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With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp, a form of cannabis plant that contains 0.3% or less of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, became federally legalized, meaning it can be cultivated, bought/sold, and transported across state lines. While the fate of its cousin, marijuana, is being decided on a state by state basis at the moment (it’s still a Schedule I drug at the federal level), the legalization of hemp has opened the door to those seeking the benefits of CBD and other compounds common to cannabis plants.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy hemp-derived CBD, with products like potent tinctures and soothing topicals dominating the market. However, consumers are also becoming interested in the prospect of smoking hemp flower.
In the past, the act of smoking marijuana was primarily to enjoy the euphoric “high” that comes from THC. Presently, many patients also rely on the potency of full-spectrum medical marijuana to treat a variety of symptoms related to chronic pain conditions and diseases as diverse as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and more, depending on what has been approved at the state level.
Is there a benefit to smoking hemp flower, though? Can hemp plants even be smoked? Do they deliver the same flavor as marijuana? Here are a few things you need to know about smoking hemp flower.
Can Hemp Flower be Smoked?
There’s a common myth floating around that smoking hemp is not only ineffective, but it will also end, predictably, with a headache. This misconception is related to smoking the wrong kind of hemp, which is to say, industrial hemp that is cultivated for use in textiles, rather than food-safe consumption practices.
Hemp that is cultivated for consumption, specifically, will not give you a headache if you smoke it – in fact, just the opposite. Smoking is one of many ways to enjoy the benefits inherent to CBD, and, as with all hemp-derived CBD products, it won’t leave you with the psychoactive side effects associated with THC-heavy marijuana.
While edible and topical hemp products tend to be the most popular forms, perhaps because they are more discreet than smokables, there’s a growing number of consumers interested in the possibility of accessing the benefits of CBD through smoking hemp flower. It is certainly possible, and all you have to do is order hemp flower to roll your own joints, or simply purchase pre-rolls for your convenience.
It’s important to check the laws in your state when it comes to smoking hemp flower. Some states have started to ban smokable hemp products because police officers have a hard time distinguishing it from smokable marijuana. It is still legal in most states, including those that have legalized marijuana, but it pays to know your state’s laws so you don’t run into any trouble.
Why Smoke Hemp Flower?
There are several reasons why consumers might turn toward smoking hemp flower, including:
• Whole-body benefits
• Potentially faster symptom relief via inhalation (as opposed to ingestion)
• Entourage effect
• Enjoying aromatic terpenes and flavonoids
• Enjoying the ritual of smoking
• Mixing hemp with marijuana to diminish impairment
While topicals are ideal for treating specific areas of pain, inflammation, or skin conditions, the whole-body benefits of CBD can only be enjoyed when products are consumed or inhaled. As for whether one method is better than the other, further research needs to be done. Often, inhalation is a faster means of getting products into the blood stream than ingestion and digestion, but there is currently no research to prove that this method of CBD consumption is faster or better.
Smoking hemp is a great way to enjoy the natural aromas and flavors of the product. With full-spectrum CBD flower, you’ll also have the best opportunity to observe the entourage effect, by which other cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds in the plant interact to produce more potent results than, say, isolate products that are purely CBD.
How to Smoke Hemp Flower
Before you decide to try smoking hemp flower, you need to understand that there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. This isn’t to say that doing it wrong will cause any harm, but it could lead to a lot of wasted product and money down the drain, so to speak.
Before marijuana began to be legalized, information on usage was spread haphazardly, with a lot of misinformation being circulated. This included the notion of inhaling very deeply and holding as long as possible before exhaling. Unfortunately, this does not infer any additional benefit, and it uses up more product, which is great for anyone selling smokables, but not so much for those buying the products.
Because our lungs are designed to deliver oxygen to the blood stream quickly, these organs pull compounds from inhaled air extremely fast – within milliseconds. Inhaling deeply and holding your breath therefore does nothing but deprive your lungs of much-needed oxygen, all the while wasting the product you paid for. The question then, is how to enjoy the greatest potential benefit from smoking hemp flower.
To get the most from your experience, you should:
• Inhale a deep breath of fresh air and exhale fully to start
• Inhale CBD smoke slowly and smoothly until lungs are about 2/3 full
• Inhale fresh air to fill the other 1/3 of lung capacity
• Do not hold your breath after inhaling fully
• Exhale slowly, but fully
• Wait a few minutes for CBD to take effect before continuing with another puff
Now than hemp-derived CBD has been federally legalized, many cultivation, production, and distribution operations have started to spring up. While competition is generally good for the consumer marketplace, this is one instance where buyers must beware – not all CBD products are created equally, and you need to know exactly what you’re buying.
You’ll want to look for a seller that offers pure, organic products derived from high-quality hemp, preferably grown in the USA. The best way to ascertain this is to look for transparency, such as independent lab testing for quality and potency, with product results posted online for consumers to see.
Is it Safe?
In terms of the safety of smoking, you should know that smoking hemp flower is just as safe as any other form of smoking, and in the case of tobacco, probably safer because you’re only smoking the natural flower, instead of all the harmful chemicals you’ll encounter in cigarettes. In terms of getting high or overdosing, there are a couple of things you should know.
You won’t experience the same high with hemp that you will with marijuana, because hemp contains only small amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (0.3% or less). This makes hemp flower an ideal alternative for anyone seeking the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes, without the impairment associated with THC. While overdosing is unlikely, you should always start with a small amount of CBD and build up to your ideal dosage once you understand the effects of your preferred products.
Generally speaking, CBD products are considered extremely safe. A report issued by the World Health Organization found that CBD is “generally well tolerated, with a good safety profile”. The greatest risk factors seem to revolve around products that are impure or contaminated, which is why it’s so important to make sure you purchase quality CBD products from reliable sources that offer transparency.