Hemp Flower Beginner's Guide

Quick Overview

Hemp flower, also known as CBD flower, is cannabis in its raw and minimally-processed form. It has been bred precisely for its high CBD content and low THC content. While it looks just like marijuana, it doesn’t produce the intoxication or feelings of impairment that you get from marijuana. 

CBD flower is most commonly used for relaxation and for relief from anxiety or chronic pain. It is typically either smoked or vaped using a dry herb vaporizer. Some users also make their own CBD oils or edibles.

The names that you’ll see for different varieties of hemp flowers are called strains. ACDC, Elektra, Blueberry Pie, and Sour Space Candy are just a few examples of the popular high-CBD strains. Different strains are bred to produce unique effects based on their distinct cannabinoid and terpene profile. Strains give users the ability to customize their CBD flower experience for their needs.

There is no “best” hemp flower brand or strain for everyone. Experimenting with different strains can help you find the ones that work best for you. You’ll also need to experiment with how much you take since cannabis has a unique effect on everyone. 

It can all be overwhelming at first. But if you’re willing to do some research and experimentation, you may find that CBD hemp flower can be very beneficial for you. The goal of this guide is to help you get started on your journey.

Best Hemp Flower Vendors

Due to popular demand, we maintain a list of the best hemp flower brands that sell products online. The companies below were selected based on industry reputation, depth of product line, and feedback from users in our CBD Hemp Flower Users Group on Facebook. All of the companies on our list have been received high marks for their product quality, transparency, packaging, customer service, and pricing.

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CBD Hemp Flower Basics

What is Hemp Flower?

When most people think about cannabis, they picture the buds or nuggets that are commonly associated with marijuana. You can think of the hemp flower as being the version of these buds that come from the flowering parts of the female hemp plant. The hemp plant is specifically bred to be high in CBD, the cannabinoid known for its medicinal properties, and very low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a “high.” Legal high CBD flower contains less than 0.3% THC, so it won’t have the extreme intoxicating effects that are common with marijuana.

Hemp flower is “full-spectrum” or “whole-plant” because it includes all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the source plant. The natural combination of these compounds produces what is known in the cannabis world as the “entourage effect.” Many people believe the maximum benefits of cannabis are realized when all of the natural compounds are present and working together.

Hemp flower products generally fall into 3 main categories:

  • Buds
  • Pre-rolls
  • Shake and trim

Buds are the dried flowers and by far the most popular. Pre-rolls are pre-made “joints” or cigarettes made with CBD flowers. Shake and trim are terms used to describe the “leftovers” or small pieces of flower that have fallen off the buds.

How to Use Hemp Flower Buds

The most common ways that people use hemp flower buds are:

  • Vaping them in a dry herb vaporizer
  • Smoking them in a pipe or rolling a “joint”
  • Making their own CBD oils or edibles

Note that all of these popular consumption methods involve heating the buds. This is because heating is required to “activate” the cannabinoids in the raw flower. The technical name for this process is called decarboxylation, and it’s necessary to unlock the full range of benefits. Through decarboxylation, THCa converts to THC and CBDa converts to CBD.

Eating raw hemp buds or nuggets is not recommended because they lack activation will result in very little CBD actually entering your bloodstream.

Benefits of Using High CBD Flower

There’s still a lot to be learned and proven through modern scientific research about the therapeutic benefits of CBD and cannabis. U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit websites from making medical claims about the health benefits of CBD or hemp flower.

Based on a recent poll of users in our Facebook group, here are the top 5 reasons that they are using high CBD flower: 

  • Anxiety relief
  • Relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Sleep aid
  • Mood improvement

Hemp flower is used for many of the same reasons that people use hemp-derived CBD oil. Some prefer the flower to CBD oil because of the higher bioavailability from inhalation. That is, more CBD will enter the bloodstream from smoking or vaping it versus traditional CBD oil drops, capsules, or gummies. The flower is also a viable alternative for users who are allergic to carrier oils like hemp seed oil and coconut oil that are used in CBD oil tinctures.

Many users have told us that they switched from using marijuana to hemp flower because they wanted similar effects without the “high” or heightened anxiety that they got from products with higher levels of THC. 

CBD Hemp Flower Measurements

The price that you pay when buying hemp flower buds online is based on weight. There are two units of measure that you’ll want to be familiar with: the gram and the ounce. 

A gram of hemp flower is usually the smallest amount that you can buy. Most of the pre-rolls or pre-made joints contain one gram. So if you only buy one gram of a particular strain, it won’t last you long or allow you to really get acquainted with the strain.

Generally, users buy either 1/8 ounce (an “eighth”) of 1/4 ounce (a “quarter”) when trying out a new strain. An eighth will contain several small to medium-sized buds and can last for a couple of weeks with moderate use. This is usually enough to figure out whether that strain is one that you like. Users often buy their favorite strains in the higher quantities (1/2 ounce or 1 ounce) since those are the most cost-effective options.

Hemp Flower Weight Conversion From Ounces to Grams:

  • 1/8 ounce (3.5 grams)
  • 1/4 ounce (7 grams)
  • 1/2 ounce (14 grams)
  • 1 ounce (28 grams)

The 5 Most Popular High CBD Strains

Most of the websites selling hemp flowers have several different strain options. Choosing a strain is usually the first difficult decision faced by beginners. It’s very common for users to experiment with a few different strains. Through experimentation, they often find a favorite that becomes part of their daily routine. They often continue to try new popular strains to add to their arsenal.

