Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is one of the many medicinal compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its psychoactive cousin THC, you won’t get high if you smoke pure CBD. However, doing this will still have a range of different effects on your body.
In this article, we take a look at what happens when you smoke pure CBD. It is a good idea, or could it have some negative side effects? Let’s take a look.
What Is Pure CBD?
Cannabidiol is just one of the hundreds of compounds produced by the cannabis plant. It belongs to a family of chemicals known as cannabinoids, which also includes THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC, to name a few. Cannabis also produces numerous other compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids, all of which have different effects on the human body.
When one smokes or vaporizes cannabis in its natural form, they inhale a combination of all of these chemicals. However, it is also possible to isolate individual compounds such as THC or CBD using various extraction methods.
These can then be used to make concentrates which are rich in the chosen cannabinoid. These potent products come in a variety of forms, including oil, wax, shatter, and budder. CBD is also available in a form known as CBD isolate. This is a crystalline powder that contains over 99% CBD. This is the purest available form of CBD and it can be used in a variety of ways.
How to Use Pure CBD
Most people associate CBD with CBD oil. This is a liquid that can be taken by holding it under the tongue for around 30-90 seconds and then swallowing. Although it is possible to purchase CBD oils that are very potent, they will often contain other compounds as well as a carrier, such as MCT oil. As a result, these oils are not pure CBD; proximating pure CBD requires CBD isolate, which is a powder.
Because it comes as a powder, CBD isolate is more versatile than other cannabis concentrates. In addition to inhalation, CBD isolate can be added to edibles, used to make tinctures, or added to creams for topical use.
So, what happens in your body when you smoke pure CBD?
What Happens When You Smoke Pure CBD?
When you smoke CBD (or consume it in any other way), it can have profound effects on your body and mind. This is in large part due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). We say ‘in part’ because CBD also influences other biological systems, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
The ECS is a network of receptors that are located throughout the body and which interact with chemicals called endocannabinoids. When endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors, they trigger several different processes, which help the body to maintain homeostasis or a state of internal balance.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis have molecules that are similarly shaped to endocannabinoids. As a result, they can bind with the body’s cannabinoid receptors in a comparable way. For example, THC binds strongly with cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce its intoxicating effects.
CBD, however, works in a slightly different way. It changes the way that other molecules, like THC, bind with the receptors. This is why CBD is thought to mitigate some of the side effects of THC.
CBD also works outside the ECS. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is even thought to protect nerve cells from damage. Another action of CBD outside of the ECS is its anti-tumoral effects and ability to affect a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death) in damaged cells. The exact mechanism of this is still not fully understood, but the current evidence is promising.
These varied effects on the body are the reason why CBD has been receiving so much positive press in the past few years. Its many potential benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties
- Protects nerve cells from damage
- Reduces anxiety
Now, as with any powerful medicine, there are often some adverse side effects. Is this also true of CBD?
Smoking Pure CBD: Safety and Side Effects
Experts generally consider CBD safe and it is well-tolerated by most people. However, it is not entirely free from side effects. The most common adverse effects of CBD include:
- Dry mouth
- Digestive problems
- Reduced blood pressure
Not all of these side effects will affect everyone, and when they do, they are rarely severe. For this reason, CBD has gained a reputation for being safe as well as effective. However, there is a potential for drug interactions with CBD.
The liver processes many different drugs using an enzyme called cytochrome P450 (CYP450), and CBD is one of them. If one takes CBD concurrently with other medications that this pathway metabolizes, it can compete for the CYP450 enzyme and increase levels of the other drug in the bloodstream.
One example of this undesirable drug-drug interaction is the anti-epileptic drug clobazam. Studies have found that taking CBD increases concentrations of clobazam in the blood, meaning that lower doses are necessary to provide the same effect.
Therefore, if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medication, talk to your physician before using CBD. There also exists the potential that CBD could affect liver enzymes and cause damage if taken over a long period, but the current evidence is limited. CBD research is still in its infancy and there are very few studies on the compound’s long-term effects.
Another downside to smoking pure CBD is that it is not the healthiest route of consumption. Although CBD is less harmful than tobacco, smoking may irritate the lungs to some extent. One could argue that using a vaporizer may be better, but many vape juices contain chemicals that could be equally dangerous.
It is also critical to note that one should only smoke or vape products which are intended to be used that way. Never try to smoke regular CBD oil.
Smoking Pure CBD vs. Full-Spectrum CBD
The final disadvantage of smoking pure CBD is that it may not be as effective as a full-spectrum product. Full-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol along with all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and the various other compounds in cannabis.
Some experts believe that full-spectrum products are more effective because of the ‘entourage effect.’ This is based on the theory that the chemicals in cannabis work together synergistically to provide benefits beyond those of each ingredient alone.
If you would prefer to ensure that your CBD is 100% pure and unadulterated, then CBD isolate would be the safest option. You may not benefit from the entourage effect, but you would be getting the highest concentration of CBD and a versatile product that can be used in a number of ways.
What Happens When You Smoke Pure CBD? Final Thoughts
Smoking pure CBD has a variety of positive effects on the body, although it is not the healthiest method of consumption. However, smoking CBD does produce fast results, and for some people, this is the most important thing.
How one takes CBD is a matter of personal preference. For example, CBD in the form of an oil has become extremely popular over the last couple of years.
However you decide to consume CBD, the most important thing is to stay healthy.
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