CBD flower is a new product that's taking the supplement industry by storm. Although CBD oil and other conventional hemp plant products are readily available, smoking high CBD cannabis flower is a massive hit among dry herb lovers.
So what is CBD flower, and what sets it apart from other CBD products in terms of health benefits and risks? And more importantly, are CBD hemp flowers right for you?
To best answer this question, we don't just need to know what CBD flower is. In this handy guide to CBD flower, we'll look at the many components and uses associated with hemp buds.
What is CBD Flower?
CBD flower is any kind of high-CBD bud derived from cultivars of the cannabis Sativa L. plant species. "Hemp" is simply a legal term distinguishing cannabis with less than 0.3% THC from its federally illegal cousin, "marijuana," which exceeds the 0.3% threshold.
There are many strains of "marijuana" that almost exclusively contain CBD, but they still go above 0.3% THC by a small margin. So CBD flower and hemp flower are mutually inclusive, coming from the same plant.
CBD Flower Terms You Should Know
Before we jump in, let's do a crash course in CBD hemp flower lingo.
Hemp Flower: Dried and cured buds from cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.
CBD Pre-Rolls: Hemp flower wrapped in paper for smoking. This product can resemble conventional joints or cigarettes.
Non-Intoxicating: Doesn't cause a "high."
Terpenes: Oily compounds throughout the plant kingdom that are responsible for giving plants and fruits their distinct smells and flavors. They also may have certain health benefits and effects.
Flavonoids: Compounds that give flowers their distinct colors. This pigmentation helps attract pollinators.
Entourage Effect: A synergistic relationship between cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes, which support and boost each other for a longer, stronger, more effective experience.
In-Door CBD Flower: CBD flower grown indoors using methods like hydroponics.
Green-House CBD Flower: Indoor-grown CBD flowers cultivated specifically in greenhouses.
Outdoor CBD Flower: CBD flower grown outside.
Indica-Dominant Hemp: Hemp that tends to be shorter, bushier, and has larger fan leaves. Incorrectly associated with universal relaxing effects.
Sativa-Dominant Hemp: Grows tall, with less bushy, thinner-shaped leaves. Believed (again, incorrectly) to always trigger an energizing, clear-headed experience.
Hybrid-Dominant Hemp: Hemp that is usually a 50/50 or 60/40 split between Indica and Sativa. These plants may exhibit physical characteristics from one lineage or appear as a mix of both.
Does CBD Flower Make You High?
No, CBD flower doesn't make you high. It can't interact with the endocannabinoid receptors pathways responsible for triggering THC intoxication. In other words, getting high off CBD is chemically and biologically impossible.
What Does CBD Flower Feel Like?
The CBD flower experience depends on a few things that we'll cover shortly. The bottom line is that there's no way to say CBD flower has the same consistent effects.
Some think the indica, sativa, or hybrid hemp plants accurately predict how CBD flower feels. But these are based on a 200-year-old myth. It's the compounds, not the genetics, that determine the effects of CBD flower strains.
CBD also adapts to your body's needs. Depending on several factors (including mood, body chemistry, and age - to name a few), CBD may feel:
These are just a few examples of the many ways someone can experience CBD hemp flower.
What are CBD Flower Terpenes?
CBD flower terpenes are oily compounds that exist in all plants, some of which make their way into the cannabis sativa plant - the scientific classification for "marijuana" and "hemp."
Why Terpenes Matter
The cannabis plant is more than just a piece of vegetation. Inside the cannabis flower lies a complex, high concentration of compounds. We know quite a bit about cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant. CBD-rich flower, CBD cigarettes, and similar CBD products don't produce psychoactive effects but still carry cerebral effects that impact the brain and human body.
So how is this all possible? To better understand this, we need a closer look at terpenes found in hemp plants and other cannabis flower.
Do you enjoy essential oils or the smell of fresh flowers? If so, you've experienced the power of terpenes first-hand. These oily compounds vary in percentage and concentration - much like CBD flower products - from one species to another. However, they all serve the same purpose.
If you love the citrusy smell of fresh lemon, you can thank a terpene called "limonene." Lilacs are also a wonderful way to add some pleasant scents to your garden, all thanks to the terpene known as "linalool."
Just like aroma, terpenes give fruits and edible plants their flavors. Myrcene and caryophyllene, for instance, are responsible for the way mangoes and black pepper taste, respectively.
These terpenes serve the same purpose in CBD oil, CBD flowers, and other full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products.
Terpenes affect the way you enjoy different fruits, vegetables, and flowers. But many cannabis users don't realize the medicinal value in high-CBD strains from industrial hemp.
The cannabinoids found in CBD flower strains combine with terpenes in the synergistic "entourage effect." If you're wondering why certain CBD hemp strains have different beneficial effects, terpenes play a significant (but not exclusive) part in this.
