Why Does CBD Flower Say Not Intended for Smoking?

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Seeing “not intended for smoking” on CBD flower is enough to make anyone do a double-take. If not for smoking, why is CBD flower even sold? Is it dangerous?

Many retailers label CBD flower products as “not intended for smoking” to avoid legal issues. This phrase helps the shop avoid any responsibility for a consumer’s decision to smoke the hemp. It is still safe to smoke hemp, even with this label.

Still, the fact that smokable hemp is illegal in some states in the first place raises some concerns about whether or not such products pose health concerns. Smoking hemp is still smoking, after all, and misinformation about how dangerous cannabis is in general can skew one’s perspective in either direction.

Is smoking CBD flower bad for you?

Inhaling smoke into the lungs, regardless of whether or not it comes from CBD hemp flower, can be irritating and, for some, a potential health risk. Those who live with respiratory conditions may be particularly susceptible to negative reactions to smoking.

Though problematic for some, smoking CBD flower is actually not inherently “bad,” at least not in the way that many of us consider tobacco smoke to be bad. Smoke from burning cannabis, including hemp flower, is less carcinogenic than tobacco smoke, and the cannabinoids that are inhaled as a user smokes hemp can actually help kill cancerous cells.

Cannabis has yet to be definitively linked to any type of cancer. Unlike tobacco, hemp can’t be casually or officially connected to significant, long-term damage.

This reality leads many researchers to believe that the primary cause behind smoke-related cancers may be genetic changes that occur once potentially harmful molecules resulting from combustion (burning) are inhaled.

In other words, the problem with smoking hemp isn’t necessarily the hemp itself. So, those who are interested in using CBD but would like to refrain from smoking can still utilize other products without consequence. 

Even vaping, which heats flower to a high temperature to release cannabinoid-rich vapor, can be a better option – no flame, minimal irritation.

Those who smoke heavily or exclusively may notice unpleasant results – frequent coughing or phlegm in the lungs, shortness of breath, wheezing, etc. – due to a build-up in the lungs, inflammation, or temporary damage to soft tissue (thanks to the smoke’s high temperature). Respiratory illnesses can make these sorts of side effects worse, come on sooner, or last longer.

Still, smoking hemp occasionally or even daily can be a manageable and relatively burden-free routine for many CBD users. Limiting the amount you choose to smoke as opposed to vaping or using other products can help minimize the risk of side effects.

The bottom line is this: limited smoking is unlikely to cause noticeable changes to how you feel or your health, but heavy smoking, especially over long periods of time, can become problematic. No matter what, current research indicates that cannabis smoke is generally less harmful than tobacco, and cannabis offers many therapeutic benefits that tobacco does not.

A couple in their twenties sitting side by side smoking joints.

Is smoking CBD bad for your heart?

Current research doesn’t suggest that CBD is bad for the heart, but smoking cannabis products with THC or heavy smoking in general can indeed be a problem.

THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana plants (separate from hemp, which is a different type of cannabis), causes an accelerated heart rate and higher blood pressure, both of which can be risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks, and related health concerns.

Because hemp flower contains only trace amounts of THC at most, it’s much less likely to cause these sorts of effects. 

Smoke itself can be damaging to the respiratory and cardiovascular system over time, so those who are particularly concerned or who already have heart-related health conditions may want to steer clear of it.

Can CBD flower hurt you?

CBD flower can not cause an overdose and has not been linked to serious health conditions, though more inquiry into the long-term effects of the cannabinoid are necessary to fully answer this question.

Generally speaking, any harm that CBD may cause is likely to be very minimal and be far outweighed by its benefits. Whether or not CBD causes harm – whether it be irritation, side effects, etc. – depends partially on what type of product you choose to use.

For instance, smoking, as discussed, is perhaps the most potentially bothersome consumption method an individual can choose. On the other hand, other more potent products may be more likely to cause side effects like nausea and vomiting.

CBD itself, though, is not harmful. In fact, it may be one of the safest and most practical frequently-used substances out there. It will not cause any of the serious consequences often associated with consuming other substances – seizures, stroke, heart attack, unconsciousness, etc. – even at excessively high levels.

This fact doesn’t mean that CBD can’t cause unpleasant experiences, though. It’s always best to be realistic with dosages and choose products that work well with your body and account for any pre-existing health concerns. 

Always speak with a doctor before trying CBD if you take prescription medication, as the two can interact and make each other less effective.

Side Effects of Smoking CBD Flower

The side effects of smoking CBD flower can include those associated with CBD itself and those associated with inhaling hot fumes. 

Side effects are more likely to occur for new users, those who have taken a high dose of CBD, or those who take prescription medications. While less than fun to experience, these side effects are temporary and usually not too severe.

Examples to look out for include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue, drowsiness

Side effects that may arise from smoking in particular may include:

If you notice what you believe to be CBD-related adverse effects, it’s best to stop using the product that caused the negative reaction. You may also consider adjusting your dosage for the future, especially if it’s a product you’ve used successfully in the past.

Side effects should resolve on their own as CBD makes its way out of your system, but never hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional if you experience persistent discomfort.

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

What does smoking CBD feel like?

CBD is known to create an intense feeling of relaxation, euphoria, and restfulness; it can relieve pain throughout the body, lower anxiety levels, and make a user feel at peace.

Smoking CBD won’t get you high like marijuana will, but it can absolutely produce noticeable and life-changing effects. The results of smoking usually set in fairly quickly – just a few minutes, in many cases – which makes it one of the best options for immediate relief.

Is CBD flower psychoactive?

No, CBD flower is not psychoactive. It does not cause the mind-altering and impairing effects associated with marijuana.

CBD flower does not contain enough THC, which is psychoactive, to produce a high. In the U.S., legally sold hemp must contain 0.3% THC or lower. CBD flower purchased through medical marijuana programs may contain higher levels of THC and thus be considered psychoactive, but what’s available on the general market is not the same.

Takeaway: Warnings for Sellers, Not Consumers

The phrase “not intended for smoking” can be misleading and, when it comes to CBD flower, alarming, but its presence does not indicate that any given CBD product is more dangerous, harmful, or legitimate than another. 

Oftentimes brands label flower products with phrases like “not intended for smoking” or “not intended for human consumption” as a precaution for both legal and commercial reasons.

Laws in the U.S. surrounding marijuana, hemp and CBD, and who may or may not use these products are constantly changing, especially when it comes to hemp flower. 

Because it is virtually indistinguishable from marijuana flower, some states argue that the possession and smoking of hemp flower waste important law enforcement resources; if it looks and smells like marijuana, law enforcement must proceed accordingly (even if there’s a chance it’s hemp).

Hemp flower’s similarity to marijuana plays a significant role in shaping laws, but unfortunately, so too does continued stigma surrounding cannabis’ use, even despite increased attention surrounding its therapeutic and personal benefits.

You can think of the phrase “not intended for smoking” as a sort of “get out of jail free” pass; should a seller or manufacturer fall into trouble for hemp cultivation or selling hemp flower, being able to claim that the hemp technically isn’t marketed for consumption helps retailers slip under the radar and even continue to sell products.

While it may be possible to find loopholes or ways to access smokable hemp in states where it’s illegal, it’s likely not worth the potential trouble that may ensue. Fortunately, there are a myriad of equally advantageous CBD product types out there that can get the job done without any risk or stress. Check out our directory here for product breakdowns, reviews, and more.

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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