For years, the public’s idea of cannabis has been a psychoactive plant with intoxicating effects. It gets you high, gives you the “munchies,” affects your short-term memory and all kinds of other things, most of which recreational users find exciting and non-users find horrifying. But now there’s a new kid on the block: CBD buds.
CBD hemp buds consist mostly of cannabidiol (CBD) rather than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive part of weed. CBD doesn’t produce any intoxicating effects, nor does it cause addiction or dependence. In a nutshell, CBD buds won’t get you high, or trigger all the negative consequences that are associated with cannabis.
Apart from that, there’s little to choose between the two. On first appearances, CBD flower and cannabis flower are indistinguishable from each other – each has a strong, green hue complemented by colored pistils, and are coated by sticky, resinous trichomes, where all the beneficial compounds are harboured. They even smell the same, as both are laden with the terpenes, the potent aroma molecules found in so many plants.
But if you don’t use either, or currently prefer THC-rich cannabis, why should you consider smoking or vaping CBD-rich nugs, or use the extracts from these plants to concoct hemp-infused remedies? Here are five reasons why CBD flower is better than cannabis buds in 2019.
CBD buds don’t affect your ability to function
If you have ever smoked a joint, you’ll know full well how it puts you out of action for three or four hours. While some people are able to function when stoned, even claiming it makes them more productive, for many people, a joint means relaxing on the sofa, binge-watching a show and ordering a pizza. Depending on the strain, marijuana can make you sleepy, inhibit motor control and adversely affect memory.
Of course, this means going about day-to-day tasks becomes almost impossible. For instance, driving under the influence of weed buds is a complete no-no. And doing anything else that requires you to be in full control of your physical and mental capabilities becomes less than wise.
The benefits of CBD nugs
In contrast, CBD nugs don’t induce these short-term adverse negative effects. Indeed, many find that CBD helps to clear the head, boost focus and concentration, and generally improve alertness. These benefits are particularly associated with low concentrations of CBD, however much more research is necessary to determine the specific effects of various CBD dosages.
With CBD joints, you can enjoy a flavorful smoke, pick up all the relaxing and stress-relieving qualities, before going about your day. CBD doesn’t impair memory or motivation, and nor will it stimulate your appetite to crazy levels. In addition, CBD doesn’t cause any euphoric effects, but it may be effective at enhancing mood and alleviating depressive symptoms.
In a nutshell, you can incorporate CBD flower into your daily routine, and still function as you would normally. With recreational, high-THC flower, this is much more difficult, and perhaps even impossible. Moreover, THC shows up on drug tests, but CBD doesn’t. So if you’re subjected to random drug tests at work, it’s nice to know you can take as much CBD as you like, as often as you like, without jeopardizing your job.
CBD flower is better for anxiety
Cannabis and THC has several potential medicinal benefits, but for the vast majority of users, it seems that anxiety is not one of them. The mind-altering effects are associated with paranoia and anxiety, and may even increase the likelihood of psychosis and schizophrenia – particularly from high-THC strains (15%+ THC).
In contrast, the existing literature on CBD for anxiety is mostly positive. Studies show that CBD can assist with anxiety in real-life situations, and that it appears to reduce symptoms through actions in the serotonin system and on GABA receptors. More studies are necessary to establish whether CBD has clinically significant benefits for anxiety. And if it does, we need to know more about what dosage is most appropriate.
However, from the studies we have currently, higher dosages look likely to have the most effect. For reference, a 1-gram joint consisting of 20% CBD will contain 200mg of the cannabinoid – that’s a hefty amount! Even better, as anxiety symptoms are typically very acute (sudden and intense), smoking joints or vaping CBD flower is ideal, since inhalation is a rapid route of administration. The only other products comparable to CBD buds for speed of effects are tincture oils, which are taken via sublingual absorption through mucous membranes in the mouth.
CBD buds boast long-term neuroprotective effects
Every year, neuroscience is uncovering new facts about the brain, and carving new realities about how we should look after ourselves. As more research comes to light, it’s now more obvious than ever that the brain is an organ like any other and must be maintained to limit the effects of decline in old age. In terms of the brain, care and practices like meditation help stave off the threat of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s).
Studies show that cannabinoids have significant influence in the brain, and therefore over our neurological health. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC easily pass through the blood-brain barrier. Here, they interact with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, a biological network present in our central nervous systems.
