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The ins and outs of smoking CBD

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Contents

  1. The difference between smoking CBD and THC
  2. Why consumption method matters
  3. The benefits of smoking CBD
  4. The side effects of smoking CBD
  5. Hemp flower vs. high-CBD flower
  6. How does smoking CBD feel?
  7. 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.

smoking a bubbler

Many consumers typically prefer consuming or smoking CBD through a pipe, joint, or vape pen. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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smoking a bubbler

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

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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.

smoking joint in bed

The bioavailability of CBD is greater through the lungs than through the gut. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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smoking joint in bed

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.

cbd joints

Smoking CBD flower is an efficient way to experience the potential benefits of CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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cbd joints

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

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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.

marijuana plant

Hemp flower and high-CBD flower may look the same, but they’re legally very different. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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marijuana plant

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

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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.

weed concentrate vape pen

CBD can be infused into a variety of products, including vape juice, edibles, capsules, and CBD oil tinctures. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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weed concentrate vape pen

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 Vape Pens 2021

avida cbd disposable vape

This is the easiest way to enjoy Avida’s best vape juice flavors. Each vape pen contains 100 mg of CBD and features a 280 mAh battery which provides about 300 puffs.

Secret Nature CBD Vape

Funky Farms Reserve cbd pen

  1. Disposable
  2. Re-fillable
  3. What is a refillable CBD vape pen?
  4. What is a disposable CBD vape pen?
  5. Pros and cons of refillable vape pens
  6. Pros and cons of disposable CBD vape pens

A CBD vape pen is a pen-shaped vaporizer used for vaping CBD e-juice. We’ve broken them down into two categories: refillable and disposable. Refillable CBD vape pens come in various styles, but most are relatively discreet. Disposable vapes, on the other hand, are a convenient and cheap way to start vaping CBD right away.

There is so much variety within each category, but this guide gives you an overview of the best CBD vape pens currently available. We will also look at the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of CBD vape pens. If you’re looking to start vaping CBD, then you’ve landed in the right place.

Disposable

avida cbd disposable vape

Avida CBD Vape Pen

Avida offers their signature CBD blends in disposable format! Each vape is bursting with flavor and contains 100 mg of maximum purity pharmaceutical-grade CBD isolate. They are thoroughly tested by a third party lab for quality and consistency. The flavors range from fruits to tangy candy like mango and blue razz.

Secret Nature CBD Vape

Secret Nature CBD Vape

Secret Nature full spectrum distillate vape pens are made with live resin extract. They’re rich in cannabinoids and terpenes for a tasty experience, with no artificial flavorings. They come in 700 and 1200 mg CBD, in a variety of sought-after strains and are available with a 1200 mAh rechargeable auto-draw battery.

Funky Farms Reserve cbd pen

Funky Farms Reserve

Introducing the Funky Farms Reserve Line. This broad spectrum crystal resistant distillate, also known as CRD. It’s sourced from hemp grown on US farms and contains no fillers. Available in multiple varieties including Granddaddy Purple, Pineapple Express and Natural. Get the funk, without the junk!

Bloom Farms Mini Pen cbd vape pen

Bloom Farms Mini Pen

Bloom Farms now offers their uncut whole plant extracts in a convenient mini vape pen. No device required. Each one contains 250 mg of full spectrum CBD and an internal 190 mAh battery that’s good for around 200 puffs. The device is draw-activated, so there are no buttons to press–just puff and relax. Available in four blends.

Re-fillable

Farmacy Bliss CBD Vape Pen

Farmacy Bliss Vape Pen

Farmacy Bliss offers a vape pen that contains 500 mg of full spectrum CBD oil. No thinners, solvents or fillers, and free of additives, pesticides and solvents. Extracted from organically-grown hemp, it has a blueberry flavor due to naturally-derived terpenes. The pen is rechargeable via an included micro USB charger.

