Hemp is fairly new to the cannabis spotlight. When you think of hemp, you may think of the strong fiber that is used to make rope, clothing, food, paper, biofuel, among many other things. It was, after all, one of the first plants spun into usable fiber 50,000 years ago. Even though it has been used for centuries as industrial hemp, it is new on the smoke scene due to its recent legalization. Have you tried smoking hemp flower yet?
Hemp, or Cannabis Sativa L., is often confused with marijuana (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis). Both hemp and marijuana are forms of the cannabis plant. However, hemp is a plant that has less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. This means hemp does not have the high associated with marijuana, yet it still has so many amazing benefits. This makes it a good option for users who don’t want to get the psychoactive effects but still want to relax. And to top it off, did we mention it is federally legal?
Beneficial Compounds in Hemp Flower
Hemp contains over 100 phytocannabinoids, which are chemical compounds with high medicinal value. Most of these compounds are found in the crown, or flower of the female hemp plant which is the main smokable part of the plant. Female flowers have bigger and more concentrated resin glands than male plants. The sticky resin, or trichomes, of the hemp flower, are where most of the cannabinoids are found. Trichomes are tiny shiny crystals covering the bud. This is where known and unknown cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are made. Let’s explore the beneficial components of the hemp flower:
Cannabidiol (CBD): Hemp contains large amounts of CBD content, which is one of the most well-known and researched cannabinoids. CBD is one of the most popular cannabinoids because it has many health benefits, yet doesn’t have the psychotropic effects that THC does. CBD is a cannabinoid that enables hemp products a high bioavailability, making them easy to absorb. Hemp flowers have some of the highest levels of CBD, so much so that the flower is often called CBD flower or CBD bud.
Cannabichromene (CBC): Though not as popular as other cannabinoids, CBC shows great promise in pain treatment. CBC is found in substantial amounts in the hemp flower, and when paired with THC, researchers believe it magnifies its analgesic effects.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): THC is present in hemp, but only in amounts of 0.3% or less. This is the same compound that produces the “high” that marijuana users experience. However, the low amounts in hemp will not produce a high. Even though THC may be highly controversial, it has proven health benefits. Due to these benefits, it is often recommended to be consumed in small amounts alongside other cannabinoids to balance out effects. Hemp provides the perfect balance of it all, in our opinion.
Cannabigerol (CBG): Sometimes known as “the mother of all cannabinoids,” CBG is the precursor to both THC and CBD. This cannabinoid is showing a lot of promise in the treatment of various health conditions, but more research is needed. Though CBG is found in smaller amounts in hemp and is not well known, growers are producing more and more hemp varieties that have higher levels of it.
Cannabinol (CBN): Another compound found in hemp, CBN is known for its sedative effects. It is created when THC is heated and broken down and is one of the rarest cannabinoids in hemp. Even though it is created as a byproduct of THC, it is not strong enough to produce a THC-like high.
Terpenes: Not only does the CBD hemp flower contain beneficial cannabinoids, but other beneficial compounds as well. Terpenes are phytonutrients that can be found in cannabis and many other plants. They produce a variety of tastes and aromas, as well as antioxidants that can enhance skin, joint, and heart health. The scents and flavors may play a part in hemp’s healing qualities.
Quality hemp flower has a distinct smell, which can indicate high levels of terpenes. One of the great things about hemp is the versatility of the strains. Every hemp flower has its combination of terpenes that give its color, smell, taste, as well as benefit. Some may be more floral, some may be more fruity. Be aware that if there is no smell, or it has a hay aroma, your buds are probably not a potent quality. To get you familiar with some common terpenes, we have picked out a few of our favorites among the hundreds out there:
- Myrcene: This terpene is the most common one found in hemp. It smells herbal, musky, and earthy and is said to help calm and relax, as well as promotes sleep.
- Linalool: Also known as the lavender terpene, this one has a floral aroma with a bit of spice. It is said to help reduce stress and promote good sleep.
