CBD is derived from cannabis plants. While there are two potential sources of CBD, most of the CBD available to the general population is extracted from the stalks and stems of industrial hemp, not marijuana. Full spectrum hemp extract contains all the cannabinoids, plant terpenes, and flavonoids found in the original plant source.
Since hemp and marijuana are closely related, you may not be too surprised to learn that CBD is also concentrated in the flowers of the plant. While hemp flower is a legitimate source of CBD, you may have noticed that many reliable, reputable CBD companies are not offering this alternative – with good reason. Once you understand why tinctures, topicals, edibles, and vape products are the better options, you may want to avoid hemp flower altogether.
What Is Hemp Flower?
Hemp plants produce small, yellowish-green flowers. It’s the spike-like flowers that produce hemp seeds.1 Dried hemp flowers, commonly called “buds,” can be smoked or used as a food additive.
What Is the Difference Between Marijuana Flower and Hemp Flower?
Although hemp and marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) flower both contain CBD, flowers cultivated from marijuana plants are significantly higher in THC, the cannabinoid that causes the type of intoxication marijuana is known for. Hemp flowers contain only trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less). Smoking or ingesting hemp flower will not cause intoxication.
The CBD Flower in Local Smoke Shops Might Not Be What You Think
When you purchase hemp products, it’s important to know how crops were cultivated. While CBD flower may look completely natural, the buds sold at local gas stations, vape shops, or smoke shops may not be as pure or natural as they look. Many hemp flowers are heavily processed to protect their shelf life. Unless you have access to third-party test results, there is no way to know if those “nugs” are contaminated with heavy metals, chemicals, or mold.
Why CBD Flower Isn’t the Best Option
While some people may initially believe hemp flower the more natural option because the buds appear less processed, smoking hemp flower could cause more problems than you realize. In a side-by-side comparison, hemp and marijuana flowers look and smell very much the same. Since they are most often used in the same manner, when compared to other products, CBD flower is not your best option for the following reasons:
Harm from Smoking
When paper and cannabis burn, the combustion releases the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Plus, cannabis smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke in their lungs longer.2 There are far too many safe ways of ingesting CBD to justify smoking hemp flower. If you prefer the option of inhaling CBD, it is far better to stick with vaping, a delivery method devised to simulate smoking without the same known harmful effects.
When you purchase hemp-derived CBD tinctures, topicals, vapes and capsules, you have access to important information about the products you select. When you purchase from a reputable source, you know how the plants were cultivated, how the oil was extracted, and have a list of ingredients used to create your products. You may also have access to third-party test results to verify the safety of your purchases. When you purchase dried hemp flower, you may not have access to this vital information.
Low Concentration of CBD
With hemp CBD flower, it is difficult to know exactly how much CBD is in the product you purchase. While hemp flower contains a significant amount of cannabinoids, the flower is commonly high in CBDA, not CBD. CBDA is the inactive form of CBD. CBDA becomes active CBD in a process called decarboxylation. Your body utilizes CBDA differently than CBD and has to work harder to break down the molecules.3
Confusion with Marijuana
It is not unusual to find smoke shops selling hemp flower as cannabis flower in an effort to confuse the distinction between hemp and marijuana. Since the terms marijuana and cannabis have been used interchangeably for decades, selling hemp-derived “cannabis flower” leads many people to mistakenly believe they are purchasing a product high in THC. Since hemp and marijuana flower are similar in appearance and odor, law enforcement officials are also caught up in the confusion.4
Product Age and Expiration
CBD flower is a dried plant. Before making a purchase, it’s important to ask yourself how long that plant could have been sitting in that jar. It is unlikely you will be able to determine how fresh the buds are by how they look. When purchasing other hemp-derived products, your CBD has a clear expiration or “best by” date.
High Cost for Questionable Potency
While some people may initially consider smoking CBD flower a natural, efficient method of CBD delivery, it’s important to know that smoking CBD flower is not a budget-friendly option. When you use a tincture, capsule, or vape product, the CBD content is clearly stated, and you know how much CBD you are using per dose. When smoking hemp flower, you will likely pay much more per mg of CBD compared to other products but the actual CBD content is not guaranteed. If you are looking for a cost-effective delivery method, CBD hemp flower is not the way to go.
The Four Best Alternatives to CBD Flower
Every day unsuspecting consumers are being targeted by numerous companies trying to drive sales by using CBD as a buzzword to sell products. You may have noticed that varying amounts of CBD can be found in everything from candles to toothpicks. That’s why it’s important to be able to differentiate between legitimate products and sales gimmicks.
CBDistillery’s™ Gimmick-Free ad campaign is highlighting the misuse of CBD throughout the industry and helping consumers recognize these marketing ploys for what they are. If you are looking for a safe, reliable, gimmick-free CBD product, an alternative to CBD flower, consider the following suggestions:
#1 – CBD Vapes
Vaping CBD has proven to be one of the fastest CBD delivery methods, just as fast as CBD flower, but without the tar and potential carcinogens associated with plant combustion. The effects of CBD vape can typically be felt within minutes. CBD vape hits much smoother than smoke and is easier on your lungs.
#2 – CBD Edibles
While you could make your own edibles with CBD flower, you will notice the distinct flavor of hemp. That’s just one of many reasons you might prefer a CBD edible like CBD gummies. CBD gummies are a fun-filled, delicious way to enjoy the health and wellness potential of CBD in a fruity, flavorful form.
#3 – CBD Tinctures
CBD oil is a blend of hemp extract and a carrier oil. CBD tinctures can be used topically, for cooking, or swallowed. Tinctures are particularly popular with CBD users who are looking for the best value for their dollar. While CBD flower could contain as little as 10 percent CBD, a CBD tincture can a have up to 2,500 mg in a single 30 ml bottle. The higher the CBD concentration, the less tincture you need per dose.
#4 – CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is the ideal solution for CBD users who want to add CBD to their favorite candies, sauces, and baked goods. When you use CBD isolate, you won’t have the hassle of having to turn CBD flower to CBD butter to be used as a cooking agent. CBD isolate is flavorless, odorless, and has 0% THC.
Why CBDistillery™ Chooses Not to Offer Hemp Flower
CBDistillery™ is a leader in the hemp industry. While we offer a variety of product options, hemp flower is not one of them. Although hemp flower is available in most states, the flower of the plant looks and smells like marijuana buds. The resemblance to marijuana could create a significant number of problems for law enforcement agencies and our customers. Possessing and using hemp flower could cause more problems than it’s worth for everyone involved.
To view our selection of high-quality, gimmick-free, hemp-derived products, visit CBDistillery™. CBDistillery™ vape pens, tinctures, gummies, and CBD isolate are crafted from non-GMO hemp crops grown using natural farming methods. All CBDistillery™ products are tested by an independent third-party facility to ensure product quality, potency, and purity.
- Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019 August 06) Hemp Plant.
- American Lung Association. (2019) Marijuana and Lung Health.
- Marijuana Break. (2019 August 07) Decarboxylation: The Best Guide You’ll Ever Read.
- Indy Star. (2019 February 18) CBD Flower is Legal in Indiana. But It Could Still Get You Arrested. Here’s Why.