CBD (cannabidiol) can be enjoyed in several ways. Many like food or drinks infused with CBD because they are tasty, discreet, and convenient. Others prefer soaking their skin in CBD through lotions, creams, and bath bombs. And yet, despite the wide varieties of CBD edibles and topicals these days, many CBD users still go for either smoking or vaping, despite the warnings associated with these methods.
Is there a difference between CBD smoking and vaping? Which of the two will best match your health and relaxation needs? What are the risks involved when you smoke or vape CBD? In this article, we will answer these questions and more to help you figure out the better choice for you.
What is CBD Smoking?
Smoking a CBD hemp flower involves the same steps as smoking any other cannabis plant. Typically, you need to wrap the hemp flower in rolling paper to form a joint. Others, however, prefer using smoking pipes instead.
Regardless of your preference, the next step is to light up one end of the joint or the inside of the pipe chamber. The heat will activate the cannabinoids present in the hemp flower. Inhale from the other end, and observe how the effects of CBD kick in as you release and take another puff.
The effects of CBD smoking mostly depend on the flower strain you have picked. Sativa strains work well as energy-boosters, while their Indica cousins are best for relaxation. If you want a little bit of both, we suggest going for CBD hybrid strains.
Pros and Cons of CBD Smoking
Like all methods of consuming CBD, smoking comes with its perks and risks. Let’s go through each of them below.
Pros of CBD Smoking
- Fast-acting: Inhaling CBD quickens the absorption rate in your bloodstream because of the numerous blood vessels in the lungs. In most cases, you will feel the effects of CBD within 30 seconds after you have started smoking.
- Higher potency: Smokable CBD flowers are rich in natural cannabinoids aside from CBD. When taken together, the hemp plant compounds synergize and produce the so-called “entourage effect.” Because of this, you may expect to feel more relaxed and experience quicker relief after smoking CBD.
- Non-addictive: Compared to smoking marijuana, CBD does lead to substance dependence or abuse. The WHO (World Health Organization) has declared CBD as generally safe to use. Moreover, some studies indicate that CBD may be effective in stopping unhealthy addictions—for instance, cigarette smoking.
Cons of CBD Smoking
- Short-lived effects: If smoking is your preferred method, you would need to smoke CBD flowers more frequently to feel the effects for an extended period. According to many CBD smokers, the impact lasts for 30 to 60 minutes only after finishing a stick.
- Strong earthy smell: When burned, hemp flowers produce grassy-smelling smoke that some people find pungent or bothersome. The smell might also stick to your skin, hair, and clothes, especially if you often smoke CBD.
- Long-term health damage: Though there is no definitive study on CBD smoking, experts have warned that it may lead to similar long-term effects caused by the act of smoking itself. A study shows that smoking can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to developing lung infections and lung damage.
What is CBD Vaping?
Vaping involves vaporizers that can heat CBD and produce a vapor-like aerosol. While you can vape CBD flowers through herb vaporizers, many opt to vape CBD distillate because it contains zero THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—the mind-altering compound found in cannabis plants.
Vaping varies depending on the format you have chosen. Fans of CBD flowers use herb vaporizers. First-timers tend to pick CBD cartridges that contain vaping concentrates because of their convenience. Those who want a more potent hit go for wax pens because the cannabinoid content tends to be higher in wax concentrates than in CBD flowers or oil.
Pros and Cons of CBD Vaping
Before trying CBD vaping, take the time to familiarize yourself with its advantages and limitations compared to the other popular means of taking CBD.
Pros of CBD Vaping
- Convenient: Compared to smoking a joint or pipe, vaping can be done in fewer steps. Just place the herb, fluid, or wax on your preferred vaporizer and turn on the device. Vaping tends to be less messy, too. You won’t have to be extra careful, like when you’re rolling a joint, and ashes are not an issue during or after vaping.
- Minimal smell: Since vaping fluids or waxes don’t involve burning the cannabis plant, the smell emanating from the vaporizer will not be as strong as the smoke from a joint or pipe.
- More acceptable in public spaces: Many public spaces, such as parks, malls, or bars, don’t allow cigarette or cannabis smoking. Aside from being a health concern, there is a stigma attached to the act of smoking. On the other hand, many public spaces have still not banned vaping yet. You may take a dose of CBD without fear of being asked to leave or pay a fine.