- Pinene: This terpene can be found in pine needles, orange peels, rosemary, and parsley. It smells of pine and is said to promote alertness and memory retention. Pinene has the opposite effect of linalool.
- Humulene: You can find this terpene in hops, basil, and cloves, and has a hoppy scent. It is known for fighting inflammation and relieving pain.
- Limonene: Found in citrus peels, this one has a natural citrus scent. It is said to help relieve stress and boost mood.
- Flavonoids: These are compounds that help determine the smell and flavor of different strains. Though present in many other plants, flavonoids work synergistically with terpenes and cannabinoids to produce antioxidant properties, which are essential for balanced nutrition and may even reverse aging.
Other phytocannabinoids can be extracted from the flower and used to produce oil and other cannabis products. However, researchers have shown that hemp has more potent effects when smoked as a whole plant including all its cannabinoids and terpenes, rather than isolated compounds consumed separately. When these compounds naturally interact, an entourage effect is produced.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is the theory that the terpenes and phytocannabinoids can enhance the effects of each component. For instance, CBD works great on its own, but when combined with other hemp components, its effects are much greater when working synergistically. Even if there are only trace amounts of a certain component, it is still important for the overall entourage effect that is produced.
Most consumers are unaware of this great benefit of smoking hemp. These consumers, most people with medical issues, want to use CBD for its beneficial aspects without getting high from THC. Therefore, they buy CBD in the form of tinctures or topicals that have been produced by marijuana growers in legalized states that have isolated CBD from marijuana biomass in a lab. And with the legalization of hemp, CBD oil products have become even more widespread. Hemp plants are sent straight to the lab and synthesized into pure CBD tinctures. However, since the compound has been isolated it does not produce all the possible entourage benefits. For this reason, many consumers have wisened up and moved toward smokable hemp rather than buying isolated CBD tinctures.
The Benefits of Smoking vs. Ingesting
As of this day, the biggest use for the flower is the smokable form. And even though the smoking of hemp has only become popular recently, it is still relatively unknown by most. A lot of misinformation tends to spread common myths surrounding the subject. One such myth is that smoking hemp flower will give you a headache. We think this is because hemp has been cultivated for centuries, there have seen so many varieties of hemp bred for different uses. Any number of these varieties may cause headaches since consumption was not what they were produced for. However, today’s varieties that are bred to yield flowers with high CBD and low THC content don’t do that. These are bred specifically to optimize their health benefits and will make you feel better, rather than worse.
Besides the entourage effect, one of the main reasons people smoke hemp rather than ingest it is because smoking is one of the fastest delivery methods of CBD to the body. This is because smoking CBD gives it a higher bioavailability (from 25 to 50%) than consuming it in CBD products. Bioavailability refers to your body’s ability to absorb it more naturally than if ingested or topically applied. Smoking hemp flower allows you to experience CBD to its maximum natural extent. You can directly absorb the cannabis by your lungs, which is the quickest way for the cannabinoids to get into your bloodstream, then flow directly to your brain and body. This method allows you to experience the effects almost immediately. The bodily effects then last about an hour.
Not only does it kick in faster than ingesting, when you light a pre-roll, but you are also activating the cannabinoids in the flower. Exposing it to a high temperature when you smoke, dab, or vaporize it is called decarboxylation. Cannabinoids are inactive or in their acidic forms when present in the hemp flower, making them unable to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body. CBD is cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) before decarboxylation. Once the cannabinoids are exposed to heat, CBDA converts to CBD, causing the molecule to lose its acidic carboxyl group. This allows it to interact with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors, which is where the beneficial effects can take place.
CBD edibles have the lowest bioavailability rates due to what is known as the first-pass metabolism where most of it gets destroyed. When ingesting hemp flower, CBD is digested and metabolized in the liver. The cytochrome P450 (CYP450) oxidases the enzymes in the liver, which reduces the CBD concentration and is eventually sent to the bloodstream. This is a huge contrast to the smokable form in that you must wait 30 minutes to an hour for edibles or other methods of ingesting to kick in. The peak comes after 90 minutes.
