Smoking Hemp Is a Growing Cannabis Trend. But What Does It Actually Do?

It’s still cannabis, only bred for fiber rather than the resin that gets you high.

Till now, most cannabis consumers thought they knew the deal with hemp.

In basic terms, it's the weed you don't smoke. It's still cannabis, only bred for fiber rather than the resin that gets you high. As such, it contains practically no THC. It is, however, chock-full of cannabidiol, or CBD, the cannabinoid with many allegedly therapeutic properties even your parents probably use to soothe their arthritis.

So with CBD mania running wild—combined with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the federal list of controlled substances—"smokable hemp" is actually a thing now, and it's growing in popularity.

Portland CBD company Roots of Life, for example, markets full-spectrum hemp pre-rolls, which contain almost no detectable THC but a whopping 15 percent CBD—meaning, they can be purchased outside a dispensary,

I always presumed that smoking hemp would only give you a headache, and I've never had much success feeling the supposed benefits of CBD. To find out if inhaling a highly concentrated amount of cannabidiol would change anything, I picked up the Roots of Life pre-roll from the CBD Hemp Store in Buckman, intent on finding physical relief when my body needed it most: after a long, grueling run up the hills of Forest Park.

The Experience

I opened the pre-roll's bulky plastic packaging and pulled out a joint resembling pretty much every other pre-roll on the market today. Legs sore from my run, I sat on my front porch in the afternoon sun and took a few quick puffs and waited for the soothing effects to settle in. It was curiously odorless and tasted only of light, airy smoke, with none of the familiar flavors, and each drag felt softer and far less harsh than a typical joint.

How I Spent My "High"

As promised, I didn't find feel even remotely high. In fact, it felt as if I was taking purposeless drags from a cigarette that accomplished little more than simply making me look kind of cool for a second. I might have felt a subtle sense of calm, though it's difficult to discern if that was the CBD working its magic or a placebo effect.

The Takeaway

It was hard not to come away thinking smoking hemp is more of a gimmick than a therapeutic alternative. Then again, the science of CBD is still in the early stages of research—the "entourage effect" proposes that the beneficial effects of CBD are more pronounced when combined with THC, so even the high amount of cannabidiol in hemp might not work without a little bit of the good stuff.

The Bottom Line

Your experience may vary. While I didn't feel much of anything, I wouldn't go so far as to suggest the Roots of Life pre-roll is unworthy of your money—and at only $5.25 for a gram, it's certainly not going to hurt your wallet much regardless. But if you're really looking for something that might legitimately chill you out, I would still suggest a 1-to-1 pre-roll from a dispensary that features equal parts CBD and THC.

BUY IT: The Roots of Life CBD Hemp Pre-Roll is available at CBD Hemp Store, 1523 SE Morrison St., 503-206-4060,

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