I was never much of a smoker. My cigarette phases tended to start like flashes — drinking, at a bar — would persist for a few days, then fizzle out. A few months later, at another bar or party, I’d cadge another smoke and thus would begin the familiar arc: three days of occasional smoking followed by loss of interest.
This counts as luck.
My lack of enthusiasm stemmed in part from the taste. The smoke shellacked my tongue and lips with what I imagined was a flavor similar to dirty socks. The smoke, too, tended to park itself in my nostrils, rendering the world into all of its aromatic wonder into a simulacrum of a moldering bureau drawer.
The coughing, the cigarette-perfumed clothes and fingers, the subtle nausea that often accompanied a deep drag — I wanted none of it.
Then I found CBG.
While medical research into CBG remains nascent, scientists do believe the cannabinoid is especially effective at massaging anxiety. Strains of cannabis that are high in CBG, for example, reportedly precipitate fewer of the anxiety related episodes that are commonly associated with cannabis. As a result, cannabis strains high in CBG are often considered better balanced than strains with negligible volumes of CBG.
CBG is short for Cannabigerol, and it is one of the over 100 cannabinoids found in Cannabis and is the biological and chemical precursor to the other cannabinoids many of us are familiar with such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol.) As much research is being conducted into all the strains of Cannabis, CBG is looking very promising in aiding cancer, glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome and a host of other ailments as well as lessening anxiety.
Right now CBG is federally legal, as long as it is derived from hemp. But I seem to be partial to smoking it – and I get immediate results.
Most CBG is available in tinctures from places like Charlotte’s Web (charlottesweb.com), MedTerra (Medterrahemp.org) and Leafywell (Leafywell.com).
But now I found something that can satisfy my need to cut anxiety without getting really high and the ability to smoke without any nicotine.
There are a couple of other brands, but my favorite is Essence Smokes (essencesmokes.com), which bills itself as the first CBG cigarette.
Traditional cigarette marketing often revolved around assertions of “smooth,” but I never found one that lived up to the hype. They were rough. I find a draw on this cigarette, on the other hand, is barely perceptible. Not only do inhalations fail to precipitate coughs, they don’t even scratch the throat or spark the occasional throat clearing.
Smooth? You bet. This matters.
One of the most important features, however, hinges on flavor. Before taking my first drag, I anticipated the acrid, bitter, sour, curdled flavor I loathed in cigarettes. The CBG cigarette looked and felt precisely like one of those old-school cigs.
Instead, the smoke offered subtlety: nuances of hay, hints of meadow grass, whispers of herbs and flowers and even earth. It was lovely.
Finally, the effects beguiled me. Let’s face it — the nicotine, rather than the flavor, is what drew people to tobacco cigarettes (and in many cases kept them by people’s sides for decades). They deliver a buzz, and obviously can lead to brutal addiction. The effect was charged, kinetic. They made me hyperactive, as if I’d just snorted a bump of blow.
My CBG cigarette, on the other hand, delivers a sense of tranquility and calm, without causing drowsiness. I found smoking the cigarette eased me into a pleasing contemplative mood.
The whole help plant, rather than tobacco, clearly serves as the foundation for the effect. More than 100 cannabinoids find purchase in the hemp plant; when consumed together the entourage effect does wonderful things for the human body.
The CBG cigarettes are hemp, rather than cannabis. Smoking them doesn’t get me high, or spark anxious paranoia. Instead, they just help me chill out.
At the same time, they also seem to assist me concentrate and focus. I smoked one prior to researching this article, and found the work immersive and productive, more so than if I had skipped the smoke prior to digging into the research.
As these smokes aren’t addictive, I don’t think my dabbling with smoking again will ripen into a two-pack-a-day habit. But I won’t hesitate to light up one of them at the end of a stressful day, or during a picnic at a mountain lake, or just hanging out on the front porch with a beer.
It’s been decades since I took my last draw on a tobacco cigarette. Given their extreme danger to human health, I never imagined I’d reach for a cigarette again. But cigarettes no longer mean just one thing — rolled tobacco products. I’m game for having a smoke break again — especially if it’s loaded with CBG.
Douglas Brown has written for The Washington Post and The Denver Post among others. He is the founder of Campfire Content (campfirecontent.com).