CBD has exploded in popularity across the country, especially after the recent legalization of hemp thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, you've most likely heard of varying CBD products like tinctures, topical and gummies - but what about CBD hemp flower?
Similar to cannabis, CBD can be consumed at its most basic form which provides yet another type of product for consumers to enjoy. Before we break it down, let's discuss how CBD hemp flower differs from the better known cannabis flower.
Many of us see the iconic nine-pronged green leaf and marijuana immediately comes to mind. Likely you have wondered, "is hemp the same as weed?" while looking at the two nearly identical plants. While the differences in appearance are slight, the effects of consumption and the potential of uses are vastly distinct.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is the second most popular active ingredient in cannabis behind THC. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects during use, which produces the traditional "high" for its consumers. A study conducted by scientists at the World Health Organization concluded "in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
While CBD is a major component of marijuana, CBD flower is most often derived directly from hemp, which is classified as a form of the cannabis plant containing 0.3% of THC or less. Hemp has been used for centuries as an agricultural resource to make clothing, rope, parachute webbing and even naval towline. During WWII, the US Agricultural Department even encouraged "patriotic farmers" to plant and grow hemp to aid in wartime efforts.
However, as public opinion began to turn against marijuana in the 1960s-70s, hemp was unfortunately lumped into the 1970 Controlled Substances Act due to the close relations of hemp and marijuana. This Act prohibited the sale and cultivation of both hemp and marijuana, despite the different uses for the two plants.
Just last year, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which finally made a distinction between hemp and marijuana, allowing farmers across America to begin planting and cultivating this wonderful agricultural resource. Lauded for its multiple uses and environmental sustainability, farmers and everyday citizens alike have long been fighting to legalize the cultivation of hemp. This legalization has huge implications for the CBD industry, as CBD products including hemp flower can now be obtained within the confines of the law.
By now, many Americans identify hemp with the numerous agricultural and industrial uses of the hemp stock. Many are unfamiliar with the entire plant however, not realizing that like marijuana, hemp produces resinous, sticky trichomes on its flowers. The hemp plant uses these flowers to aid in the pollination of its species and as a protection mechanism against insects.
Unlike marijuana, the resin glands of the hemp flower are not intoxicating to humans, again, containing less than 0.3% of THC. Despite the low THC levels, these glands can be harvested and processed into potent CBD and used for a wide array of products.
It's important to note that the number of CBD products on the market today are not "full spectrum" products. In other words, the CBD in your CBD sour gummy worms may be lacking other beneficial compounds contained within the hemp plant. Because of this, many choose to consume the entire hemp flower, gaining the terpenes and other beneficial cannabinoids creating what is known as the "entourage effect." This is a mechanism in which non-psychoactive substances within the cannabis plant build and synergize with each other, maximizing both the overall experience and benefits of CBD.
Before you try smoking your hemp rug, know that the large majority of the hemp used for most forms of production comes from the thick stalks of the hemp plants, not from the flower. Yet with the rise in popularity of CBD, hemp farmers have been able to produce smokable hemp flower, creating beautiful, CBD-rich flowers that can be harvested in similar ways to the marijuana flower.
With so many new advancements in the cultivation of the hemp plant, you can in fact now smoke CBD hemp flower that often looks exactly like cannabis to the naked eye. Smokable CBD flower and vape-able CBD concentrates are easily found and smoked by many across the country, who have found CBD to be a great alternative (or addition) to THC.
CBD can be procured from either the hemp or marijuana plant and while molecularly identical from either source, CBD derived from marijuana is still federally illegal. Due to DEA controlled substance classifications, CBD is technically still illegal under federal law. However, after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, harvesting CBD-rich hemp flower is now legal, allowing the substance to be produced only when harvested from hemp plants.
While somewhat confusing, this loophole has had big impacts on both the hemp and CBD industry, allowing hemp-farming operations to rapidly expand across the US.
Cultivation of the CBD-rich hemp flower allowed for the industry to sell over $350 million worth of CBD infused products in 2018with experts projecting that sales will break $1 billion by 2020.
The stark differences between hemp and marijuana have allowed many to obtain the health benefits of CBD without the high of THC. For some, this distinction is crucial, as athletes and medical patients alike are turning to CBD for a natural alternative to medications and supplements. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce pain for medical patients without added side effects.
Although CBD by itself can be highly beneficial, whole plant medicine elevating the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenoids (i.e. the entourage effect) can be even more effective. Specifically speaking, a combination of THC and CBD has begun to be prescribed by doctors as a treatment for those suffering from multiple sclerosis, showing increased pain relief and reduced muscle spasms in patients.
Even if you do not suffer from some form of ailment, CBD has been shown to have numerous positive impacts on the everyday lives of many people. Whether you are looking to calm your anxious mind, improve heart health, or soothe aching muscles after a hard day, you can likely find a use for CBD in your life.
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