If you’ve taken a peek at my blog or Instagram lately, you’ll see my love for CBD flower front and center.
It’s in my morning joints. I blend it in with THC. I have CBD tincture and gummies (human and pet-approved). With CBD in my life, I am more calm, focused, and centered. I have less anxiety and I’m able to stay more present in each moment.
It seems like everyone is collectively uncovering the benefits of CBD. From gummies and lotions to tinctures and bath bombs, CBD is available in every way imaginable. My personal favorite way is through smoking.
Smoking CBD is the fastest way to get the highest amount of benefits possible. But don’t take it from me. There’s scientific evidence to back up that smoking CBD is probably the best way to consume.
CBD works for a variety of aliments, both mental and physical. Unlike THC, CBD has no intoxicating properties so you get the benefits of the plant without the mind-altering (and for some, not preferrable) “high.”
The Difference Between CBD & THC
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and is one of two natural compounds found in cannabis plants. It is considered the cousin, the twin or the opposite of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Chemically, THC and CBD are very similar. They look the same and smell the same because they’re made up of the same molecules– 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. While both compounds interact with your endocannabinoid system, they have very difference effects and this is because the molecules in the compounds are arranged differently. The difference in molecular makeup changes the cannabinoid receptors the compounds bind with.
The endocannabinoid system is found throughout the body and the most studied cannabinoid receptors are Cannabinoid-1 and Cannabinoid-2 receptors (CB1 and CB2). THC binds strongly with CB1 to produce the feeling of euphoria, or the classic intoxicating “high” feeling. In contrast, CBD acts as an antagonist to CB1 and will not bind to it without the presence of THC.
In short, while they’re both psychoactive, THC is intoxicating while CBD is not.
Does CBD get you high?
Yes, but not in the same way.
THC produces an intoxicating euphoric effect, but overconsumption can lead to negative psychoactive effects, such as a rapid heartrate and paranoia.
In contrast, CBD produces a mellow, gentle high. You won’t feel the same heady wash as with THC, but you will feel calm, relaxed and have a feeling of general wellbeing. It can make you feel focused, sleepy, happy, or energetic. It may also reduce pain and swelling in the body. In high doses, CBD can cause drowsiness.
When smoked together with THC, CBD can counteract the feeling of getting “too high”. Since CBD is a CB1 antagonist, it will can improve the therapeutic effects and reduce some of the negative psychoactive effects of THC.
Of course, the sensation of smoking CBD is dependent on the user, tolerance levels, and consumption methods.
Uses for CBD
While there is much anecdotal evidence for CBD’s effectiveness against a variety of mental and physical conditions, there is the most evidence for it in treating epilepsy by reducing seizures. The US FDA has even approved a CBD-based drug to treat childhood epilepsy. Additionally, a 2011 study found that CBD reduces inflammation and aches.
Anecdotally, CBD is used to treat:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
CBD is Less Intoxicating
CBD has fewer side effects than THC and is tolerated well in large doses. In fact, a 2019 clinical trial tested 1500 mg of CBD twice a day on participants (a total consumption of 3000 mg daily) and found that there were only a few adverse reactions, and they were all mild. Given that most CBD products on the market right now contain around 10 mg per serving, you can safety experiments with CBD products without fear of overdoing it.
While CBD and THC can be used to treat a majority of the same conditions, many people prefer CBD because of the lack of psychoactive affects. With CBD, you won’t experience:
- Coordination and balance problems
- Dry mouth (cotton mouth)
- Red eyes
- Delayed reaction times
Why Smoke CBD?
Bioavailability is higher
The what? The bioavailability: the proportion of a drug which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect.
The bioavailability of smoked CBD flower can be as high as 50%, because the smoke goes into your lungs and enters directly into your system. For tinctures, oils or edibles where the CBD has to be processed through the digestive system, the bioavailability is lower, around 20%.
The method of consumption plays a role in how long it will take to feel the effects of CBD. Inhalation such as smoking is the quickest and therefor more effective method of delivery for CBD. A 2017 study found that bioavailability can vary based on how the CBD is smoked, but “smoking… provides a rapid and efficient method of drug delivery from the lungs to the brain.”
When you inhale smoke, the cannabinoids are delivered directly to your lungs from the smoke, where they enter your bloodstream in a matter of seconds. In contrast, CBD tinctures can take 30 – 60 minutes, and edibles can take up to two hours to kick in.
CBD is legal in all 50 states
CBD flower is legal (if not easily available) in all 50 states. This is because of the 2018 Hemp Bill that made it legal to cultivate, trade, and use hemp-based products with a maximum of 0.3 percent THC.
(To be technical here, hemp flower with high concentrations of CBD is legal in all 50 states. High-CBD cannabis flower is only legal in recreational states)
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