Another alternative would be vaping hemp flower. Since vapor absorbs better into your lungs than smoke, you can pack a bowl in dry herb vaporizers and still enjoy the pleasant effects. A CBD vape will still get the effects of the terpenes and flavonoids that provide the flower its unique flavors.
Health and Wellness Benefits
The benefits of CBD flower are truly astonishing. And since hemp has only recently come into public view, there hasn’t been as much research done on it. This means that even more benefits can be occurring which we are yet unaware of. The following are some exciting hemp flower benefits for the world of medicine:
- Treatment of anxiety and depression: The presence of CBD in hemp flower has become well-known for its soothing and calming aspects. For this reason, cannabis has been suggested as a treatment for those suffering from anxiety disorders, depression, or other mood disorders. Antidepressants that some people are prescribed have many side effects, and can even increase the risk of the person turning to substance abuse. CBD is a great natural substitute.
- Anti-inflammatory and pain relief: Though some research still needs to be done on many of these claims, users have been seeing loads of helpful benefits for their pain and inflammation. CBD or CBD flower can provide relief from headaches since it can reduce the inflammation of the muscles or blood vessels. Additionally, it can help with acne, lower blood pressure, and reduce heart-related issues. It may even decrease the risk of cancer, as well as play a role in treatment.
- Treatment of autism: CBD and CBD flower have been shown to ease the self-harming fits of autistic individuals. After the issuance of CBD, they can calm down immediately. Hemp is ideal for these patients because it is high in CBD and low in THC.
- Controlling seizures: CBD may help treat epilepsy. Researchers have found that CBD was able to reduce seizures in animal test subjects that had experienced maximal electro-shock, pentylenetetrazole, audiogenic seizures, as well as seizures that were induced by bicuculline, 3-mercaptopropionic acid, cocaine, picrotoxin, and isoniazid. CBD also can protect from the temporal lobe and focal seizures. It can also inhibit seizures in the hippocampus brought on by Mg2+ ions and 4-amino-pyridine. Additionally, terpenes may help inhibit tumor growth as well as control seizures.
- Helps quit smoking: Some studies have suggested that CBD can be used to help those who want to quit smoking. It was shown to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by about 40%. Not only does CBD help with the withdrawal effects smokers experience, but it also satisfies their oral fixation. The calming of the CBD relieves the stress and anxiety that typically motivates them to smoke in the first place.
- Affordable: Purchasing CBD in a tincture form can become expensive over time. Currently, hemp pre-rolls are becoming more widely available for CBD users. They are not only effective, they are easy on the pocketbook. The cheapest way to benefit from hemp flower is by smoking a joint, bowl, or a bong.
- Legal: Smoking hemp is currently legal in the United States on a federal level, due to the Farm Bill of 2018. This means that the product must have less than 0.3% THC and is being consumed in a state that has legalized it. Since states have the power to override federal law, some have opted to keep it illegal or have strictly regulated it. Check with your state to see where the lines are drawn. And although it may be legal to us, any hemp product must still comply with the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Doesn’t produce a high: With hemp, you won’t get that psychoactive “high” effect that you experience with marijuana. This is perfect if you are still wanting a clear-headed relaxed feeling. Effects of CBD can also include focus and alertness, depending on the strain.
Great Alternative that Relaxes You
If you are looking for a calm, relaxing high without the psychoactive effects of traditional cannabis, smoking hemp flower is for you. Not only can it provide a soothing, clear-headed effect, but it also adds to many other benefits to health. From treatment of a headache to neutralizing depression to keeping cancer away, this exciting flower found in nature is full of possibilities. It allows us to let go of our doctor-prescribed medicines that provide more side effects than actual aid in our problems. We here at Bay Smokes hope that this information has brought a little more light to what can be a confusing subject. Check out our selection of hemp products and find the right strain for you. We wish you health, happiness, and good vibes.
As a disclaimer, we want to state that the information on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general information purposes only. The content of this posting is “as is”. No representations are made that the content is error-free.