Since the legalization of CBD in 2018, CBD has become a common household product for many consumers. With the recent increase and demand of CBD Hemp Flower products alongside the medical and recreational legalization of marijuana in select states, some may find it difficult to differentiate between the hemp plant and Marijuana plant. This is a common confusion as the Hemp plant and Marijuana plant are both varieties of the species Cannabis Sativa, are identified by different strains and terpenes, and can be consumed with the same methods. So, what makes hemp flower unique? Let’s take a closer look.
The History of Hemp and Cannabis
Hemp or Cannabis Sativa-L originated from Central Asia. The plant was proven to be extremely useful over 10,000 years ago when it was discovered that Hemp can be spun into fibers which provide a strong material for fabrics and clothing. Today, there are more than 25,000 recorded uses for Hemp making it one of the most versatile plants in the entire world.
Discovery of CBD and THC
While both Hemp and Marijuana have been used for thousands of years to treat medical conditions, it wasn’t until the 1940s that CBD was discovered as an isolated cannabinoid by chemist, Roger Adams. However, like many consumers today, the scientists could not pinpoint which cannabinoids were giving off certain effects until a breakthrough by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam in the 1960s. Mechoulam was able to successfully identify the stereochemistry of CBD and THC allowing him to differentiate the cannabinoids and how they react with the human body. This allowed Mechoulam to study the benefits of both compounds and how they can be used to treat certain medical conditions such as epilepsy. Scientists were also able to successfully distinguish the difference between Hemp and Marijuana. Hemp was found to have a high concentration of CBD with low traces of THC, while Marijuana contains a large concentration of THC.
Controlled Substance Act
Unfortunately, the passing of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) in 1970 classified Hemp under the same classification of Marijuana. This prevented further research into the CBD rich plant, making Mechoulam’s findings obsolete for about 40 years. It wasn’t until June 2018 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CBD as a treatment to reduce seizure occurrences in epilepsy.
The Chemistry of Hemp Flower
Cannabis Sativa-L is an extremely complex plant. It is composed of a rich spectrum of biologically active compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenolic compounds. Each of these compounds has been discovered to contribute to the medicinal properties of Hemp. The ratio of the active compounds in the plant contributes to the effects and potency of Hemp when it is consumed.
Cannabinoids are the most studied out of the compounds because of how they react with the endocannabinoid receptors in the human body to provide potential pharmaceutical benefits. These cannabinoids react with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous system. The effect of the CBD and Cannabinoids relies on which part of the brain they are reacting to. Most interactions tend to occur in the limbic system, the mesolimbic pathway, and areas of pain perception. There are two main classifications of cannabinoids: psychoactive and non-psychoactive. CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is the most abundant of the cannabinoids and is known to have many potential pharmaceutical benefits for treating anxiety, pain, epilepsy, insomnia, and many more conditions.
Terpenes are aromatic chemical compounds found in all plants, including Hemp, that gives off the plant’s smell, color, and taste. Terpenes are used for many different types of products such as essential oils, food additives, perfume, and aromatherapy. Terpenes have also shown to have medicinal benefits in correlation to different medical conditions. Today, over 200 terpenes have been discovered in Hemp. Terpenes and cannabinoids work together to provide effective medicinal benefits to treat a variety of conditions. Some researched terpenes found in Hemp have been associated with inhibiting the development of cancer cells, opening bronchial tubes to relieve breathing issues, relieving muscle cramps, alleviating anxiety, and displaying anti-inflammatory properties.
Phenolic Compounds are molecules that are similar to cannabinoids and terpenes. These compounds determine the quality of the Hemp including taste and color. Like cannabinoids and terpenes, these compounds have shown to have antioxidant properties. Flavonoids, a phenolic compound structure, are neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and have the potential to prevent and treat cancer.
The Benefits of Hemp Flower
Over the years, there has been extensive research on the benefits of using CBD Hemp Flower. Scientists have uncovered many pharmaceutical benefits that make consuming Hemp Flower unique to other CBD products.
Because Hemp Flower contains a large amount of CBD, the medicinal benefits of using Hemp Flower are very similar to most other CBD products. Although, some CBD products only contain CBD while Hemp Flower has various compounds that work together to increase the effects and potency. As mentioned before, Hemp Flower can potentially help with medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, pain relief, epilepsy, and more.
Hemp Pre-Rolls are a great smoking cessation tool to help others quit nicotine products. In a 2013 study, those who were given CBD to use when they have the urge to smoke reduced their usage by 40% in a week.
Smoking Hemp flower is the fastest delivery method for CBD to enter the body. The CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids make contact with the lungs and immediately enters the bloodstream. This allows for a more immediate effect as opposed to ingesting CBD or using a topical cream.
Not only is this the fastest method for consumption, smoking hemp flower also has a higher bioavailability than other CBD products. This means the body absorbs the cannabinoids at an increased rate allowing the body to receive a larger potency of CBD. When taking CBD orally, the body processes it through the liver where some of the compounds get filtered out keeping the body from absorbing most of it. Because of the immediate effect and increased potency, Hemp Flower is one of the best solutions for alleviating ongoing anxiety or panic attacks.