The entourage effect allows cannabinoids and terpenes to build upon each other and enhance the CBD bud's benefits. This is one of a few potential health advantages of CBD flower.
Each terpene also has its own list of effects. For instance, limonene is believed to help increase physical energy while de-stressing the mind. Myrcene - the most common terpene in cannabis sativa - is overwhelmingly sedating. It is also more likely (but not universally) to be dominant in indica strains, further adding to the myth that all indica’s are relaxing.
Ultimately, CBD-rich hemp flower (or any cannabis cultivar) wouldn't be nearly as effective without terpenes and the associated entourage effect.
What are CBD Flower Benefits?
From a practical perspective, there are a few key benefits to using CBD flower.
Smoking CBD flower is arguably the cheapest way to use CBD. You can buy a substantial volume for a good price. More importantly, CBD flower doesn't require any special equipment (unless you choose a dry herb vaporizer).
A simple set of rolling papers or a $10 pipe are all you need.
CBD flower isn't all about therapeutic effects. Consuming CBD through joints, pipes, or bongs offers a level of authenticity that other products don't bring to the table.
Being able to simply light up a CBD joint is the perfect experience for traditional cannabis smokers and cigarette users alike. The same thing applies to pipes and bongs.
Whether it's vape oil, e-liquid, or flower, inhaling CBD has a critical advantage over other consumption methods. When smoked, CBD passes straight from the lungs into the bloodstream. This mechanism of action allows for nearly immediate effects - perfect for rapid relief.
However, keep in mind that the duration of effect is lowest with inhalation. Expect the effects to last roughly two to four hours.
Alternative to Vaping
Although vaped CBD oils and e-liquids are popular, the recent e-cigarette illness epidemic raised concerns about the safety of electronic smoking products. CBD flower is arguably safer.
But so far, no evidence exists indicating that cannabis flower can cause lung cancer, COPD, emphysema, or other tobacco-related conditions. However, that doesn't mean the toxins from burnt flowers are safe either. We simply know more about the health impact of vaping than we do about cannabis.
What is CBD Flower Good For?
Like all CBD products, the benefits of CBD hemp flowers aren't fully understood. It's convenient that CBD-rich hemp strains naturally contain less than 0.3% THC. The lack of psychoactive effects makes hemp-derived supplements particularly appealing.
Unfortunately, there are no clinical studies on CBD flower benefits. CBD oil has proven effective against specific forms of childhood epilepsy, but no such findings are attributed to CBD hemp flower.
Still, there's some limited evidence that smokable hemp flower buds carry similar benefits to other CBD products. Because health professionals don't recommend smoking, it's no surprise that CBD hemp flower hasn't received the same attention as oils or even vape products.
But since we're focusing on inhaled hemp flower, we'll stick to categories that contain some level of research.
CBD has a strong reputation for its relaxing properties. And while these are typically associated with products like CBD oil, edibles, and vapes, the same applies to smokable hemp flower.
Many consumers use CBD hemp flower to help unwind. But there may be evidence supporting using CBD flower to mitigate anxiety. Researchers from a 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics were surprised to see that inhaled CBD helps counter the anxiety-triggering effects of THC.
It's no secret that quitting cigarettes is a challenge. Millions try and fail due to nicotine's incredibly addictive nature.
However, according to the Center for Advancing Health (C.F.A.H.), inhaled CBD helped reduce cigarette consumption in participants by 40%, compared to no change in the placebo group.
Other Possible Benefits
A lack of studies on CBD hemp flower makes it difficult to say anything remotely conclusive. However, CBD smokers report other possible benefits, including:
Many of these received attention in the form of oils and other ingestible CBD. But the same can't be said for CBD flower. Hopefully, that'll change in the near future.
Is CBD Flower Legal to Buy Online?
Yes, CBD flower is legal to buy online. However, some states restrict the possession and consumption of CBD flower, while others sit in a legal gray area. On a federal level, CBD flower is completely legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
But as of the writing of this article, CBD flower is illegal in the following states:
District of Columbia
Do You Need to Be Over 21 to Buy CBD Flower?
Yes, you need to be over 21 to buy CBD flower in most states. CBD flower is not a Schedule I controlled substance liked THC. It's marketed and sold as a health supplement, not a drug.
Consequently, the government hasn't set a legal minimum age. However, CBD vendors typically don't sell to people under 21, similar to alcohol. You may find some that sell to individuals 18 or over.
Will Smoking CBD Flower Show on a Drug Test?
Yes, smoking CBD flower could show up on a drug test. Atlhough CBD hemp flower contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, this percentage could be enough to trigger a positive test result.
If you smoke CBD flower, check the third-party test results on those hemp strains to ensure they adhere to the federal THC threshold.