Each strain has a unique cannabinoid and terpene profile. The third-party lab reports on the product page will show you the levels of each cannabinoid and terpene in that batch. CBD content typically varies anywhere from 14-20% and is usually prominently reported on the product page. The THC content is always less than 0.3% to be legally sold as a hemp flower. 

To help you get started choosing a strain that may be right for you, here is a list of the 5 most popular high CBD flower strains based on input from members of our Facebook group.

  1. Blueberry Pie
  2. Sour Space Candy
  3. ACDC
  4. Special Sauce
  5. Lifter

Terpenes in Hemp Flower

Terpenes play a significant role in determining a particular strain’s aroma and flavor. They also have unique properties that can help produce their own therapeutic benefits.

Here’s a quick summary of the most common terpenes in high CBD flower:

  • Beta-Caryophyllene – spicy aroma; anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Humulene – earthy aroma; anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Limonene – bitter citrus aroma; anxiety properties
  • Linalool – floral aroma; anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic and antipsychotic properties
  • Myrcene – musky/citrus aroma; sedating and relaxing properties
  • Phytol – floral/balsamic aroma; anti-insomnia and immunosuppressant properties
  • Pinene – pine aroma; anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-depressant properties 

If you’re looking for strains with material levels of specific terpenes, it’s a good idea to view the third party lab report to see the terpenes in that particular batch. Choosing strains with terpenes that have properties you’re looking for can speed up the process of finding your favorites.

hemp flower bud

Hemp Flower FAQs

Is CBD Hemp Flower Legal?

Hemp-derived CBD products, including hemp flower with less than 0.3% THC, were legalized at the federal level in the United States with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. While this clarified the legal status at the federal level, it’s important to note that state and local laws can differ from the federal law in some cases. Those with concerns about legal status should check the hemp laws for their state.

Users should also be aware that many law enforcement officials are not familiar with the difference between hemp flower and marijuana. Hemp buds look and smell just like marijuana. So consumers purchasing CBD flowers should be acutely aware that there are heightened risks associated with its possession. This includes the risk of being arrested by a police officer who assumes that you are in possession of marijuana. While the charges may ultimately be dropped, you may have to go through the legal process and expense of proving that the product in your possession was hemp and not marijuana.

Can Hemp Flower Make Me Fail a Drug Test?

Yes, there is a risk of testing positive on a drug test with any product that is derived from cannabis. This includes CBD hemp flower, even though it has less than 0.3% THC. Even trace amounts of THC can trigger a positive test, and they can build up over time with prolonged use. Not everyone tests positive, but it does happen routinely. There are many variables in play, including the THC content of the product, frequency of use, your personal body chemistry, and the type of drug screen. The bottom line is that if you are not willing to accept some risk of a positive drug test, then you should not use CBD hemp flower or any cannabis-derived product.

Where Can I Buy Premium Hemp Flower?

As their popularity with users continues to rise, hemp flower products are increasingly available for purchase online and in local shops. Local availability often depends on the legal status of hemp in your country, state, and city. The majority of users are buying their hemp flower online because of the convenience, more extensive product selection, high quality, and typically lower prices. Many also prefer to buy online and have it shipped to their home. This way, they do not have to transport it in their vehicle from a local shop.

The options for buying premium hemp flowers continue to increase as the industry proliferates. We encourage you to purchase products from well-reviewed, reputable companies that use organic growing practices and make third party lab reports readily available. Third-party lab reports are essential, so that you’ll have independent verification that the product you are buying is safe, legal and contains the amount of CBD advertised.

How Much CBD Is In A Gram of CBD Flower?

The calculation of how many milligrams of CBD are in a gram of hemp flower is actually quite easy. You first have to know the CBD content of the specific product. This is commonly expressed as a percentage (“% CBD”) on the product page or third party lab report. Multiply that percentage by 1,000 since there are 1,000 milligrams in a gram. The result is the number of milligrams of CBD in a gram of that product.

For example, let’s say that you want to know how many milligrams of CBD are in a gram of a product with 20% CBD. The answer: 20% x 1,000 = 200 milligrams of CBD per gram. 

If you want to know how much CBD is in an ounce, just multiply the milligrams per gram by 28 since there are 28 grams in an ounce. The 20% CBD flower product in the example above would have 5,600 milligrams of CBD per ounce (200 milligrams per gram x 28 grams/ounce).

How Much Hemp Flower Should I Use?

When it comes to how much hemp flower to use, it’s essential to know that everyone’s “ideal dose” is different. There is no universal “right” amount to take, and various strains affect everyone differently. Some people need more, and others need less to achieve similar results. This is because each person has a unique endocannabinoid system and body chemistry that interacts differently with cannabis.

You will need to do some experimentation to find the amount that is right for you. Microdosing is a popular technique for doing this. It involves taking minimal amounts over a period of time until your desired results are achieved. You may want to try just taking a single inhalation or toke every 30 minutes. Continue this process until you feel the effect that you’re trying to achieve. Over time, you will start to get a feel for the amount of hemp flower that works best for you.

Why Are Third Party Lab Reports Important?

All reputable sellers of CBD hemp flower will provide you with independent, third party lab reports of their products. The cannabinoid and terpene profile sections of these lab reports will tell you which cannabinoids and terpenes are in the product and their levels of each. Additional pages of these reports will show that the product has been tested for potentially dangerous heavy metals, chemicals and molds.

What Forms of Payment Do CBD Flower Websites Accept?

Most of the major brands selling hemp flower online now accept all major credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Some companies use reputable merchant processing gateways such as ViaBill because they don’t have their own card processing account. With ViaBill you can the option to pay the entire amount upfront or pay in installments over time.

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