Pros and Cons of CBD Cigarettes – Ask an Industry Expert

Redwood Reserve original CBD hemp flower cigarette box with five cigarettes laying in front.

CBD cigarettes are appealing options for smoking cessation and fast pain relief, but are there any major cons? 

CBD cigarettes are a great option for individuals looking to smoke a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, and they deliver incredible pain-relieving results very quickly. However, CBD cigarettes also present their own potential health issues, and may also potentially lead to a positive drug test for frequent users.

Looking to learn more? In this article, we’ll break down the upsides and downsides of smoking CBD cigarettes.

Pros

Can be used to replace conventional cigarettes

One major use for CBD cigarettes is as smoking cessation aid. When in the middle of a hard-to-kick smoking habit, it can be incredibly hard to quit completely cold turkey. Instead, it may be helpful to use an alternative that is healthier but reminiscent of a cigarette in order to slowly wean yourself off. 

  • CBD cigarettes contain no nicotine, tobacco, or other harmful chemicals that are in normal cigarettes.

When it comes to finding an alternative for smoking, the lack of nicotine in CBD cigarettes is a major bonus. Some smoking cessation devices, such as e-cigarettes, purport to help individuals wean off of cigarettes by offering nicotine in healthier forms. While the “healthiness” claim has been generally proven false, given the inclusion of some toxic substances in nicotine vapes like heavy metals and vitamin E acetate, providing nicotine can still make the habit impossible to quit for some individuals. 

Luckily, CBD is a completely non-addictive option for a smoking alternative. It has been shown to be non-habit-forming in the same way as marijuana, while also not providing many opportunities for emotional addictions to form. 

  • CBD cigarettes are the healthier option compared to traditional cigarettes.

While the jury is largely still out on exactly how dangerous cannabis is to smoke, health-wise, research has begun to point to it as a significantly healthier alternative to things like traditional tobacco cigarettes. 

For one thing, studies following marijuana smokers seem to find that they have way lower rates of emphysema or lung cancer than lifetime cigarette smokers, and that there seems to be no definitive link to cannabis as a source of cancer at all. 

Furthermore, cannabis has been shown to not have the detrimental cardiovascular effects on the body that smoking tobacco can, potentially since it is a vasodilator rather than a vasoconstrictor like tobacco; cannabis opens your blood vessels more so more blood can pass through, lowering your overall blood pressure, while tobacco cigarettes do the opposite. 

It’s worth noting that research on cannabis is still relatively young, so the more startling findings about its long term health impacts might still be on the way. After all, smoking anything can be dangerous for your lung health. But as of right now, there is not enough evidence to definitively claim that CBD has notable negative long-term health effects. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that many cannabis studies like these ones compare the everyday smoking habits of cannabis smokers and tobacco smokers, which are generally completely different. Most cannabis smokers do not use pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes, but instead smoke out of glass or ceramic bowls or wrap their own joints. Additionally, CBD cigarettes are generally additive-free. Tobacco smokers almost exclusively use industry-made cigarettes, which undoubtedly contain harmful additives that would not be present in tobacco smoked on its own. Furthermore, cannabis smokers smoke far less frequently than cigarette smokers, opting for a few hits and then allowing the effects to take hold. 

However, of the two substances, cannabis has been demonstrated to be a healthier substance to smoke generally. 

  • CBD offers a similar smoking experience.

While it’s not surprising that addiction follows when tobacco cigarettes contain so many chemically addictive substances, another factor which reinforces addiction and makes it difficult to quit is the overall experience or routine of smoking cigarettes. There is a particular shape, feeling, and practice when it comes to smoking that not many other experiences emulate. Even e-cigarettes designed for smoking cessation don’t exactly tackle this element. Being able to put your lips around a cigarette-shaped object, light it up, inhale, and blow out can all be parts of smoking that long-time smokers begin to associate with calm, ritual, and quiet. Even just the act of “going out for a smoke break” is a pleasant moment throughout the day for a small pleasure and some alone time.

