicating when consumed.
Although the hemp plant doesn’t produce a significant amount of THC, it is capable of producing the non-intoxicating and medicinally rich CBD in high concentrations. And certain strains of hemp produce flowers that look indistinguishable from the high-THC cannabis you’ll find at legal dispensaries.
Many countries differentiate hemp from marijuana by the amount of THC produced. In the US, industrial hemp is defined as a Cannabis sativa L. plant containing no more than 0.3% THC by weight. Thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, you can legally buy hemp flower online in nearly every state.
High-CBD flower is only available for purchase in licensed dispensaries in states where it’s legal since it contains THC levels higher than the cutoff for hemp. While it contains higher levels of CBD than most cannabis flower on the legal market, it’ll typically contain significant levels of THC as well.
How does smoking CBD feel?
The experience of smoking CBD vary depending on the product and the individual who is consuming the CBD. For example, dabbing a pure CBD isolate will likely cause different effects than hitting a high-CBD vape pen that also contains some THC.
While CBD won’t get you high or intoxicated, it may provide a sense of calm, relaxation, and well-being. Depending on the dose and the individual, CBD might have sleepy, relaxed, happy, or even energetic vibes. While there are no serious side effects reported with CBD, overconsumption can cause drowsiness.
In addition to feelings of relaxation, some report feeling a quick relief of swelling and pain after smoking CBD.
In addition to a feeling of relaxation, smoking CBD has been reported to provide quick relief of swelling and pain. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Frequently asked questions
Is smoking CBD safe?
While more research into the effectiveness of CBD consumption methods is needed, most evidence suggests that smoking CBD flower will not cause intoxication. The primary concern for users is getting unadulterated CBD and, for those who prefer smoking, the potential long-term consequences for the lungs. CBD does interact with some prescription drugs so check with your doctor before trying it.
Can you smoke CBD oil?
CBD can be infused into a variety of products, including vape juice, edibles, capsules, and CBD oil tinctures. CBD tinctures are strictly for ingestion, while CBD oils are made for inhalation.
CBD vape juice, sometimes referred to as CBD vape oil, may vary in concentration depending on state-specific laws. It is legal in 30 states. Another 17 states have CBD-specific laws that enable some level of use or consumption.
CBD can be infused into a variety of products, including vape juice, edibles, capsules, and CBD oil tinctures. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The FDA has not stepped in to regulate CBD products, but in 2018 the FDA approved the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, for treating epilepsy.
Rick Simpson Oil, named after its Canadian developer who claims he cured his own skin cancer with a custom blend of cannabis oil, is a popular form of CBD oil that is commonly smoked.
CBD oil derived from industrial hemp plants only contains CBD, while marijuana-derived products, such as Rick Simpson Oil, have a high concentration of THC and the full range of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
Does CBD kill your high?
The answer isn’t clear, but CBD has demonstrated the ability to moderate a high produced from THC by preventing the body from absorbing it. Some people say they use CBD when they get too high to reduce the effects. Evidence suggests CBD actually interferes with the activity of the CB1 receptor, especially in the presence of THC.
So, when THC and CBD work together to affect CB1 receptor activity, users tend to feel a more mellow high and are said to have a reduced chance of experiencing paranoia compared with the effects felt when CBD is absent in a product. This synergistic relationship is often referred to as the “entourage effect,” which explains why certain combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes seem to enhance the benefits of cannabis.
The ins and outs of smoking CBD Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents The difference between smoking CBD and THC Why consumption method matters
Best CBD Cigarettes 2021
Redwood Reserves are the highest-quality CBD hemp cigarettes you can find. The hemp in their cigarettes is organic-farmed which provides excellent flavor and effects.
- What are hemp (CBD) cigarettes?
- What are CBD cigarettes good for?
- Pros and cons of hemp cigarettes
- What’s inside of a CBD cigarette?
What are hemp (CBD) cigarettes?
Hemp cigarettes are one of the many CBD products gaining in popularity. Like tobacco cigarettes, they’re generally sold in packs of 20 and utilize similar filters. What’s inside them is just smokable hemp, made from either industrial hemp or high CBD strains. There are detectable amounts of THC in these cigarettes, but within the legal limit of 0.3%—a level too low for intoxication. However, be advised that smoking CBD cigarettes carry the same risk as using any full-spectrum CBD product: you may fail a drug test.