Cons of CBD Vaping
- Higher upfront costs: Vaporizers cost more than most rolling papers. Single-use vaping pens may be cheaper, but since you’d have to buy a new one whenever the vaping oil has run out, these products may not be as economical as you believe them to be.
- Harmful vaping additives: Vaping cartridges contain other ingredients that be harmful when inhaled. These additives are used to produce or add flavor to the aerosol. Moreover, the metal coils used as heating elements for vaporizers may break down. These heavy metal particles may cause further damage to your lungs when they get mixed up in the aerosol you inhale.
- Long-term health damage: Like smoking, vaping can be dangerous for our health after extended or frequent practice. Since this method is relatively new, little information about its long-term risks. However, experts warn that vaping may increase your risk of developing cancer and deter the proper brain development of babies, children, and teens exposed to the vaping aerosol.
Is it Better to Smoke or Vape?
On the surface, the differences between smoking and vaping CBD might not be apparent to you. However, if you look at their respective advantages and limitations, you will find out which of the two better matches your needs and preferences.
To help you figure out the right choice for you, let’s examine each method according to the following factors:
The bioavailability of CBD varies depending on the product type. Taking CBD via either smoking or vaping tends to score higher than CBD oral products.
Because CBD enters your bloodstream through the lungs, about 30% of the CBD you have inhaled will get to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of your body. This percentage is much higher than CBD edibles since the digestion process reduces their bioavailability to around 6% only.
Between smoking and vaping, however, the latter has a slight edge. Burning CBD flowers lead to a higher loss of CBD because you have little or no control over the consistency of the heat. On the other hand, vaporizers are designed to heat the vaping fluid, wax, or herb in a stable and manageable manner. Thus, this method is more efficient in delivering CBD to your system than smoking.
As we have covered earlier, smoking requires a few more steps than vaping. Therefore, if you’re looking for a convenient way to take CBD, vaping may be the ideal choice for you.
However, many traditionalists enjoy the ceremony of rolling joints or prepping a pipe. Some have even embraced it as a part of their relaxation routine. It helps condition the body and mind to settle down and unwind.
Therefore, you need to consider how you intend to incorporate smoking or vaping into your day-to-day life. Think which of the two you prefer doing, especially since you would likely have to smoke or vape more than once each day.
Smoking CBD flowers lead to different results depending on the strain you have picked. Some stores specialize in selling rolling papers made of premium materials and bearing a wide variety of designs. Smoking pipes come in different sizes, shapes, and materials, too.
The available options grow even more comprehensive if you go for CBD vaping. New models of vaporizers are released regularly, promising faster or cleaner hits. Several top CBD brands also offer a multitude of vaping fluids, waxes, and herbs. You can get full-spectrum variants to activate the entourage effect or CBD isolates to ensure that you won’t consume any THC.
Again, the choice between the two in terms of variety will be based on your preference. Are you satisfied with what smoking offers, or do you want to have access to a more diverse market by choosing CBD vaping instead?
As you can see, smoking or vaping can be the right choice for different people. There is no single answer guaranteed to work well for everyone, so it’s up to the individual to decide.
Nonetheless, we encourage everyone to consult a medical professional before consuming CBD through any method or product. While CBD is considered safe, you might have existing health conditions that might be affected badly if CBD interacts with your other medications. Furthermore, CBD smoking and vaping come with health risks because of the probable damage they may cause to your respiratory and immune systems.
We love how diverse CBD products have become over the past few years. Yes, we still enjoy eating CBD gummies or nourishing our skin with our favorite CBD lotion. However, many continue to favor smoking or vaping CBD because of their speed and familiarity, despite all the warnings that medical experts have given about these methods in general.
As you have learned in this article, choosing to smoke or vape has its ups and downs. It’s up to you to decide if the promises of either method outweigh the risks that you’d be putting yourself into once you have embraced it as a part of your lifestyle.
In case that you believe that CBD smoking or vaping is the right choice for you, we have more articles here at TheCBDGuru.org that will serve as guides and references on the top CBD flowers or the best vaping products in the market today. Feel free to contact us if you need more info about this, and subscribe to our newsletter now to receive regular updates whenever we post new and exciting updates about our favorite cannabinoids.