Many studies also seem to show that smokers are often friends with or close to other smokers, and that other peoples’ smoking habits have an influence on their own, a fact which can complicate things when it comes to quitting smoking. There are certain friend groups in which smoking is ingrained, especially in spaces like bars, concerts, and outings. If smoking is a way that you bond with your friends, a CBD cigarette can keep you healthy, while also ensuring that you are not left out. 

For these reasons, offering tobacco smoking alternatives that are similar enough to smoking tobacco in ritual and experience without as many negatives can be a huge positive. While it won’t necessarily curb cravings for nicotine, it can curb cravings for the act of smoking, or help to eliminate other situations which can cause people to begin smoking again, such as situations where smoking is a part of the social affair. 

A mans hand stamping out aa cigarette butt in an ashtray.

High bioavailability

Bioavailability is a concept in pharmacology used to describe how effectively a drug or other substance is working in the body. Specifically, it is a measure of the percentage of the drug absorbed into the bloodstream. Bioavailability can change depending on a variety of factors, but one principle guides what works best: the more of a drug that can get into the bloodstream at a faster pace, the higher the bioavailability.

By definition, intravenous injection is the most bioavailable way to deliver any drug, since it enters the bloodstream immediately with no degradation from metabolism or other enzymatic interactions. After injection, however, methods like inhalation (i.e. smoking, dabbing, or vaporizing) also stack up as very bioavailable, due to the fact that inhaling allows you to absorb the substance through your lungs, which are built to circulate oxygen into the blood quickly. It can also bypass metabolism that occurs in the gut and liver, which can further break the substance down. 

For CBD users, knowledge of bioavailability is one of best ways to get the most bang for your buck. If speed and efficiency are important to you when taking CBD, for instance, knowing the most bioavailable delivery methods can help you to figure out what works best for you; if you have no time to waste and you know the pros and cons, you’ll be able to steer clear of methods like edibles and CBD creams and get straight to what works for you. 

Fast onset

Along the same lines of being more highly bioavailable, smoked CBD has an incredibly fast onset. Estimates claim you can begin to feel the effects of inhaled CBD within three to ten minutes of inhalation. This fast onset is a major bonus for CBD users who don’t want to feel like they have to wait or plan ahead in order to experience the greatest effects. Instead, they can just light up a CBD cigarette and feel the beneficial effects they’re looking for in a few minutes. 

For many users, a long wait time just might not be practical. Or, worse yet, it may be excruciating, as in the case of CBD users looking to help manage pain symptoms with their CBD. While many people do find a way to seamlessly slip CBD into their daily routine without much fuss, it may just not work for some people to plan ahead of time for their edible to kick in. Long onset time might mean that you have to wait an exorbitant amount of time before being able to head off to sleep. 

However, a CBD cigarette is quick and easy. You can enjoy the therapeutic effects of the CBD in your bloodstream without worrying about timing it out properly so you can go to sleep, begin to relax, or go on with your day with your pain managed better.

Can be smoked in public without attracting attention

For those worried about convenience, CBD cigarettes are one of the easier and more portable methods of CBD delivery out there. They aren’t potentially suspicious or ungainly like CBD flower and a pipe, nor are they difficult to use anywhere like a dab rig. Instead, they’re very simple, especially for anyone who has smoked before. And more importantly, they can be used anywhere outside that doesn’t bear a “no smoking” sign. 

Simply put the filter in your mouth, light up the end while inhaling, take an inhale, and then breath it back out. If anyone sees you doing this, the assumption will be that you’re smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. Compare this with carrying around CBD flower — it will look exactly like you’re smoking weed, which could be a problem in states that have not legalized it as of right now. 

Cons

Smoking of any kind can damage the lungs

While smoking cannabis might not be quite as bad as cigarette smoking, it’s still smoking, an activity which naturally inflames the lungs. Additionally, though links between smoking cannabis and health risks might not be as concrete as those found in tobacco cigarette smoking, it’s important to remember that studies surrounding cannabis use and its effects on health are relatively new to the medical scene compared to those surrounding tobacco cigarettes. 

