A lot of people are trying CBD for the first time, and with the legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill it will become available to even more people in the coming year.
With CBD in the spotlight for its many positive effects, more people are wondering: is smoking CBD hemp flower a good way to consume the beneficial cannabinoid?
Smoking or vaping CBD hemp flower could be for you, although there are a few caveats.
Hemp Flower vs Cannabis Flower
The terms hemp and cannabis have been used interchangeably throughout history, and up until last year, both were considered Schedule 1 drugs.
The hemp and cannabis plants are essentially cousins. The hemp plant typically grows taller and narrower than both cannabis indica and sativa plants, reaching heights of up to 12 feet (although in the wild, some sativa strains can grow up to 20 feet tall.) Hemp plants also have thinner and less densely clustered leaves compared to the cannabis plant.
Cannabis plants, on the other hand, are shorter and wider than hemp, with the cannabis sativa plant being the taller of the two compared to the squatter and wider indica.
Although both the hemp and cannabis plants create flowering buds that may contain both THC and CBD, by law hemp plants are limited to THC levels of .3% dry weight.
What's more, many hemp plants tend to have much lower amounts of plant resin compared to cannabis, in other words, smaller terpene and cannabinoid profiles which account for the wide spectrum of potential effects when consuming cannabis.
The Case for Smoking or Vaping CBD Hemp Flower
Because of its low resin, hemp is generally best used for industrial applications. However, a lot of hemp cultivators, especially in places like Colorado, have made huge leaps in their ability to grow beautiful CBD-rich flower, which is still legally classified as hemp.
What's more, inhalation is one of the most accessible methods for people to get cannabis – in this case CBD – into the body. Inhalation is also one of the fastest delivery methods.
Inhaling CBD puts it in direct contact with your lung’s alveoli, which then transfer the cannabinoid straight into your bloodstream.
The onset of the effects usually occurs within 5-10 minutes and can last for up to 2 hours.
The cheapest, easiest, and quickest way to experience the benefits of hemp flower is to smoke it in a joint, bowl, or bong.
For people who want to avoid smoke inhalation, a dry herb vaporizer is also an option.
Dry herb vaporizers range anywhere from $50 on the low end for a portable all the way up to $500 for a desktop. If you can find a good one that meets your needs, a dry herb vape is well worth the investment.
By vaporizing the terpenes and cannabinoids without carbonizing the flower, the consumer receives all the entourage effects of the residual cannabinoids and terpenes and other compounds gassing off without the harshness of inhaling smoke from combusted plant matter.
Another advantage of vaping or even smoking dried CBD flower is that you don't have to worry about any of the potentially harmful additives found in CBD vape pens.
Why CBD Shouldn't be the Only Focus
Most CBD – whether used in vape, isolate, pills, or topicals – is distilled from processing parts of the hemp plant into pulp, then distilling the CBD contained within that pulp into concentrate.
However, many companies that sell CBD may not be selling a “whole-plant” product containing the full spectrum of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
According to a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, there is evidence that consuming a “whole plant” spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, THC, and CBD can be much more effective than simply consuming the isolated CBD or THC.
This is due to the residual THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids having an “add on” effect in getting the CBD molecule to the endocannabinoid receptors, in what is known as the “Entourage Effect.”
With hemp flower, you're going to have less of an entourage effect although it may still have some benefit, depending on your end-goal. You may even be surprised at the results.
Is Smoking Hemp Flower the Best Option For You?
The biggest thing when deciding whether or not to experiment with CBD hemp flower or any cannabis product is to ensure the product is clearly labeled, is from a trusted source, and has been properly screened for any unwanted contaminants including pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
If you are looking for fast, effective relief in the short term, inhaling hemp flower can be very beneficial.
However, there are many other methods of consuming CBD, including topicals, transdermal patches, edibles, tinctures, and concentrates.
Each has their own specific benefits and it takes some trial and error to find the best one for you, whether it is concentrated CBD or whole-plant based.
What's the difference been smoking and vaporizing cannabis?
Vaporizing cannabis has been gaining popularity as a method of consumption as it’s a much safer and healthier modality compared to smoking cannabis.
Knowledge of Cannabis Fundamentals Is Important for Everybody
The online Cannabis Fundamentals Certificate Program covers everything you need to know about the essentials of cannabis. Cannabis history, science, botany, products, effects, dosing, and much more.