Smoking Hemp vs. Tobacco: Here’s What To Know

by | Last updated Jan 20, 2022

If you are wondering if there are any benefits in smoking hemp versus smoking tobacco, read on! There are many benefits, as you will read in this in-depth guide.
Both hemp and tobacco are smokable plants and offer a pleasing effect when smoked. Hemp produces a calming effect due to the cannabinoids, while tobacco produces pleasure due to nicotine, a slight stimulant.

Let’s consider the history of smoking! As early as 5000 BC, people used tobacco smoking in rituals where they believed they would receive healing from ailments. By the 16th century, the cultivation and trading of tobacco spread quickly. In the 1600s, American farmers started growing hemp for multiple purposes, including rope, lantern oil, and paper.

In the 1700s, farmers grew both tobacco and hemp as staple crops, which England legally mandated. And by the 1960s, farming increased and expanded, but there were many controversies over poor health conditions due to smoking. In 1970 THC was known as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and hemp was illegal to cultivate.

However, in 2018 the US Farm Bill allowed registered hemp farmers to grow and sell hemp. All CBD products must undergo lab testing to ensure the THC level is 0.3% or below, regulated by the FDA.

Smoking Hemp vs. Tobacco: Here’s What To Know

Read our comprehensive guide If you are wondering what’s the difference between smoking hemp or tobacco and which one is more harmful for your body.

Benefits of Smoking Hemp:

  • Hemp production is excellent for the economy. Crops grow in abundance, and within weeks, they are cut down for manufacturing hemp products, including cigarettes.
  • Smoking hemp has many healing effects. When people have inflammation or pain, the CBD in hemp interacts with a core component of the endocannabinoid system and the immune system. Receptors are tiny proteins that attach to your cells, which receive signals which help the cells respond.
  • Research has shown the smoking hemp increases serotonin levels in the brain, which helps treat anxiety and depression.
  • Smoking hemp improves sleep. It interacted with specific receptors, potentially affecting the sleep/wake cycle, improving sleep disorders.
  • On the contrary, smoking hemp can improve your ability to stay awake during the day. It is also known to improve brain function and alertness.
  • It has antioxidant properties which promote muscle recovery, neuroprotective properties which promote good mental health, and antibacterial properties which promote healthy skin.
  • Smoking hemp is not addictive if the THC levels are 0.3% or less. It also does not give you a ‘high.’ It is important to note that if one smokes hemp that contains more the 0.3% THC levels, this drug’s effects are hazardous.
  • Smoking hemp does not have any nasty side effects and addictions, and although smoking is not suitable for the lungs, it is less harmful to the lungs than tobacco. This is because people generally smoke less hemp than tobacco, and hemp does not contain nicotine.

Effects of Smoking Hemp:

  • Smoking hemp has many sound side effects including, therapeutic effects on mental health, depression, and anxiety.
  • It helps with muscle pain and promotes healthy skin.
  • It is not addictive.
  • Don’t confuse hemp with marijuana. They are the same plant species, but hemp contains 0.3% THC or less, while marijuana contains more the 0.3% THC. Hemp is not harmful, while marijuana is harmful to the body. For example, smoking or eating marijuana increases the heart rate and can cause a heart attack. It can also cause hallucinations and other dangerous side effects.

Benefits of Smoking Tobacco:

  • The benefit of smoking tobacco is that its production is excellent for the economy. It is keeping tobacco farming in business and providing the USA government with huge revenue.
  • Smoking tobacco plays a part in preventing Parkinson’s Disease. Smoking upregulates the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor levels in the brain, therefore helping the cells involved in Parkinson’s disease.
  • People who smoke tobacco lose weight. This is because smoking increases the metabolic rate and decreased metabolic efficiency. It reduces caloric absorption, which is responsible for giving us an appetite. The metabolic effect of smoking tobacco explains why smokers have a lower body mass.
  • Smoking tobacco can improve vigilance and information processing. It can significantly help persons with Alzheimer’s disease as it improves memory.
  • Tobacco can benefit effects involved in disorders associated with estrogen excess. Too much estrogen causes endometrial cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and fibrocystic breast disease. The anti-estrogenic result is unexplained but may be involved in making changes in the metabolism of estrogen.

