Looking for a more traditional way to consume CBD? Then look no further than CBD flower products. Yes, these are the rolled smoke that look like the joints of. But these won’t get you high since they are made from CBD and have very small amounts of THC. But where does the CBD in these products come from? At the heart of it all is nature’s small and unassuming CBD factory: the humble hemp flower.
It looks and smells almost exactly like a cannabis bud, but it has one crucial difference. Unlike the cannabis flower, it can’t get you high. This is because it only has a small amount of THC, the compound that makes you high. So you don’t actually feel the psychoactive effects you would feel from a classic “joint.”
What it lacks in THC, this flower makes up for in much higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD). Which is why it’s the source for the wide range of CBD products available. Let’s look at how CBD flower fits into the cannabis plant family. As well as how it can be used, and if it’s just as legal as other CBD products. (Hint: it is!)
What is CBD flower?
Simply put, it’s the flowering part of a plant in the cannabis family. And it has been bred to have high CBD and low THC.
If you’ve ever seen a cannabis bud, you’ll know it doesn’t look much like a typical flower. And CBD hemp buds are the same. They aren’t necessarily pretty or brightly colored. But these dense, sticky green buds are the part of the plant that contains all the valuable cannabinoids.
How exactly is hemp related to cannabis?
Hemp, like cannabis, is a variety of Cannabis sativa. They’re actually the same species of plant. Species-wise, there’s no biological difference between the two.
The difference between hemp and cannabis is actually human-made. Hemp contains 0.3 percent or less THC. While cannabis has more than 0.3 percent THC and is considered intoxicating.
So are hemp and CBD flower the same thing?
CBD flowers are strains of hemp that have been bred to contain high amounts of CBD. So CBD flowers are hemp – but not all hemp contains high levels of CBD.
The hemp plant is amazingly versatile. It is used in a wide variety of industrial products, from building materials and plastics to hemp seed oil. The strains used for those products don’t always have high CBD levels.
Make sure to buy CBD flower from a reputable source so you know you’re getting good quality products.
Is CBD Flower legal?
Yes it is! As long as you make sure it contains less than 0.3% THC. Always check the label of any CBD pre-roll you purchase to make sure it doesn’t have more THC. One thing we will note, sometimes a CBD pre-roll will smell similar to a cannabis joint when smoked. So be prepared to explain that what you’re smoking is in fact CBD. (Sometimes this can cause quite hilarious conversations.)
What else is in CBD flower?
When you buy CBD isolate, you’re buying only the CBD that has been extracted from the whole plant. But with CBD flowers, you still have the full spectrum of terpenoids and cannabinoids present along with the CBD.
Scientists have identified over 100 different cannabinoids that can be found in plants in the cannabis family. Researchers don’t know yet exactly how each one affects the body. But the theory is that like CBD, they interact with the human body’s natural endocannabinoid system.
Plant oils called flavonoids and terpenes are also present in CBD flower and give it a characteristic scent and flavor. This is an especially important part of the smoking experience for CBD flower connoisseurs. One example of a terpene you may recognize is limonene. Limonene is also found in citrus peels and has a sharp fruity scent.
How do you consume or use it?
CBD flower can be processed in a variety of ways. Which gives us many different methods of consumption.
The most direct method is to smoke the flower, as you would with a cannabis flower. CBD flower is usually already trimmed, dried and cured when you buy it. So all you’d need to do is grind it and smoke it in a joint, pipe, dry herb vaporizer or whatever your smoking preference is. You can even buy CBD pre-rolls which are joints that come ready-rolled for convenience.
CBD flower can also be processed to extract the valuable cannabinoids out of it. You can try this at home by heating it and then infusing it in oil. But the results are not very efficient or good quality. The professional extraction process requires specialized equipment and/or solvents. It’s not as common to make CBD extract at home as it is to make cannabis oil and edibles. Some people love to make their own CBD oil. Others prefer to just buy it from a high-quality source.
What health benefits does it have to offer?
Research into the medical effects of CBD and other cannabinoids is still in early stages. We need more clinical trials to prove the efficacy and dosage of CBD for different conditions. However, what we know so far is promising. And many people have experienced positive effects from regular supplemental use of CBD.
Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD medication. Which is used to treat epilepsy, and it is considered a safe and effective treatment for seizures.
While not approved as a medicine at this point, research indicates that it could also be an effective treatment for insomnia as well as anxiety. Promising research shows that it might also be able to help with pain. CBD is also being studied for its potential in managing Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. An animal study has suggested that CBD could be used to treat nausea too.
Researchers continue to make progress into providing clinical data about the use of CBD. But until then many people use it supplementally as a health product for a variety of reasons. Which includes relieving stress, helping with insomnia, providing an uplifting mood boost, or helping them feel more calm and sociable.
Are there negative side effects of using CBD flower?
Yes, some people do experience negative side effects from CBD, but are usually mild. In some people, CBD can cause dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness or reduced appetite.
CBD can also interact with certain drugs, especially those that carry a grapefruit warning. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about this.
Smoking anything can be harsh on your lungs, especially if you have a respiratory condition. This includes CBD flower. It can also cause coughing and a sore throat. If you’re concerned about its effect on your lungs, it might be best to use
Are there different types of CBD flower?
Absolutely. Just as you get different strains of cannabis, you’ll find numerous strains of hemp.
We have bred hemp to create a variety of strains. Each strain offers different concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids, as well as different flavor and smell profiles.
Remember that if you’re buying CBD isolate, the full spectrum of other cannabinoids will not still be present. Which will make it a little less effective, but you will have zero THC. It’s a tradeoff and great for those who are hesitant to consume even a tiny amount of THC.
The variety of strains can be very overwhelming to navigate. But a reputable vendor should have a description available of the taste, smell and effect should be.
If you’re keen to try the effects of CBD flower for yourself, be sure to choose high-quality products. If you want to use CBD to address a health issue, we always suggest talking to your doctor beforehand.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa and she has written for publications such as Healthline, Greatist, and Psych Central to name a few.