The myth that smoking hemp will only result in a headache has been thoroughly dispelled.
In fact, in just a year since its inception, the smokable hemp market has quickly grown to become a multi-million dollar market. Put simply, people are very interested in CBD-rich hemp flower and they are smoking a lot of it. But can you smoke too much hemp flower?
That’s the question this article will attempt to answer.
You can smoke hemp flower?
Yes, you can smoke hemp flower. After all, hemp is just cannabis with low levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. Although hemp has traditionally been grown for use in industry, thanks to its strong fibre, and food, thanks to its nutritious seed and seed oil, these days it’s being cultivated for CBD and its resin-rich flower.
Premium smokable hemp flower is indistinguishable from federally illegal THC-containing cannabis (marijuana). The only difference is that the resin of hemp is rich in CBD and has less than 0.3% THC by dried weight (o.3% in the US, 0.2% in the EU and the UK, 1% in Switzerland and Colombia, etc.)
That means you can smoke hemp flower just like regular ‘weed’- you just won’t get ‘high’. CBD is known to be potent anti-inflammatory, however, with strong anti-anxiety effects. Therefore, you are likely to feel relaxed and clear-minded after a smoke of hemp flower.
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How to smoke hemp flower
Just ask any weed-smoker; there’re a number of ways to go about smoking dried herbs. Here’s your most common:
- Joint or Blunt – Grind up your hemp flower and roll it up using a rolling paper or blunt wrap. This is probably the most popular hemp smoking method. Although it can take some time to master, it’s not too difficult to roll up a smokable joint quickly.
- Pipe – If rolling joints is a no-no for you, using a small hand pipe is even easier. All you need to do is pack the bowl with ground hemp flower, light it up and take a pull. This method is very easy and efficient. A vast number of pipes are available in all different sizes.
- Bong – Similar to a pipe, only the smoke passes through a water chamber before it is inhaled. This passing through water filters particles from the smoke. It also cools the smoke, making it more pleasant to inhale.
Other methods of consumption
While smoking may be the most popular way of consuming hemp flower, it’s not the only way. In fact, there are a number of other ways which are healthier and more efficient.
- Vaping – Using a dry herb vaporizer is growing in popularity among cannabis consumers as it makes a safer alternative to smoking. It’s considered safer because rather than burn the plant material, a vaporizer allows you to heat herbs such as hemp to a point where the resin evaporates and can be inhaled into the lungs.
- Edibles – You can also eat and cook with hemp flower. CBD can be absorbed via the stomach as well as the lungs.
You will need to decarb it first, however. Hemp flower contains CBDa, the acidic precursor to CBD. As with THCa, CBDa needs to undergo a process called decarboxylation to become its ‘active’ form. You do this by heating the hemp at about 230 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.
- Topicals – Many people turn their hemp flower into topicals that are rubbed into the skin. You can get creative with balms, salves, lotions and serums by mixing in other botanical ingredients and oils.
What happens if you smoke a lot of hemp flower?
Hemp flower contains high levels of CBD, which is considered non-psychoactive. Even in high doses, CBD won’t have too much of an obvious effects. CBD oil has been known to cause stomach upsets in large doses, but that’s presumably down to the carrier oil in the product rather than the CBD.
Smoking a lot of hemp might have you feeling feel slightly tired or sedated. Most people report feeling relaxed and clear-headed after smoking hemp, so large doses will probably enhance this feeling.
All hemp flower on the market will contain some THC, however (well, technically it contains THCa, which becomes psychoactive THC upon heating). And that means if you smoke enough, you may be able to build up a noticeable dose of THC.
Let’s say the hemp bud you have contains 0.3% total THC (the legal limit). That’s 3mg per gram. To feel any effects from THC, you need at least a 10mg dose in most cases (possible more or less depending on tolerance and other factors).
Therefore, about 3 and a half grams will give you an adequate dose. But that’s only if you inhale and absorb every bit of THC in the bud, which you won’t if you smoke it. You see, the act of combustion will burn off some THC, which is why smoking is not the most efficient method of consuming cannabinoids.
So, you’ll probably need to smoke quite a bit more than 3g (5/6g is more likely) if you want to get even a little high. And that’s not even considering the fact that CBD has a counteractive effect to THC, meaning it can reduce the intense cerebral effects of THC and possibly make it harder to recognise a THC-induced high.
Having said that, if you smoke a few big hemp flower joints in succession, or take a few bowls of hemp one after the other, you’ll no doubt feel something. But that’s probably mostly from the chemicals in the smoke combined with a lack of oxygen.
Health effects of smoking hemp
It goes without saying that smoking anything (i.e. inhaling burnt plant matter and smoke into your lungs) is going to have some negative effects on your body. The process of combustion produces numerous harmful chemicals, including the carcinogen carbon monoxide.
However, the severity of the dangers of smoking hemp is not clear. There is research that says that smoking cannabis is not linked to lung cancer like tobacco is, but can lead to reversible lung damage.
So, can you smoke too much hemp flower? The truth is you could probably smoke too much of anything. Smoking just isn’t healthy, and there are so many other more efficient and safer ways of consuming hemp flower.
On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to overdose on CBD by smoking hemp flower, and levels of THC are generally so low that it would be difficult to notice them. Therefore, there’s not much stopping you from smoking as much as you like.
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