If you’re not concerned about drug tests and you’re looking for a smokable alternative to tobacco cigarettes, these might work for you. They provide a similar experience, form-factor, and they can even produce a calming effect. But smoking anything exposes you to carcinogens and carbon monoxide. Hemp CBD cigarettes are not a “safe smoke.” On the other hand, there’s research to suggest that consuming CBD may help you quit smoking tobacco by reducing your cravings for nicotine. If you think smoking CBD can help you, do yourself a favor and try some of the best quality hemp cigarettes on the market.
Redwood Reserve CBD cigarettes are rolled with organically farmed hemp. Each Redwood Reserve cigarette has between 75-100 mg of CBD, which makes these cigarettes a good smoke as well as a solid source of cannabidiol. Packs contain 6 or 20 cigarettes. Cartons and even loosies are available too.
Nu-X CBD Hemperettes
Nu-X Hemperettes are a better alternative to smoking cigarettes. Each pack provides a total of 1200 mg CBD, with 60 mg each. They are made with pure hemp flower, which provides full spectrum cannabidiol. They also contain less than 0.3% THC, so they’re non-psychoactive and have been independently lab tested for purity.
Diesel Puff is an uplifting sativa similar to the popular Sour Diesel. It features that classic sour aroma paired with notes of gas, earth and hints of pine and citrus. These joints are made with premium CBD hemp flower–no shake, trim or biomass. Each one contains 0.6 grams of bud with 124 mg of cannabinoids in total.
Wild Hemp Hempettes
Run wild with these hempettes. Each pack of Wild Hemp contains 20 perfectly rolled and filtered hemp cigarettes with a total of 1500 mg of CBD. Available in original, menthol, sweet, and pineapple. They’re a nice alternative to tobacco cigarettes and also serve as a good CBD-rich filler for your joints.
LuckyLeaf hemp cigarettes are a staple in many smoke shops. These hemp cigarettes come in packs of 10 along with a COA to back up CBD content. With up to 75 mg of CBD content, these smokes are guaranteed to help you relax. LucklyLeaf uses the same type and color filter as normal cigarettes, making them more discreet.
What are CBD cigarettes good for?
The primary objective of hemp cigarettes is to provide an alternative to smoking tobacco. Today they are also being marketed as “CBD cigarettes”, since hemp provides the many known benefits of CBD, without the addictive and harmful ingredients found in cigarettes. The same can be said for vaping, however some smokers might find hemp to be the perfect middle ground between the two.
The entire experience is reminiscent of cigarettes from beginning to end. They come in the same cardboard box that you can pack to your heart’s content. You still get to pull that little foil piece off, and they utilize the same filters that you’re familiar with. They also can be legally purchased online and in many locations.
Hemp cigarettes are not intended to get you high or provide the same flavor as a joint filled with high-grade cannabis. They do produce a slight weed aroma because, at the end of the day, hemp is just very low-THC cannabis. If you just want to replace your pack of smokes, hemp cigarettes might just be the solution.
Pros and cons of hemp cigarettes
While hemp cigarettes are not for everyone, they might be exactly what you need depending on your current situation. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of hemp cigarettes from an objective standpoint. Some of these may or may not apply to you, but they are all certainly worth considering.
- Provide a true cigarette experience
- Come in packs of 20 with filters
- Don’t require any rolling experience
- Natural source of cannabidiol
- Not addictive like tobacco
- No harmful added chemicals
- Federally legal (as of 2018)
- Contain less than 0.3% THC
- Easy transition from traditional cigarettes
- Made with industrial hemp (not trimmed buds)
- Not the highest cannabinoid and terpene content
- They produce a faint weed smell
- May have added flavors
- Might not satisfy your nicotine cravings
- Not as widely available as tobacco cigarettes
What’s inside of a CBD cigarette?
If you were to open a hemp cigarette, chances are it will most likely be filled with industrial hemp. Not that bright green stuff covered in crystals and hairs. Industrial hemp looks a lot more like tobacco, but with a golden brown or slightly green hue. If you’re familiar with marijuana, industrial hemp is essentially the “brick weed” of hemp. It doesn’t look spectacular, but it gets the job done. The job, in this case, is to provide an alternative to tobacco, along with the benefits of CBD. If you are looking for the dankest smoke, you’re better off with the best CBD pre-rolls that contain up to five times more cannabinoids and terpenes!
These hemp cigarettes provide the full experience of a cigarette without the tobacco or nicotine. Here's the best you can buy right now.