Research has had varied conclusions on the relative risks of smoking cannabis, but some findings can be cause for concern. For one thing, smoked cannabis actually does also contain the same type of tar that is created when tobacco is burned — it’s a chemical by-product of burning plant matter. While there have been no definitive studies to prove that smoking CBD causes cancer, the tar from cigarettes has been proven to cause problems like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and even lung cancer. CBD cigarettes create that same type of cila-paralyzing tar, so speculation would tell us that future studies may point out a connection between CBD cigarettes and illnesses in the lungs. 

Strawberry blonde women blowing out a cloud of smoke a mountain range in the background.

Smells like marijuana

Unfortunately, while the visual profile of an individual smoking CBD cigarettes is relatively inconspicuous, CBD cigarettes may have a strong scent that smells very similar (if not identical) to weed when smoked.

While it might be frustrating for anxious users looking for a quick smoke without raising any eyebrows, it does make sense: hemp flower, from which smokable CBD products are generally derived, is the same plant as marijuana. Technically, they’re not even two different species or subspecies, but instead two different consumer designations for the Cannabis Sativa plant. And while the relative concentrations of THC and CBD, legality, and effects differ between the two, almost everything else remains the same — growing methods, chemical composition, taste, and smell.

For this reason, it may be inadvisable to spark up a CBD cigarette in public if you’re nervous about that aspect, as it may be mistaken for marijuana. Additionally, keep in mind that cigarettes in general can be somewhat strong-smelling as compared with other delivery methods; if you love to use CBD before work but don’t want to reek of weed and encounter raised eyebrows in the office, you might want to opt for a CBD drop or pill.

You can generally quell any hubbub about what you’re smoking by showing them the clearly labeled packaging. However, for some people, they may want to avoid a fuss altogether.

May potentially lead to a failed drug test

One major risk of CBD cigarettes is that they can potentially lead to a failed drug test. While this is not common, it does sometimes happen when CBD with THC is taken at high enough doses to register on a drug test. 

Drug tests do not traditionally test for CBD, and they would really have no reason to — CBD is non-addictive, non-psychoactive, and federally legal (and largely legal across all 50 states). However, THC appears very commonly on drug tests since it is the active component in marijuana, and THC also appears very commonly in CBD products, including CBD cigarettes. 

CBD cigarettes contain CBD flower, which will always contain some amount of THC. Unlike extract-based products, CBD cigarettes generally don’t come in variations like broad spectrum or isolate but instead are always full spectrum. While any reputable seller should be selling you CBD cigarettes made from CBD flower with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, even this amount can sometimes tip off drug tests if you use the CBD cigarettes extensively.

Why? Well, THC is fat-soluble, making it very easy for your body to store it in your fat cells where it will take a long time to leave your body. Over time, THC can build up in fat cells for frequent users, potentially causing a positive drug test result. 

While this does not happen especially often, it’s something to be wary of if you’re looking for a CBD product and you work in a field where you must frequently take drug tests. 

Takeaway

CBD cigarettes can offer fast relief for those smoking to manage pain and anxiety, and can also provide some relief to those looking to quit smoking tobacco. However, CBD cigarettes may also present unknown health risks over time, and they may cause issues for you down the line if you smoke them frequently and must be drug tested.

If you’re looking to explore CBD cigarettes yourself, consider looking through our directory of CBD products, where we include some smokable CBD products like pre-rolls and flower. Additionally, we offer a number of other CBD products, from softgels to tinctures to gummies and more. All of these, from reputable sellers across the country, with public health at the forefront of their brands. If you’re specifically looking for CBD cigarettes, click here for our personal favorite product, Redwood Reserve Hemp Flower Cigarettes.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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Our goal is to educate you on all things CBD, enabling you to navigate this vast unregulated industry like a pro. We know all too well how overwhelming it can be to find trustworthy brands in this crowded market, so we’re here to help!

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