Why in the world would anyone want to smoke a CBD rich strain?
The explosion in CBD products goes beyond just food and drinks — cannabis growers are getting into the act too, going to great lengths to breed CBD-rich strains to satisfy demand. But, are there advantages to such varietals or should the whole idea go up in smoke?
As more states legalize cannabis (looking at you, Illinois), the demand for CBD-infused products keeps growing, even though CBD from hemp (not marijuana) is already legal across the U.S. It’s clear the calming benefits of CBD have outpaced the demand for high-THC cannabis strains, which were the bread and butter of growers’ businesses until recently.
Unlike THC, CBD is not intoxicating. And that may a big reason why there’s suddenly a demand for a CBD-rich strain of cannabis. Consumers of CBD have found that it functions for a wide-variety of ailments, without any side effects.
From Food to Bud
A common scenario is playing out across the country. It goes like this: On the way home from work, a woman stops at a gas station or convenience store. As she checks out, she sees a little display of CBD-infused gummy bears and picks them up on a whim. She’s heard of CBD, but isn’t intimately familiar.
So she pops the recommended dose at home. She likes it. The subtle effects of CBD mimic that of a spa day. She feels low-key relaxed, more comfortable, a little happier, pervaded by a sense of calm. Best of all (for most patients), CBD is not psychoactive. She remains clear-headed as the effects kick in.
As the consumer leans further into the world of CBD enjoyment, she thinks about seeking it out elsewhere. What about CBD-infused water, lollipops, oils. Then she decides to take another step forward: Smoking weed.
Why Smoke a CBD Rich Strain?
A CBD consumer moving into vaping or smoking cannabis will likely want to start with CBD rich strains. Novice consumers of any product tend to stick with what they already know. So having CBD rich strains on hand makes good business sense for shop owners looking to help new customers.
But will the consumers actually feel a difference in smoking or vaping CBD versus ingesting it through foods or oils?
Yes, as it turns out.
Thanks to what scientists call “bioavailability,” the way CBD is used greatly effects how much the body interacts with it. CBD’s bioavailability, when ingested, is around 13-19 percent, which means that only a little bit of every ingested bit of CBD will enter the bloodstream and produce effects.
Smoking or vaporizing a CBD rich strain, however, has a bioavailability that can reach over 50 percent, meaning that more than twice as much CBD enters the bloodstream when it’s vaporized than when CBD is ingested.
So for consumers looking for a higher dose of CBD, vaping is a more effective delivery system. It can deliver greater results at a lower price.
Your Body and CBD
Your body also processes CBD differently, depending on its delivery mechanism. When CBD is ingested, it has to pass through your gut before it enters the bloodstream. When that happens, CBD is absorbed by liver enzymes.
After smoking or vaping a CBD rich strain of cannabis, the CBD passes into the bloodstream via the lungs, cutting out the liver’s digestive processes entirely. This means that the effects are less filtered than when the CBD has run the gauntlet of your insides.
Essentially, smoking or vaping CBD rich cannabis is probably the most efficient option — and it cuts down on your calorie intake.
The Negatives of Smoking
Of course, it’s not all easy. Smoking or vaping CBD-rich strains of cannabis comes with a few issues. First of all, dosing is more difficult. When you take a CBD gummy bear from a reliable source, you know exactly how much CBD you’re consuming. When you inhale from a vaporizer, it’s impossible to measure your CBD consumption.
For novice consumers, that can be a turn off. While the side effects of CBD are nearly zilch, and not dangerous (a little drowsiness), many people still approach CBD with caution.
Taking CBD through smoking also means getting the side effects of smoking, which can be harmful on the lungs. So patients with sensitive lungs should stick to edibles or vaping.
The Legal Angle
Some states only allow the sale of CBD rich strains of cannabis. And while some seasoned recreational and medical cannabis consumers make scoff at the lack of choice involved, the fact is that newer consumers may adjust to these new strains to fuel an even higher demand in the future.
So CBD rich strains of cannabis aren’t going away and will necessarily become more popular if that’s the only kind allowed under the law. Let’s embrace the positives of what CBD can do, especially for medical patients, while we keep pushing for common sense reform.