A Dab of CBD: Experiencing the “Magical” Molecule

CBD has taken the spotlight as patients and researchers begin to more fully understand its powerful impacts.

Once fully overshadowed by the high profile effects of THC, the beneficial impacts of CBD are gaining great favor with a broader spectrum of cannabis enthusiasts. Cannabis Now Associate Editor Greg Zeman tried a CBD-rich shatter dab to see what all the buzz is about . 


Three letters have radically transformed the national discussion about cannabis and its potential as medicine – CBD.

Like the rest of the more than 80 active cannabinoids found in cannabis, CBD existed beyond the margins of public awareness – obscured by the looming shadow of THC and its famous effects. Then the media took notice of the legal battles facing parents of children with drug-resistant seizures that respond to CBD. That publicity inspired 15 states to adopt CBD-only legislation in 2014.

Now CBD is the talk of the cannabis community, with dozens of companies, cultivators and extractors focusing their efforts on high-CBD offerings ranging from topical ointments and oral tinctures to CBD-rich strains and concentrates. 

Stoney Steve, former purchaser at Harborside Health Center and ringleader of the spectacular dab circus bearing his name, is an avid advocate of CBD dabs, which he characterizes as “magical.”

“The CBD molecule directly interacts with your endocannabinoid system,” he said. “If you have a headache, it’s gone. Stomach issues, gone. Problems with your equilibrium, balanced. It literally just makes you feel how you are supposed to feel – free of all pain and nausea.”

Steve gave me my first CBD dab during an interview some months ago – a shatter with roughly 80 percent CBD and a taste strongly reminiscent of cherry cough syrup. But we were also dabbing spoonfuls of 96 percent THCa at the time, and the aggressively psychoactive impacts of the latter blotted out the subtler benefits of the prior, at least in my memory.

So to get a clearer picture of how my own mind and body respond to CBD dabs, I enlisted the help of a regular fixture at the Stoney Steve Smokeout, Guild Extracts. Guild’s ever-expanding line of top-shelf concentrates includes a shatter called “Vitamin CBD,” which tests at roughly 45 percent THC and 17 percent CBD. Steve and several cannabis patients who use CBD regularly suggested I check it out, so I picked up a gram.

The shatter itself is physically remarkable, with light golden clarity and sturdy but flexible stability. It packs a pronounced citrus zest that nicely counteracts the cloying medicinal flavor of CBD and delivers a smooth, enjoyable cloud of vapor on the nail.

CBD is key component of the entourage effect of cannabis.

Photo Canna Obscura

I find myself alert but relaxed, like the effect from a strong cup of tea, only with deeper, sharper clarity of focus. The muscles of my neck, shoulders and back, usually wracked with stress and tension, feel loose and limber, like I just stepped out of a hot soak.

Inside my mind, the deafening roar of anxiety and distraction – a thousand shrieking deadlines, debts and disappointments – are swallowed by a bottomless sea of tranquility, and the only sound that remains is my own voice, carefully articulating this sentence.

CBD dabs don’t get you high, but they heighten your awareness. In a world where the human mind is constantly bombarded by stimulus, it’s easy to lose track of where your own thoughts end and where the static chatter of social conditioning and media messaging begin.

But a concentrated hit of CBD conjures a quiet clarity that borders on monastic. It carves out a sanctuary for your genuine self, one where you can recuperate from the constant onslaught of external pressures. It’s like an instant spa treatment for your unconscious mind.

Dabbing THC provides novel effects that inspire everything from relaxation to creativity, and I have no plans of giving it up. But CBD dabs tap into something deeper, offering less of an intoxicant than a restorative, and immediately after dabbing it, I feel like a truer, less distorted expression of myself.

So while I remain skeptical of those touting miraculous benefits (cancer panacea, anyone?) I’m convinced CBD concentrates have a major place in the future of cannapharmacology. But don’t take my word for it, try a high-CBD dab for yourself and experience the powerful effects of this once-ignored cannabis compound.

Published in issue 20 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE.

Greg Zeman is the Associate Editor of Cannabis Now Magazine. His previous editorial credits include Staff Writer at a national political news site (Politix), Editor-In-Chief of a bilingual San Francisco newspaper (El Tecolote) and Founding Editor of an investigative journalism non-profit (Bay News Movement). His writing has been featured in SF Weekly, SF Evergreen, 3200 Stories, Offbeat and elsewhere. He wakes up at 4:19 but doesn't leave the house until eleven past seven.

5 Comments

  1. Kathryn

    April 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I take Hemp CBD; are the properties the same as far as health? I grow cannabis for personal use, but I order hemp products.

  2. Mark

    March 8, 2017 at 7:52 am

    It works for my epilepsy, but not as good as I expected. Still better than chemical though.

  3. Gloria Theen

    February 13, 2017 at 6:24 am

    I can give my personal experience with cbd lotion. I had a surgery to take a cancerous uterus removed. The surgeon used a robot to perform the procedure. All went well. Four days post surgery I started to feel a great deal of pain along the surgical area ( total abdominal area) . I was told it was neuropathy from all the disruption of nerves during the surgery. I used Lidocaine ointment to stop the pain but used it often because it didn’t work well. When discussed with my neurologist he said I was treating the symptom not the cause. He gave me enough 3percent cbd lotion to cover the area. With in 10 minutes the pain was gone. He allowed a second application for me to take home if I needed it. I didn’t the pain has yet to return. This should be available over the counter , it works beautifully. The cost is too high.

  4. Johnny

    December 29, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    I have always wanted to try it,many friends and some family have told me about this,I suffer from severe anxiety and depression plus insomnia and knee pain, any way to try this? I just want my life back.

  5. Nikki Barr

    December 28, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Oh how I wish my Crap Government and Shitty National Health Service here in N. Ire (controlled by Britain) would allow me This Medicine for my MS but No, they don’t ☹️Instead they keep Drug Companys happy by allowing their pills that at worst increase a patient’s problems and at best calm their minds about their problems. Give us God’s Own Medicine, give us Cannabis!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *