CBD has pushed cannabis to places in modern society never before reached by marijuana. Cannabis culture has gone fully mainstream and CBD’s non-intoxicating properties have been one of the major reasons why.
Taking CBD has never been so accessible. CBD oil and infused topicals have dominated the space, but in the last 5 years, smokable hemp flower has gained popularity. Growers are manipulating some of the most famous strains to cater to consumers who aren’t smoking to get high. This is a complete 180 degree turn from how cannabis genetics have been manipulated since stoners started keeping track hundreds of years ago.
CBD oil has remained the most popular administration method throughout the CBD boom. There is a reason why CBD oil is widely accepted, and flower is only just emerging. Nielsen projects smokable hemp to only hold about 5% of the entire hemp-derived products market in the few coming years. This number is set to grow but it’s unclear if CBD flower will take a larger segment.
To understand why these trends exist, it’s important to understand how CBD is produced.
How Does Hemp Become CBD?
We all know CBD is derived from hemp, but many don’t think about how this process is carried out or realize how active the consumer’s role can be.
Hemp plants produce flowers, in these buds there is a phytocannabinoid called CBDA. For this plant compound to become CBD, it must be decarboxylated.
CBD oil is created by decarboxylating or heating CBDA and in turn converting it to CBD. The CBD is then added to a carrier oil and divided up into bottles of tinctures of different concentrations and sizes.
The decarboxylation process in smokable flower is done by the user. Usually with a lighter. Eating hemp flower won’t give you any of the potential benefits related to CBD because you are ingesting CBDA. Same process applies to marijuana flower, eating it doesn’t get you high.
When taken correctly, CBD oil is a fairly efficient way to administer CBD. Don’t be scared off by companies (usually selling smokable flower, vape, or CBD with nanotechnology) that say your body doesn’t absorb 100% of the product and you are just wasting your time and money. All methods are flawed. Even if you were to inject CBD directly into your veins, there will most likely be some lost in the process.
Making guesses on how much CBD will be available for the body to use is counterproductive. Everyone is different, administration methods can be done wrong or ineffectively, and we don’t have the studies to back up these claims.
The consensus of the industry is that taking CBD under your tongue (sublingually) gets to the bloodstream more efficiently than swallowing the product and allowing the stomach to digest it. This is how most manufacturers recommend their customers to administer the oil tincture.
CBD oil is easy to take, discreet, and convenient. It takes only a few seconds and you can let the CBD go to work. Considering that the bioavailability is decent (relatively speaking) and there are no consequences to letting oil dissolve under your tongue, it’s a solid administration method.
Smoking CBD is more efficient. There’s no doubt about it, but there is some responsibility given to the consumer. Some people are better smokers than others. This has a major impact on how much CBD is getting into the bloodstream.
When done correctly, and smoke is held in the lungs consistently, not a whole lot of CBD is getting wasted. The obvious downside to smokable flower is the smoke. Not only is it bad for you, but smoking takes time. Smoking flower is more of an experience than taking CBD oil.
CBD Oil Vs. Flower
Weighting the pros and cons regarding CBD oil and smokable flower is up to the consumer. If you have the time, don’t care about hot smoke entering your lungs, and are looking for higher bioavailability, smoking is the obvious choice.
You will find many strains of CBD hemp flower readily available for purchase at local and online stores. Each strain provides a unique flavor and experience. If you are unfamiliar with the different flower strains, a little research will help. Most CBD users choose oil because it is healthier and much easier to use. There are minimal consequences to taking CBD sublingually and it is fairly efficient. Smoking comes with consequences, but it feels more like a traditional cannabis experience.