Inhalable CBD products have been available since the industry’s early days. Specifically, pre-filled oil cartridges and e-liquids continue to be a favorite among the CBD customer base.
But thanks to further industry innovation, CBD users now have to option to buy CBD flower. Ironically, in this case, the oldest form of cannabis inhalation was the last to enter the market. For many buyers, however, this is better late than never.
For some, smoking CBD offers a more authentic cannabis experience, while others appreciate the advantages of inhalation - which we’ll cover shortly.
So what is CBD flower? What are the benefits and - most importantly - why should you try it? Let’s see if CBD flower is the perfect new product for you.
What is CBD Flower?
In short, CBD flower is dried and cured flower from cannabis containing 0.3% THC or less. Contrary to popular belief, “hemp” is not a plant species but rather a chemotype of the cannabis sativa L. plant, known predominantly for its high-THC “marijuana” variant.
Hemp undergoes the same growing, drying, and curing process as its federally illegal counterpart. Once complete, the CBD flower can be ground up and rolled into joints or used in a dry herb vaporizer.
Advantages and Disadvantages of CBD Flower
Like every cannabis consumption method, CBD flower has advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, your needs will determine which option is the best fit for you.
If you’re unsure, keep the following advantages and disadvantages of CBD flower in mind.
The advantages of CBD flower are similar - but not identical - to vaporized options. If you vape CBD, then flower is likely right up your alley.
Like vaping, inhalation allows cannabinoids to pass straight from your lungs into the bloodstream. This mechanism - unlike CBD oil - bypasses the digestive system entirely, resulting in noticeable effects within a few minutes.
The quick action of CBD flower is in sharp contrast to the 45-minute minimum wait time for conventional CBD edibles, like oils and gummies.
Better Bioavailability than CBD Oil
Bioavailability refers to how much of the compound (in this case, CBD) your body gets to use once the rest has gets eliminated during metabolism or other factors.
Vaping remains the most bioavailable method, ranging from 50 to 80%, depending on the quality and complexity of the device.
Conventional edibles have a bioavailability of around 20%, with most of the cannabinoids destroyed during digestion.
CBD flower - or all cannabis flower - lies in the middle. At around 30% bioavailability, combusted CBD flower is a middle ground.
Authentic Smoking Experience
CBD flower allows you to enjoy smoking the traditional way, in joints, pipes, or bongs. It may also help you reduce cigarette smoking by up to 40%, making it a viable stepping stone toward quitting tobacco.
No CBD product is perfect, and CBD flower is no exception.
Less Bioavailable than Vaping
Again, CBD flower has a higher bioavailability than edibles but falls short compared to vaped products.
Individuals who like conventional flower over vaping will inevitably trade efficiency for a more realistic smoking experience. However, if health benefits are your only concern, vaping may be a better investment.
Harder on the Lungs
One glaring issue with any kind of cannabis flower is its effect on lung health. Although there’s no evidence suggesting that burnt cannabis is as harmful as tobacco, consistent use of CBD flower could have unexpected health effects.
There’s strong evidence that prolonged inhalation of dried cannabis can weaken the upper respiratory system’s resistance to infection and irritate your airways.
Consequently, frequent smokers may experience chronic bronchitis, nagging cough, phlegm, and other lung irritations.
However, there is no connection between cannabis smoke and cancer, COPD, emphysema, or other serious respiratory illnesses.
Still, if you already have asthma or other chronic lung problems, it’s best to avoid CBD flower.
5 Expert Tips to Look for When Buying CBD Flower
Now that we understand the pros and cons of CBD flower, the next step is understanding how to find the best CBD flower possible.
Hemp cultivation is federally regulated. However, CBD supplement vendors are still largely unmonitored. This gap may encourage some companies to cut corners when growing hemp in-house. Consequently, shopping for CBD flower requires the same due diligence as any other CBD supplement.
To make sure your buy the best CBD flower available, keep the following benchmarks in mind.
Company reputation may be a difficult point for smaller operations, which is why you shouldn’t put a lot of emphasis on it. However, having a solid online presence from a line of happy customers helps add a substantial amount of credibility.
If a vendor is widely known as a top-tier seller of CBD flower, then it’s likely they have a product to back up those claims.
Again, though, there are many “underdogs” out living under the shadow of bigger CBD retailers. These hidden gems may make up for their lack of a reputation by excelling in other areas.
Third-Party Lab Reports
Third-party lab reports are absolutely essential. If a company doesn’t offer third-party lab reports on their CBD flower, this is a huge red flag.
Again, there’s nothing to stop growers from using chemical fertilizers. Poor quality control could also lead to contaminants like heavy metals, mold, or microbes.
Independent test results posted on the company website are a sign of transparency, reliability, and - most importantly - a dedication to quality.
Is it Grown Indoors or Outdoors?
Cannabis can be grown indoors or outdoors. There are benefits and drawbacks in terms of quality and logistics. But which option gives a better product?
There are various techniques and systems available to grow cannabis indoors. Grow rooms and greenhouses make excellent places to cultivate quality hemp.
However, hemp is rather tall, which can be a bit inconvenient for growers who need to pay for more space. Other components, such as temperature and humidity control; nutrients, and soil acidity testing are time-consuming and costly.
On the other hand, those features allow growers to customize the environment for their plant’s precise needs. This approach - although expensive - results in better yields along with stronger cannabinoid and terpene concentrations.
Unfortunately, the larger overhead means those expenses may be passed on to the consumer.
Outdoor growth is an excellent option for growers who want to grow large quantities of hemp with less maintenance than indoor options. This technique is the most natural way to farm cannabis, and is a favorite among many producers.
The biggest issue is that, while comparatively simpler, outdoor approaches don’t allow the same environmental controls that indoor growers offer. Plants are at the mercy of the elements and vulnerable to pests. Unfavorable weather can destroy weeks of work. Most environments also won’t allow year-round cultivation.
Of course, the ability to produce such large volumes at a lower cost means the vendors CBD flower should make less of an impact on your wallet.
Terpene Profile of the CBD Strain
Terpene profiles and CBD strains should affect your product choise, just like “marijuana” users are particular about the strains they consume.
Terpenes are oily compounds found throughout the plant kingdom, impactinng the plant’s aroma. But these terpenes also provide a laundry list of effects and health benefits. This formula is what makes different hemp strains suitable for some and ineffective for others.
However, a common misconception is that cannabis strains stay relatively consistent. This simply isn’t true. While genetically similar, factors like environment and nutrition can cause significant variations in terpenes and cannabinoids.
CBD Flower Reviews
It’s common for customer reviews to be posted on the vendor’s website, but coincidentally, all of those reviews are flattering.
However, responses on consumer forums such as Reddit’s r/cbd or Trustpilot contain honest evaluations that aren’t carefully chosen by retailers.
CBD flower is a fairly niche product, so you won’t find it from most CBD supplement vendors. However, it’s likely that CBD hemp flower’s popularity will continue to rise.
The product has advantages and disadvantages, so the ultimate choice depends on your health goals.
Hopefully, CBD flower will soon be regulated as legalization efforts pick up across the U.S. Until then, we’re responsible for ensuring that the product we get is properly tested and suited to our needs.