It’s hard to go anywhere these days without hearing about CBD. It’s probably the buzzy wellness product of today. And if you’re in a state where it’s legal, you can find it in everything from lattes and protein shakes, to beauty products, dips and entrees. But what is CBD exactly? Well, it’s short for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the Cannabis sativa plant (a.k.a. marijuana or hemp). The naturally occurring substance has no psychoactive properties (1) like THC and is used instead in products like oils and edibles to promote a feeling of relaxation and calm (2). So, it won’t get you high. But chances are smoking cbd can help mellow you out.
Interested in learning more? Check out our beginner’s guide to CBD.
Can you smoke CBD Oil?
You sure can. Although oral ingestion is what most of us are familiar with, smoking CBD oil is growing in popularity, and there are several ways to do it, depending on your preference.
- Dabbing with a dab rig or portable dab pen. Dabbing more or less cooks the CBD concentrates through convective heating, creating more of a vapor than a smoke. For that reason, many consider it safer and easier to consume over methods that burn the product directly by flame.
- Vaping with CBD vape juice and a vape pen or mod. Typically, smoked and inhaled solutions are made with CBD extract mixed with some type of solute. Since CBD is not able to dissolve in water, there aren’t water-based solutions for these vapes. Rather, these solutions are made by mixing CBD with another substance such as propylene glycol, MCT oil, or polyethylene glycol. This offers an alternative to the harshness of smoking CBD via pre-roll or joints.
- Smoking CBD joints using rolled, dried hemp. Although some people might be turned off by the fact that they’re ingesting smoke, many people prefer joints because they’re portable, easy, and there are no batteries or assembly required. If you’re wondering, ‘what does smoking CBD feel like?’, think of a traditional joint, only without the impact on your sensibilities.
Smoking CBD Flower?
When we talk about smoking CBD flower, we’re simply referring to the buds of hemp plants. And since hemp and marijuana are virtually indistinguishable in many ways, you can indeed you star smoking CBD flower the same way you smoke weed. In places that sell CBD flower, you can find it available in pre-rolled joints which usually contain around one gram of CBD-rich hemp.
What does smoking CBD do?
Although smoking CBD is currently one of the less popular ways to consume it, that may soon change. That’s because smoking allows the CBD to enter into your circulatory system relatively quickly (3). The moment you inhale a substance into your lungs, millions of tiny alveoli start transferring the substance’s active ingredients into your blood. Therefore, vaping or smoking CBD flower may provide faster benefits than other methods of ingesting CBD.
How CBD works once you’ve smoked it has to do with how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors located throughout the body and they interact with chemicals called endocannabinoids. When endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors, they trigger several different processes which help the body to maintain a state of internal balance. The cannabinoids have molecules that are similarly shaped to endocannabinoids. As a result, they can bind with the body’s cannabinoid receptors comparably.
Interestingly enough, THC and CBD don’t quite work the same way. With cannabis, the THC binds strongly with cannabinoid receptors in the brain to create those euphoric effects it’s known for. CBD, however, changes the way that other molecules (like THC), bind with the receptors. This is why CBD is thought to mitigate some of the side effects of THC, and why it can be used for such a wide range of wellness issues. To put it simply, THC is the primary driver of marijuana’s psychoactive effects, while CBD is the primary driver of its therapeutic effects.
While THC binds with the CB1 receptors in the brain to produce a high, CBD affects multiple sets of receptors throughout the body by exerting indirect influence on these receptors, thereby increasing the levels of endocannabinoids produced naturally by the body. In addition to a feeling of relaxation, smoking CBD has been noted to provide quick relief of swelling and pain (4) .
What are the benefits of smoking CBD?
Depending on who you ask, smoking CBD is great for anything from working out to chilling out. But, in terms of the actual medical benefits, there is mounting research that suggests CBD is an effective treatment for depression, anxiety (5), and even insomnia (6). And it is fast becoming known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, used by many to reduce back pain and improve osteoarthritis. Some are even exploring its potential to help smokers kick their nicotine habits.
On the more serious side, CBD has recently been FDA-approved to help people reduce epileptic seizures. And it is even thought to protect nerve cells from damage. Research also suggests that CBD may have anti-tumoral effects because of its ability to affect a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death) in damaged cells (7). The exact mechanism of this is still not fully understood, but the current evidence is promising.
While there are medicinal applications, most CBD users are drawn to its overall wellness benefits. Although smoking CBD won’t get you high or intoxicated, many people report enjoying the sense of calm, relaxation, and well-being it can provide.
That being said, the sage advice for beginners is always to start low and slow. The first few times you try CBD, you may not feel anything at all. For many, CBD is more like aspirin than it is like THC. It works behind the scenes even though you may not feel a pronounced difference.
Overall, smoking CBD is an efficient and inexpensive way to learn how it affects your body. Although it may not be the healthiest method of consumption, it produces fast results. And depending on what you’re looking for, that just might be the most important thing.
- Despite What You May Think… CBD Is Not Weed
Michael Breus – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201809/despite-what-you-may-think-cbd-is-not-weed
- Fusar-Poli et al. “Distinct effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on neural activation during emotional processing.” Arch Gen Psychiatry 66.1 (2009): 95-105.
- Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics
Marilyn Huestis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/
- The Health Effects Of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State Of Evidence and Recommendations For Research
National Academies of Sciences – https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24625/the-health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids-the-current-state
- Cbd For Depression: Does It Help?
Jon Johnson – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324846#cbd-for-depression
- Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
Scott Shannon-Nicole Lewis-Heather Lee-Shannon Hughes – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
- Cannabinoids in Cancer Treatment: Therapeutic Potential and Legislation
Barbara Dariš-Mojca Tancer Verboten-Željko Knez-Polonca Ferk – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6387667/