Research shows that CBD and THC affect the brain in opposite ways. For example, in the hippocampus, a central part of the brain implicated in motivation and the consolidation of short and long-term memories, THC has a neurotoxic effect, while CBD has a neuroprotective effect. In layman’s terms, long-term use and abuse of THC could be destructive for memory and motivation, whereas supplementing the brain with CBD protects this region, and improves cognitive health.
CBD’s brain benefits don’t end there. New research exploring the causes of depression has unearthed an unlikely culprit: inflammation, or specifically neuroinflammation. Preliminary animal studies have found that a dose of CBD works to restore functioning in the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain fulfils several complex roles, including emotional processing and decision making.
CBD regulates your endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not unique to humans, and has in fact been detected in a myriad of life forms, including Cate and dogs. However, we weren’t aware of this system’s presence until the 1990s, and it only became apparent thanks to ground-breaking research on cannabis and cannabinoids from Israel, and the so-called Godfather of Cannabis, Dr Raphael Mechoulam.
This highly complex network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids appears to have numerous purposes, although we’re still learning just what the ECS is necessary for. Crucially and unusually, the system holds influence over both our physical and mental health. This alone suggests a regulated ECS is very important to our all-round health. Factors and variables controlled or impacted by ECS functioning are mood, appetite, pain perception, cognitive health, immune system health and inflammation and reproductive health.
CBD helps ensure all these variables are kept in balance, by regulating the body’s levels of endocannabinoids. These compounds have very similar properties to the cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp, but are created naturally by the body.
CBD is not responsible for generating endocannabinoids, but instead for stopping reuptake, or their breakdown. This is a familiar action of many drugs, such as SSRI antidepressants, which stop serotonin breakdown. In a similar vein, CBD stops breakdown of anandamide, a critical endocannabinoid that binds with both of the main two cannabinoid receptors. Keeping anandamide blood levels could explain why CBD may help in so many areas. Further to this theme, studies show that a deficiency of endocannabinoids could cause multiple illnesses, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraines.
Interestingly, some research indicates omega-3 fatty acids are key to synthesizing (creating) endocannabinoids. Hemp is a rich source of omega-3, so it’s possible that CBD buds help with ECS regulation in this way, too.
CBD buds reduce your tolerance to marijuana
Anyone who has smoked marijuana buds a lot, over an extended period of time, will know that they quickly gain a tolerance to THC. Becoming more tolerant to this psychoactive substance means that it takes more and more weed and THC to get the same high. Not only does this make weed-smoking increasingly expensive, consuming huge quantities of THC is also dangerous for your health.
Traditionally, weed-smokers have brought their tolerances back to normal by having a short break from pot. But now, there’s another way! As we know, CBD has the opposite effect to THC, in many areas. While THC gets you higher, CBD reduces the high. Through this principle, CBD can help to lower your tolerance to weed. That’s why many cannabis users are now engaging in cannabinoid cycling. This is preferable for some users as they don’t need to take a break, but simply change what they’re smoking!
Cannabinoid cycling involves switching between high-THC and high-CBD strains. The idea is that supplementing your ECS with CBD quickly restores regular activity in the system. More specifically, CBD rebalances the ECS by tackling desensitivity to CB1 receptors.
Cannabinoid cycling is perhaps even better for you than simply having a break from weed. As we’ve shown, CBD has protective properties against some of THC’s more negative effects. There’s so much high-quality CBD flower on the market nowadays. And it’s certainly worth trying when you know you need a break from potent cannabis buds.
CBD buds are going from strength to strength in the CBD market. They’re a fantastic way of ensuring you benefit from all the hemp plant, and not just the CBD. And since they aren’t intoxicating, these nugs are more sustainable than regular weed. Therefore, the appeal of CBD nugs isn’t just to non-cannabis users. Marijuana smokers who want to stay safe in the long run can also benefit from this contrasting form of flower.
Even better, as CBD flower grows in profile, we should see even more premium strains go on sale. CBD bud potency has already increased significantly in recent times. This makes it easier to get strong and efficient CBD relief.
Growers are also looking at the benefits of other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including cannabigerol (CBG). Plenty more research is needed on these compounds. Moreover, cultivators are still learning how to maximize concentrations of CBD, CBG and others. But the science is moving in the right direction, and that has to bode well for the future!