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As laws have shifted, you’ve probably noticed a changing landscape of cannabis products over the last few years, many touting their CBD content.
Vaping products and other alternatives to traditional cigarettes have been trending for years, and in some states, CBD cigarettes have made their way onto the scene, too. CBD products are relatively new to the market and come in various flavors and forms like oil, gummies, and skin patches.
Today, we’ll unwrap CBD cigarettes to see how they differ from traditional cigarettes—and why people use CBD products for pain, mental health, and sleep.
What exactly are CBD cigarettes?
You’ve likely heard of cannabis. This plant comes in different forms, and one of the most important distinctions is between hemp and marijuana—two popular options among users.
While marijuana contains both CBD and THC, hemp contains CBD with no or nearly no THC. By law, it’s hemp if it has less than 0.3% THC. If it contains 0.3% THC or more, it’s labeled marijuana.
The stuffing in CBD cigarettes contains hemp, a strain of Cannabis sativa plant naturally high in CBD. Known more formally as cannabidiol, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant (Batalla, 2021).
If you’re looking for smokable hemp, there are several products to choose from. CBD hemp cigarettes, or “hempettes,” look and feel similar to tobacco cigarettes.
You can get packaged and pre-rolled CBD joints and blunts. These products both contain hemp but differ in size and wrapping material. Joints are usually smaller and wrapped in rolling or cigarette paper. Blunts are larger and traditionally wrapped in tobacco paper or cigar wraps. You can also buy loose hemp flowers and rolling paper to make your own.
There are smokeless CBD options, such as vaping products, but we’ll cover those in a different article.
CBD for anxiety: dosage, benefits and side effects
CBD vs. tobacco cigarettes
CBD cigarettes look just like tobacco cigarettes, but it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
CBD cigarettes contain hemp, and some have a mixture of hemp and tobacco. CBD is not addictive (VanDolah, 2019). For people looking to quit traditional cigarettes, hemp smokes are a tobacco-free substitute that can fulfill the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking cigarettes.
Hemp cigarettes and pre-rolled products may vary in CBD content and additives, such as menthol. Make sure you read the description of the product so you know what you’re getting.
Are CBD cigarettes safe?
Most hemp cigarettes are free of tobacco and addictive substances like nicotine. Still, they can have damaging effects on the body.
Right now, we don’t have data regarding the health effects of hemp smoke. Animal studies show marijuana smoke damages the lungs similarly to smoking tobacco. (Maertens, 2013).
Scientists have been trying to study the effects of marijuana smoke, but there are some challenges. Most studies on people who smoke marijuana evaluate people who also smoke tobacco, so it’s hard to know for certain the effects of marijuana smoke alone.
The research we have right now is conflicting, yet it’s possible that smoking marijuana can increase your risk of breathing conditions such as chronic obstructive lung disorder (COPD), respiratory infections, and cancer.
If you take other medications, you may want to talk to a healthcare provider before using CBD products. Cannabis can also change how your liver processes other drugs (VanDolah, 2019).
Do I have anxiety? Types of anxiety and how to treat it
What effect does CBD have on the body?
Many people seek out CBD because of its calming effects. It can also help with pain control and improve your sleep (VanDolah, 2019).
While it has a host of benefits, CBD isn’t for everyone. Scientists are working hard to determine all the benefits of CBD and its potential uses in medicine. Right now, the only CBD product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use is Epidiolex, a prescription CBD solution used in combination with other medications for treating childhood seizures (FDA, 2020).
More research is needed, but here are some of the most common medical conditions people use CBD for (Corroon, 2018):
- Chronic pain
- Insomnia and other sleep conditions
- Migraines, cluster, and tension headaches
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It’s best to talk to a healthcare provider before using CBD for any underlying health issues.
Can CBD cigarettes get you high?
No, smoking CBD cigarettes won’t make you high. The cannabis plant consists of many chemical compounds. The two most common and well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can be intoxicating and gives you the feeling of being high. CBD is not psychoactive and has antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties. If used together, CBD can actually counteract some of the intoxicating effects of THC (Breijyeh, 2021).
Natural remedies for anxiety: what works?
Do CBD cigarettes show up on a drug test?
Even though CBD cigarettes won’t get you high, you may still test positive for marijuana after using them.
Most workplace drug screens test for the presence of certain chemicals in your urine. In the case of marijuana, the drug test will turn positive if there’s THC in your urine, and since hemp can contain small amounts of THC, the drug test can still show as positive (ElSohly, 2003).
Are CBD cigarettes legal?
As cannabis laws continue to change, the legality of hemp cigarettes will depend on where and when you read this.
Hemp, defined as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC, became federally legal in the United States following the 2018 Farm Bill, but individual state laws vary (Abernathy, 2019).
Many states have legalized hemp for recreational and medical use, while it’s illegal for any use in other states. Some states have legalized CBD oil but not smokable hemp. Always check with your local government to stay up-to-date on your state’s laws.
Use your best judgment when smoking hemp products. If you’re in public, know how far you need to be from buildings or schools. Also, keep in mind that legal hemp may look and smell like illegal marijuana.
- Abernethy, A. (2019, July 25). Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2021 from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019
- Batalla, A., Bos, J., Postma, A., & Bossong, M. G. (2021). The Impact of Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11, 618184. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.618184. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33551817/
- Breijyeh, Z., Jubeh, B., Bufo, S. A., Karaman, R., & Scrano, L. (2021). Cannabis: A Toxin-Producing Plant with Potential Therapeutic Uses. Toxins, 13(2), 117. doi: 10.3390/toxins13020117. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33562446/
- Chatkin, J. M., Zabert, G., Zabert, I., Chatkin, G., Jiménez-Ruiz, C. A., de Granda-Orive, J. I., Buljubasich, D., Solano Reina, S., Figueiredo, A., Ravara, S., Riesco Miranda, J. A., Gratziou, C., & en representación del Grupo de trabajo de tabaquismo ERS/ALAT/SEPAR/SBP/SPP. (2017). Lung Disease Associated With Marijuana Use. Archivos de Bronconeumología (English Edition), 53(9), 510–515. doi:10.1016/j.arbr.2017.07.010. Retrieved from https://sci-hub.do/10.1016/j.arbr.2017.07.010
- Corroon, J., & Phillips, J. A. (2018). A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 152–161. doi: 10.1089/can.2018.0006. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30014038/
- Epidiolex [package insert]. Carlsbad, CA: Greenwich Biosciences, Inc.; 2020. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2020/210365s008lbl.pdf
- ElSohly, M. A. (2003). Practical challenges to positive drug tests for marijuana. Clinical Chemistry, 49(7), 1037–1038. doi: 10.1373/49.7.1037. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12816896/
- Maertens, R. M., White, P. A., Williams, A., & Yauk, C. L. (2013). A global toxicogenomic analysis investigating the mechanistic differences between tobacco and marijuana smoke condensates in vitro. Toxicology, 308, 60–73. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2013.03.008. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23542559/
- VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019). Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 94(9), 1840–1851. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31447137/
Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.