It's also best to notify your employer if CBD flower is a consistent part of your lifestyle.
Does CBD Flower Have Side Effects?
Yes, CBD flower can have side effects. Fortunately, those adverse reactions are rare and mild. These include:
Still, CBD isn't for everyone. Always consult a doctor or other health professional before trying CBD hemp flower.
CBD Flower vs. Hemp Flower
The difference between hemp flower and CBD flower depends on context.
For marketing purposes, CBD flower is cannabis that contains a high amount of CBD. However, this could mean the THC exceeds 0.3%, making it federally illegal. Hemp flower is essentially the same as CBD flower, except the THC levels won't exceed 0.3%.
From a legal perspective, "hemp" contains less than 0.3% THC, while anything above that is considered "marijuana."
From a scientific standpoint, there's no difference between hemp flower and CBD flower. "Hemp" and "marijuana" aren't rooted in botany or any other science. They're all varieties of the cannabis sativa plant.
Does CBD Flower Have THC?
Yes, CBD flower has THC. The amount depends on the CBD strain, but hemp flower legally can't contain more than 0.3% THC.
Is there CBD Flower Without THC?
No, it's impossible for CBD flower to have no THC. This cannabinoid is an integral part of the cannabis sativa plant. Although it can be bred to contain negligible THC levels, there will always be some present.
Best CBD Flower to Buy?
Navigating the sea of CBD strains is challenging, which makes finding the best CBD hemp flower even more difficult. Without regulation, the industry is a veritable Wild West.
The key is to shop smart. Keep an eye out for the following indicators of the best CBD hemp flower:
Third-Party Lab Tests
Third-party tests are the best way to guarantee you're buying a clean, safe product. Avoid vendors who don't offer these.
Vendors may refer to their products as "organic," "organically-grown," or - in rare cases - "USDA Certified Organic."
The third option carries the most weight, but they all ultimately imply that the hemp was grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Customer feedback is an excellent way to get objective information about the quality and effectiveness of different CBD hemp flower strains.
Don't rely on the brand's site reviews. Instead, look at third-party sources like Reddit or TrustPilot, to name a few.
Established companies with a proven track record instill consumer confidence, so having that kind of footing helps with credibility. However, there are many "underdogs" with products that rival or exceed their larger counterparts' quality.
Best CBD Hemp Flower Strains
With over 2000 known cannabis strains (according to 2019 data), finding the "best" CBD hemp flower is nearly impossible. Making things more confusing is that two strains can - depending on environmental and genetic factors - have radically different terpene and cannabinoid profiles.
But some strains managed to stand out and became household names, eventually spawning a new line of hemp counterparts. The following CBD hemp flower strains are, in our opinion, the best strains in their classes based on potency, quality, and effects.
Best Indica CBD Flower?
Godfather OG is named after its iconic high-THC cousin. An indica-leaning strain, Godfather OG offers a mixed bag of effects.
After smoking, expect to feel a gentle - but not overwhelming - wave of cerebral relaxation, while still maintaining focus and energy. Godfather OG is the perfect hemp CBD strain for a casual, stress-free afternoon.
Best Sativa CBD Flower?
Sugar Queen 2.0
Sugar Queen 2.0 is the very definition of hybrid. An even 50/50 split between indica and sativa, Sugar Queen 2.0 is a cross between ERB and Queen Dream.
Bursting with berry aromas and a hind of skunk, Sugar Queen 2.0 is the perfect strain for getting rid of social jitters before a big event or gathering. Expect to feel like you can take on the world with a clear, focused mind.
Best Hybrid CBD Flower?
Those looking for the ultimate energetic high can look no further than Space Invader. This sativa-leaning hybrid CBD strain is perfect for getting a second wind or brightening up a long day.
Of course, too much energy can have you going in several different directions. Thankfully, Space Invader contains some linalool and myrcene to help you keep a cool head during blastoff. But once you notice its effects, be prepared for a productive few hours.
Dream Berries is a fantastic indica-leaning hybrid strain. Bursting with fruitiness and a hint of skunk, Dream Berries is a cross between Queen Dream and Resin Berry.
Reportedly, this strain is sought after for its relaxing, euphoric effects. But the sativa lineage manages to pop out, triggering an energizing body experience and a clear head.
Conclusion: What is CBD Flower?
CBD hemp flower is a relatively new product, but it's hardly a novel idea. Flower has been the default consumption method for much of history.
But these new cannabis cultivars, such as "hemp" and high-CBD "marijuana" products, offer an authentic and effective experience for people who enjoy traditional smoking.
Although the benefits of smoking CBD hemp strains have received little research (due to the health concerns associated with smoking), a rise in popularity may be enough to draw some attention, just as it did with CBD oil.
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