Effects of Smoking Tobacco:

  • Nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive. It stimulates receptors in the brain to release dopamine, triggering a pleasurable response.
  • More the 16 million Americans are living with diseases caused by smoking today. Some of which are serious diseases. For every 30 people living with a severe tobacco smoking-related illness, one person has died due to smoking.
  • Smoking tobacco has killed more the 480 000 Americans in one year.
  • Out of the over 5000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, 70 are harmful and cancer-causing. These chemicals damage the DNA. It makes it harder for the cells to repair DNA and damage parts that protect us from cancers. The persistent cough found in patients who smoke can be a sure sign that they may have lung cancer.
  • Smoking tobacco is carcinogenic, which means that it causes cancer. It causes up to 15 types of different cancer. Two of the most common are lung and bowel cancer. Other cancers caused by smoking tobacco are the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, sinuses, larynx, esophagus, liver, stomach, ovary, pancreas, kidney, cervix, bladder, and some types of leukemia.
  • Tobacco smoking increases the risk of certain eye diseases, tuberculosis, and problems with the immune system.
  • Smoking tobacco causes premature aging and causes people to look older than they are. This is because the toxins in tobacco damage collagen and elastin, which are components of the skin, which keep our skin firm and supple. Without collagen, the skin becomes hardened and less elastic, which leads to wrinkles and premature aging.
  • It is known to cause bad breath. This is because smoking dries out the mouth and causes halitosis. Smoking also causes gum disease, which is another source of bad breath.
  • Smoking tobacco stains the teeth. This is because the tar and nicotine found in cigarettes or tobacco itself make your teeth yellow in a short period. People who have smoking tobacco for years end up with brown color teeth.
  • Not only is smoking tobacco expensive, but it is toxic and pollutes the environment.

Hemp Vs. Tobacco: A Closer Look

  • Hemp is from the Cannabis Sativa species, and it’s part of the Cannabaceae family. It is native to central Asia, but some species are grown naturally in other parts of the world. While tobacco is from the Nicotiana species, and it’s part of the Solanaceae family. It is native to Australia, America, and Africa.
  • Smoking hemp, which has no nicotine, is known for its potential therapeutic and healing properties, while tobacco, which comprises nicotine, is a potent alkaloid stimulant, making smoking tobacco highly addictive. Instead of promoting good health, smoking tobacco causes all types of cancer.
  • Hemp consists of cannabinoids with no stimulants but contains terpenes, phytocannabinoids, and tobacco; due to nicotine, it has stimulants and only contains very few terpenes.
  • The diverse variety of terpenes found in hemp, like myrcene, humulene, and caryophyllene, offer a unique array of therapeutic properties. At the same time, tobacco contains harmful chemicals such a the highly addictive nicotine, toxic cadmium, and nitrates used to fertilize the plants.
  • If you stopped smoking hemp, you would have no withdrawal symptoms, but if you quit smoking tobacco, you will have withdrawal symptoms due to the nicotine in the cigarette.
  • If you look at the benefits of smoking hemp and smoking tobacco, smoking hemp has far more health benefits than smoking tobacco.


When reading about the different benefits, side effects, etc., between smoking hemp or tobacco, one can quickly determine that smoking hemp is far more beneficial to one’s health in general. It is non-addictive and has beneficial therapeutic effects, helping with many ailments and improving health. The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

On the other hand, smoking tobacco has many harmful side effects if compared to benefits. Not only does smoking tobacco cause cancer, but it has detrimental consequences. For example, it causes addiction, bad breath, stains the teeth, causes gum disease, like periodontal disease, and is toxic. When looking at the benefits and the side effects of smoking tobacco, the harmful side effects far outweigh the benefits.

Smoking hemp is by far the better option in terms of maintaining and improving good health. It has far less harmful effects on the body and, because smoked less, has a better impact on the lungs than smoking tobacco.

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