Remember, because CBD oils are largely unregulated, there is no guarantee that a product is either safe or effective.
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
Among the few human trials evaluating CBD’s anxiolytic effects was one published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2019. For this study, 57 men were given either CBD oil or a placebo before a public-speaking event. Anxiety was evaluated using physiological measures (such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and a relatively reliable test for mood states known as the Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS).
What to Look For
Many of these interactions are mild and require no adjustment to treatment. Others may require a drug substitution or the separation of doses by several hours.
In all but a few studies, lower doses of CBD (10 milligrams per kilogram, mg/kg, or less) improved some symptoms of anxiety. Higher doses (100 mg/kg or more) exhibited virtually no effect.
To use CBD oil, place one or more drops under the tongue and hold the dose there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing. Capsules and gummies are easier to dose, although they tend to be more costly. CBD sublingual sprays are available as well.
To avoid interactions, tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, or recreational drugs you are taking.
Hemp flower and high-CBD flower may look the same, but they’re legally very different. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
In addition to a feeling of relaxation, smoking CBD has been reported to provide quick relief of swelling and pain. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Contrary to popular belief, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD have a lot in common. They’re the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and they both have the potential to help with anxiety. They even have the same chemical structure (the atoms are just arranged differently). The main difference between THC and CBD can be summed up in one word: intoxication.
Hemp flower vs. high-CBD flower
Anecdotally, cannabis consumers have used CBD to alleviate depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain. But until multiple studies confirm the anecdotal benefits of CBD and the benefits of smoking CBD specifically, that’s all they are — anecdotal.
If you’re curious about smoking CBD flower and want to explore the pros and cons, this is the guide for you. And if you’re looking for a literal guide to smoking, we have a guide for that, too.
Rick Simpson Oil, named after its Canadian developer who claims he cured his own skin cancer with a custom blend of cannabis oil, is a popular form of CBD oil that is commonly smoked.
Many countries differentiate hemp from marijuana by the amount of THC produced. In the US, industrial hemp is defined as a Cannabis sativa L. plant containing no more than 0.3% THC by weight. Thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, you can legally buy hemp flower online in nearly every state.
“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.
CBD benefits include the following:
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. Dr. Matharu-Daley says it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether CBD could affect your existing prescriptions.
Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
She adds, “[Another difference is that] CBD is derived from hemp and has been classified as a legal substance. Hemp has <0.3% THC. Conversely, cannabis plants such as marijuana are grown to have much higher levels of THC and are still illegal according to the FDA, although individual states vary as to their use.”