Kiara Naturals Distillate Pen

Kiara Naturals Distillate Pen

Incredibly potent and pure. Kiara Naturals offers a powerful fast-acting treatment for sleep, pain and stress. This distillate vape contains 55% CBD, CBDa and CBC with less than 0.2% THC. It’s made in Switzerland using a slow CO2 extraction process. The battery is rechargeable and the tank can be refilled or replaced.

PCKT One Plus weed pen

PCKT One Plus

The PCKT One Plus is a perfect choice for CBD oil cartridges. It has a 660 mAh battery and three heat settings optimized for oil carts. The device has a robust and compact design that slips into your pocket with ease. The PCKT One Plus uses a magnetic gold adapter compatible with most pre-filled CBD oil cartridges.

Kandypens Ruby

Kandypens Rubi

The RUBI isn’t your average vape pen. It’s ideal for high-strength CBD vape oils. The RUBI houses a 280 mAh rechargeable battery and comes with 1 mL refillable pods with flavorful ceramic coils. Kandypens has a strong reputation for their dependable vape pens and offer the RUBI with a lifetime warranty.

What is a refillable CBD vape pen?

A refillable CBD vape pen is any type of vape pen that can be filled with CBD e-juice. It usually has a tank that attaches to a rechargeable 510 thread battery. They provide a simple convenient pen-style form factor and are generally smaller and lighter than the average mod and tank combo. Some of them are suitable for direct lung vaping while others provide a tight mouth to lung draw.

Refillable pod vapes are another option in this category. Though they are designed for vaping nicotine, and not exactly pen-shaped, these mini vapes can be used to vape CBD as well since they are also discreet and easy to use.

What is a disposable CBD vape pen?

Disposable CBD vape pens are vapes that contain a battery, atomizer and are pre-loaded with cannabidiol-containing e-juice. They generally resemble cigalikes, which are small cigarette-style vape pens. Disposables are designed to provide usually a few hundred puffs before they are depleted.

Disposable CBD vapes are another practical alternative to CBD cartridges and CBD pods, since they don’t require the investment of purchasing a battery or compatible pod system. They are typically draw-activated, which means it only produces vapor while you are puffing and there are no buttons to figure out.

Pros and cons of refillable vape pens

Refillable CBD vape pens require the purchase of a device, and obviously some CBD e-liquid to vape. However, they are generally more cost effective in the long run, after that first investment. Another downside to refillable CBD pens is that they’re less convenient, discreet, and require more knowledge to use them properly.

The advantage is that there are more options out there to achieve a custom vape using a refillable CBD vape pen. Most of them even have adjustable power and airflow options for fine tuning the experience, depending on whether you prefer a direct lung vape with bigger clouds or a tighter cigarette-style draw.

Direct lung sub ohm devices are ideal for lower CBD strengths since they deliver more vapor each puff. On the other hand, MTL is best suited for higher amounts of CBD, since it would take a lot more puffs to achieve the same desired effect if you were to use the same concentration of cannabidiol in both devices.

Pros

  • More cost-effective
  • Adjustable airflow options
  • Efficient delivery method
  • Caters to different vaping styles
  • Bigger cloud production
  • Pen-style form factor

Cons

  • Initial investment required
  • Slight learning curve
  • Requires some maintenance
  • Less discreet

Pros and cons of disposable CBD vape pens

Disposable CBD vape pens are one of the most practical ways to start vaping cannabidiol, especially for your first time. They generally don’t offer as much variety in terms of flavor and CBD strengths but are relatively inexpensive and couldn’t be easier to use. Since they are pre-filled, disposable CBD pens don’t require you to purchase liquid or any additional items. Just vape it, then chuck it.

They generally aren’t as cost effective as refillable vape pens if you consider the amount of CBD they contain versus the price. They are also by and large limited to a cigarette style draw, a style of vaping also called mouth to lung. This style of delivery combined with the low output also means you may need to vape it often to achieve your desired CBD dosage.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • No maintenance
  • Slim and discreet
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Less cost effective than refillables
  • More limited selection
  • No direct lung options
  • Non-adjustable (power/airflow)
  • Small cloud production

CBD vape pens are the most common way to vape CBD. Learn about the various types of devices available and find out the best ones on the market right now.