Look out, reefer madness—the year is 2020, and we are now in a cannabidiol craze. A calmer cannabinoid relative to THC, CBD is one of 114 cannabinoids found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike THC, CBD’s interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) produce a non-intoxicating effect. In plain English? CBD is weed without the “high.”
In recent years, the CBD market has exploded, filling store shelves everywhere with CBD pills, tinctures, salves, edibles, drinks, skincare, haircare, and even make-up products. Although the ways we can incorporate CBD into easy-to-use products are astounding, the most natural way to consume this cannabinoid is by sticking to the basics: pure CBD flower.
Cannabinoids enter our bodies through “routes of delivery.” The level of CBD absorption of each “route” is referred to as its bioavailability rate. Ingestion of tinctures, pills, edibles, or drinks has a bioavailability rate of approximately 15% — that means only 15 of 100 milligrams consumed orally would be absorbed by your bloodstream — due to the first-pass effect.
Smoking is by far the most efficient route of delivery, with a bioavailability of up to three times the rate of ingestion. By smoking CBD flower, cannabinoids are sent directly to the lungs and rapidly absorbed by the bloodstream, reaching peak concentrations in plasma roughly three minutes after consumption. Smoking CBD is a quick, waste- and calorie-free way to enjoy this medicinal plant.
Harvesting a major crop like cannabidiol takes a village, to say the least. Luckily, as more states reverse laws put in place during the Nixon-era War on Drugs, a growing number of cannabis companies across the country are producing high-quality, regulated (i.e., safe!), and sustainable cannabis flower products. These aren’t your mystery nugs tied in a plastic baggy of yesteryear, folks. CBD has entered the 21st century in style, perfected by cannabis and botanical wellness companies like New England-based oHHo.
oHHo sources their aromatic CBD buds from upstate New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. They use small farms, approximately 20 to 40 acres in size, that allow for less human disruption to the natural environment. Every oHHo product is eco-friendly and recyclable except for the dropper of their therapeutic CBD oils (but hey, they’re working on it). In addition to full-spectrum CBD oils, oHHo also offers CBD flower, Omura Flower Sticks, rolling papers, pipe s, and (our favorite) pre-rolls for a quick, convenient smoke.
oHHo offers two strains of cannabidiol conveniently pre-rolled into easy-to-smoke, mess-free cones with long paper filters for a silky smooth toke. I recently tried the NY Lifter, an indica/sativa blend grown in the native soil of Saratoga Springs. This 50-50 hybrid contains up to 17% CBD and boasts a sweet “funky” taste of lemongrass and citrus. NY Lifter offers the increased focus and energizing effects often associated with sativa plants, making it the perfect daytime pick-me-up smoke.
If you prefer a nighttime smoke sesh, oHHo also offers pre-rolls of a CBD-rich Suver Haze strain grown in Vermont. Although Suver Haze is a sativa-dominant blend, its effects take after an indica strain, helping to promote muscle relaxation, restful sleep cycles, and appetite stimulation. If NY Lifter is your mid-morning pick-me-up, Suver Haze is your end-of-the-day decompressor to smoke before bed.
oHHo has elevated cannabis consumption to a new level of luxury. While I was opening the sleek, silver tin of pre-rolls perfectly nestled in tissue paper, it was hard to believe cannabis was only legalized in the last twenty years. My pre-roll package also came with a note, poster, and link to a killer “Sounds of Harvest” playlist that is now saved to my Spotify library and currently on repeat. These personal touches remind you that while oHHo might be on the rise, they haven’t lost touch with their small-batch, locally-crafted ethos.
While CBD might seem like a new trend, humans have used the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes dating back to 500 BC. Almost three millennia later, we’re still smoking Cannabis sativa to treat epileptic seizures, chronic inflammatory conditions, pain, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and psychosis or other mental disorders. And despite its close relation to marijuana, CBD can actually lessen the adverse effects of consuming THC.
THC binds to the CB1 receptors found within our nervous systems, causing a “high” that can produce pleasant euphorias or spells of paranoia and anxiety. CBD has the opposite interaction with the CB1 receptor, acting as an antagonist that prevents THC absorption. By preventing the body from absorbing too much THC, CBD helps maintain a calmer, mellower high with none of the existential dread. This harmonious relationship between the two cannabinoids is called the “entourage effect,” enhancing the benefits of cannabis and allowing users to enjoy both CBD and THC without becoming overwhelmed, disoriented, or anxious.
It’s worth mentioning that smoke inhalation of any kind can cause respiratory issues and lung tissue damage after prolonged exposure. But out of all of the things you could be smoking, CBD is relatively safe. The natural plant is free of addictive nicotine or harsh chemicals, so while breathing in the smoke of any plant, drug, or otherwise isn’t the best for your lungs, smoking CBD is no more dangerous than smoking a cigarette.
CBD is not only safer than cigarettes; it can also help you finally ditch your nicotine habit for good. A 2013 double-blind, placebo-controlled study at the University College of London revealed that regular consumption of CBD reduced cigarette cravings by up to 40 percent. Additionally, switching from smoking cigarettes to smoking CBD pre-rolls allows you to maintain the oral fixation of smoking something that feels like a cigarette (but is way less detrimental to you and those around you).
Neither THC nor CBD can be consumed in lethal amounts, but those sensitive to CBD might experience mildly negative effects of overconsumption. These include irritability, nausea, and drowsiness. Conversely, those who regularly smoke marijuana might have higher tolerances for CBD and will need larger doses to achieve the same effects as a non-smoker. Until you have a handle on how your body reacts to CBD, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for up to three hours after consumption.
While legalized cannabis is becoming the new norm, laws regarding the possession and consumption of CBD and marijuana vary from state to state. CBD’s close resemblance and similar smell to marijuana can create issues in states where the former is legal, but the latter is not. Check your state’s cannabis laws before traveling or publicly consuming any CBD products, particularly whole-flower. Legal CBD requires a THC level of .3% or less, but trace amounts could still potentially be detected in ultra-sensitive drug tests, so consume responsibly.
If trends continue on their current path, cannabis might be legalized in all fifty states by the time we’re old enough to tell our grandkids, “we used to have to smoke our cannabis in secret!” (To which they’ll reply, “Yeah, yeah. Sure you did, Grandma. Let’s get you to bed.”) Until then, relax, enjoy, and if you’re with friends, don’t forget to puff-puff-pass.