The Risks of Hemp Flower
While Hemp Flower has many benefits, there are a few risks associated with using Hemp Flower.
Since Hemp flower is primarily smoked, there can be some side effects when using the product. Inhaling any type of smoke can be harmful to the lungs which can lead to risks associated with pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay. It also not recommended to smoke Hemp Flower if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.
According to federal law, Hemp Flower must contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal. While this small trace amount of THC is very unlikely to show up on a drug test, there is still a possibility that it can be detected depending on the threshold of the analysis and how much Hemp Flower is consumed. If you are worried about a drug test, it is recommended to consume CBD products that contain no amount of THC such as CBD Isolate Products such as a tincture. It is also recommended that you take a look at the Lab Report to check the exact percentage of THC in any CBD product you consume.
Other Potential Risks
In addition to the potential side effects, Hemp Flower is not officially regulated by the FDA which opens opportunities for synthetic products to hit the market which could lead to harmful ingredients entering your body. Non-synthetic Hemp Flower that is not tested could also cause significant issues. If the plant is not cultivated and stored with the proper methods, it can be prone to mold, fungus, and pests that can potentially enter your body. It is important to stick with a reputable brand when buying Hemp Flower while making sure there are up-to-date lab reports available to view.
What to look for in a Lab Report
Knowing how to read a CBD lab report is very important when it comes to buying the right product. CBD Lab Reports give detailed information on the Cannabinoids detected in the plant and the percentage of each, the terpene profile, and whether or not there is evidence of Microbials or Pesticides.
When reading a lab report you may see different abbreviations located on the report. Common abbreviations are ND or NA meaning not detected. One of the most important abbreviations to look for is CFU or Colony Forming Unit that identifies pathogens, yeast, and mold.
Consuming Hemp Flower
There are a few different ways in which you can consume Hemp Flower effectively. The most common methods are smoking or making edibles.
Smoking is one of the most common methods to consume Hemp Flower. There are different ways in which you can smoke Hemp Flower.
CBD Hemp Pre-Rolls have become increasingly popular. Pre-rolls are affordable and the easiest to use out of all of the methods to consume Hemp Flower. The Hemp Flower is typically ground down and rolled in a paper or cone making it ready to smoke immediately after purchasing.
CBD Hemp Flower can be effectively consumed using a pipe or water pipe. This can potentially be a more cost-effective way to consume CBD as opposed to pre-rolls because you can use less Hemp Flower in a bowl rather than a cone. To smoke Hemp Flower in a pipe or water pipe, you just need to grind or break down the flower into smaller pieces and pack the bowl of the pipe or water pipe. You want to be careful not to pack the bowl too tightly as there needs to be airflow to successfully inhale the smoke.
Using a dry-herb vaporizer is the fastest and safest way to consume Hemp Flower. As mentioned previously, inhaling plant-matter could potentially lead to disease. However, when utilizing a dry herb vaporizer, there is no combustion involved and the plant is not burned. Additionally, dry herb vaporizers are more portable and discreet than Pre-rolls, pipes, or water pipes.
Edibles are a fun way to consume Hemp Flower, but it can be tricky and takes a lot longer than the previous methods mentioned. There are many different recipes for making edibles using Hemp Flower that you can find for a step-by-step guide. Each recipe contains two essential steps to making the edibles: Decarboxylation and Extraction.
Decarboxylation is the process of converting CBDa to CBD. This step is essential for the effectiveness of the edible because Hemp Flower is ineffective if consumed without first being activated by heat. This process can be done using an oven and simply baking the Hemp Flower for 60-90 minutes at a temperature of 245° F / 118 °C. It is important to not exceed this temperature, or you may risk losing the potency of CBD.
Extraction is the process of infusing the CBD into a carrier such as butter or oil. This allows you to easily infuse CBD into your recipes. There are many different methods and tutorials of extraction that you can find online, or you can simply use an herb-infusing machine to do the work for you.
Alternatives to Hemp Flower
Consuming Hemp Flower isn’t for everyone. Luckily, there are a few CBD products that allow you to consume CBD just as fast and easily.
Tinctures are a very common way to consume CBD. Tinctures are administered sublingually allowing the CBD to enter the bloodstream through the capillary glands in the mouth providing fast and immediate effects.
Sprayable Tinctures are very similar to sublingual tinctures as the CBD is also absorbed through the capillary glands. However, sprayable tinctures are easier to use as you do not have to worry about using a dropper to measure out the Cannabidiol. You just simply use it as you would any normal mouth spray.
CBD Vape Juice is essentially absorbed the same as Hemp Flower as it enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Vape juice is a great option for those who would like to vaporize CBD without worrying about the potent smell that is given off when smoking Hemp Flower. It also prevents the user from the harmful effects that can be caused when inhaling burned plant matter.
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