Why smoking hemp might be your preferred method of consuming CBD

When I used to hear the word “hemp”, my mind would resort to sustainable clothing and my favorite seed milk. I never felt inclined to buy some hemp and roll it up into a joint, and I in fact didn’t even know that it was legal, me being under the age of 21 at the time. That all changed when the CBD trend skyrocketed, and I wondered, if it’s legal and beneficial for me to consume cannabidiol tincture, would it be the same for me to buy and smoke the flower? I would soon find that the answer was yes.

For cannabis to legally be considered hemp, it has to be tested under .3% in THC(tetrahydrocannabinol); meaning it won’t get you high. The concept of smoking something that doesn’t get you high still confuses stoners and conformists alike. Yet everyone and their mothers have been jumping on the CBD oil bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong. CBD tincture is a powerful natural medicine. However, I wanted to explore how smoking hemp, or high CBD flower could provide different, or even more relief to the patient.

After I began frequently adding hemp to my joint, and did some research, I found that smoking CBD has a different effect on the body than orally ingesting it. I am going to explain how and why it has different effects, and allow you to conclude with your own preferred method of ingestion.

Are you seeking long term or quick acting benefit?

One of the reasons smoking hemp has such a different effect than CBD oils is due to the difference in the metabolic pathway, or how it enters your bloodstream. For the CBD to provide benefit through orally ingested products, it has to pass through the GI tract and the liver. This means that it takes longer for CBD oil to bypass the blood brain barrier and take effect. In contrast, smoking hemp sends the CBD directly to your lungs, which creates almost immediate absorption into the bloodstream.

With that being said, orally ingesting CBD can have a longer effect on the body, depending upon the product. So if you’re having an anxiety attack or debilitating pain, smoking hemp will provide near instant relief. If you’re looking for conveniency and long term effects, orally ingesting might be your better option. Smoking flower for immediate alleviation in conjunction with CBD oil to maintain the effects can create a medicinal synchronicity that could be more beneficial than one form of consumption on it’s own.

  CBD absorption: smoking VS. orally consuming

In order to assess which is more potent to the body, we have to the look at the bioavailability in different methods of intake, or degree of which the CBD can be absorbed into the body. There are 6 ways of ingesting cannabidiols, all of which have a different rate of bioavailability. It is important to recognize this because although you might be paying for a 1000mg bottle of CBD oil, your body has a limited capacity of absorption which means you are only able to process 200mg of the bottle, at best. There have been a few varied studies to suggest the bioavailability percentage of oral CBD products is between 6- 20%. Although this is a wide range, the most optimistic percentage is still low compared to that of inhaling cannabidiol, which is up to 56% absorption.

Knowing the bioavailability of each product you consume will allow to calculate how much money you’re actually spending on the CBD that your body is able to absorb. For instance, if you spend $50 on a 200mg bottle of oral CBD oil, and you’re only able to absorb 40mg(at the very max), you’d be spending $1.25 per mg of CBD. If you spend $50 on a product that you’re able to inhale, such as a vape liquid with 200mg of CBD in it, and you’re able to absorb 35%(at the lowest), you’d be spending $.25 per mg of CBD. In other words, you’d be spending 80% more on oral CBD products for the same results.

Although I’d like to give an exact calculation for bud itself, there are countless variables that would go into the equation including the CBD percent of the flower, how long you inhale it, exactly how much you inhale when your burn it, etc. Refer to my sources below, specifically Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics for cited information regarding the high bioavailability rate of smoking CBD bud vs. orally ingesting it.

 CBD has to be heat activated for it to work at its full potential

As I started to see more and more oral CBD products on the shelves, I became curious as to the method of which these businesses were making it. I would check to see if they were using organic carrier oils and hemp product. I was also curious if they were heating the CBD at the necessary temperature for it to be activated properly(decarboxylated), which I knew a little something about from years of making edibles. I was surprised to find that a ton of the most well known companies weren’t. They are selling products that aren’t activated for the consumer to reap the benefits at full potential. Another piece of information that they left off the labels.

It is important to recognize the difference between CBD and CBD-A in order to understand why decarboxylation is done for some products and not others. The hemp plant is naturally grown with CBD-A, and any products that are made raw are actually providing that molecule instead of what their bottle says, which is generally pure CBD. The body is NOT able to convert the product into CBD unless it has been heated at its proper and rather low temperature of 230 degrees.  (see figure 1 on resource #2 listed below)

Although CBD-A does have some vague evidence tied to health benefits, CBD is the molecule that has been scientifically proven to relieve anxiety, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, epilepsy, and cancer in the patient. That being said, if you are interested in CBD for any of the reasons previously listed, I encourage you to do some research before buying any orally ingested products so that you know what you’re taking.

When you smoke CBD hemp flower, you are automatically activating it with the heat of the flame so that your body is able to process it and reap the full benefits of the molecule.


After assessing the longevity of benefits, my ability to absorb the CBD, and the importance of activating the molecule, I was able to conclude with my favorite method of consuming CBD, and I hope this information will help you do the same.  

My personal favorite way to get my dose of CBD’s is by simply buying the flower and smoking it. I’ll either add it to a joint with THC bud, or just smoke it on it’s own if I’m too busy to alter my mind. I  highly suggest smoking hemp to those that enjoy smoking anything(i.e. Tobacco, weed) but want a healthier and calmer alternative.

The good news is that hemp is completely legal to buy, and can even be sent to your mailbox. It is crucial to look for organic, high quality bud so that you will enjoy smoking it and get the most benefit for your buck. My favorite source for hemp products including frosty, organic buds is westcoastcbdsupply.com. They have superior customer service as well as some of the best hemp flower I’ve ever seen.

I intend to write more about CBD and the health advantages of consuming it in the near future, so keep your eyes out! For a basic introduction, check out my article, An Intro to CBD/. Thank you for reading this article, and I hope you have a beautiful week!

Please be aware that I am by no means discounting the healing power of orally ingested CBD products and am fully aware that it is the only means of consumption for many people. My intention is to educate and provide cited information for you to make your own conclusions.

Resources used:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/

https://www.biocbdplus.com/what-is-decarboxylation-how-cbd-a-becomes-cbd

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