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Hemp was federally legalized in 2018, opening up a whole new opportunity for Americans to experience the benefits of smoking hemp flower, aka “hemp buds”.
Smoking hemp flower sounds strange to many people. After all, most people think of rope and natural, planet-friendly clothing when they think of the hemp plant. So, for many, the idea of smoking the hemp plant is a new one. And we’re not talking about “rolling up your hemp shirt and smoking it,” as many people like to joke!
Nope, we’re talking about smoking premium-grade, high-quality hemp flower, and all the fantastic health benefits that go with it. Without getting high!
Hemp bud is the premium flower harvested from hemp plants. The difference between hemp and marijuana has to do with THC, aka tetrahydrocannabinol, in the plant. THC is the only intoxicating aka psychoactive, compound in the cannabis plant. Under the federal rule, cannabis plants with less than .3 percent are defined as ‘hemp’ and considered legal. Cannabis plants over .3 percent are considered marijuana and are federally illegal (although some states have legalized marijuana within state borders).
Bottom line, hemp and cannabis are the same plant species. Just one strain has been bred to contain a large amount of an intoxicating compound in it, and the other has not! After the passage of the federal farm bill, the medical community began expanding research into the other, non-intoxicating cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant like CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol). This sparked a booming interest in hemp-derived products, and subsequently, the benefits of smokable, high CBD (or CBG) hemp flower.
While hemp grown for fiber (and grain) is still a useful application of the hemp plant, fiber hemp plants are much different from the CBD hemp varietals that have been produced. Fiber hemp grows very tall (many over 12 feet high!) and straight with relatively small flowers and colas. Meanwhile, CBD hemp looks much like a traditional marijuana plant. Stocky, wide-branching plants filled with many fat, dense flower’ buds.’
CBD hemp bud is similar in appearance, yield, and even aroma to marijuana bud. Just without the THC and intoxicating effects. Plus, hemp is federally legal.
So as long as you don’t care about getting high, hemp bud offers all the same (in fact, many would argue potentially better) medicinal benefits of smoking marijuana.
Keep in mind, THC is not the only cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It was merely the one marijuana breeders selected for when their primary purpose was to produce an intoxicating product. With the advent of legal hemp, cannabis breeders set aside the quest for an ever-more potent strain of weed and focus instead on many other beneficial cannabinoids and other natural compounds in the cannabis plant.
Most people are familiar with CBD. It has become prevalent in the last few years because of its many purported health benefits, including helping to manage anxiety and alleviate pain. Another ‘minor’ cannabinoid found in the hemp plant is CBG. This cannabinoid has not been well known, because it was produced in such small amounts in traditional cannabis plants. There are now strains developed that create high quantities of CBG, making this promising cannabinoid more accessible to consumers.
While doctors and scientists are continuing to study the many positive effects of CBD and CBG in human health, a few key findings include potential benefits of:
Then, of course, there are all the terpenes and flavonoids in the hemp plant. Terpenes are the sticky, highly aromatic compounds that give the cannabis plant its distinct smell (also the same compounds that makes pine needles smell piney and lemons smell lemony!). Terpenes have been linked with several positive health benefits, including inhibiting tumor growth and controlling seizures.
Flavonoids are the compounds that control the deep, vibrant green and purple colors in dank, fat hemp colas. Not surprisingly (based on their name), they also affect the flavor of the flower. Flavonoids have antioxidant effects and help reverse the effects of aging, amongst many other things.
Most consumers are more familiar with cannabinoids in the form of tinctures or topicals. Especially CBD. That is partly because, in legal marijuana states, marijuana growers learned they could take marijuana biomass to a lab and isolate CBD from THC and create a CBD-only (non-intoxicating) oil. Many consumers, mainly medical patients, have been interested in CBD’s beneficial effect but did not want risk intoxication of THC.
With the legalization of hemp, CBD oil products became even more available and demand skyrocketed. Most of the original hemp plantings were sent straight to the lab and synthesized into isolated products. However, as marijuana fans have learned, when the compounds in the cannabis plant are isolated, they do not provide the same benefits they do when experienced. The cannabinoids, plus all the other compounds (like flavonoids and terpenoids), work in step for a synergistic effect called the ‘entourage effect.’
And, that is best experienced by smoking it!
Smoking cannabis has been scientifically proven to be more bioavailable. Meaning your body absorbs it more naturally than if ingested or applied topically.
When you smoke cannabis, you inhale the compounds directly into the small capillaries in your lungs and it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, they flow directly to your brain and other areas of your body that cannabis effects. Typically, smoked cannabis is more than 50 percent bioavailable. Ingested and topically applied cannabis products take longer to work and are generally not as potent.
So, combine the bioavailability of the smoking plus the entourage effects of the ‘full flower’ benefit, and it is clear that smoking hemp buds are the apparent winner.
Anytime you inhale something into your lungs, there is the potential of long-term damage. However, generally speaking, smoking cannabis is not considered nearly as harmful as smoking cigarettes because of the adverse effects of the chemicals and compounds found in nicotine.
Many cigarette smokers turn smoke hemp prerolls to quit smoking cigarettes!
There are also some other minor side-effects some people experience with consuming hemp products. Most are mild and are generally associated with large amounts of consumption. However, they can include:
If you take medicines or are hoping to smoke hemp bud for medicinal reasons, it is best to speak with your doctor. Some compounds in cannabis are also known to interact with particular medicine and our physician should be your primary source for those conversations.
Overall, you can see why people are so excited to have access to premium quality, smokable hemp bud! All the benefits of marijuana, with none of the negatives. The benefits of smoking hemp flower are becoming well-known to the public and the widespread growing use is evidence of this fact.
Check out Colorado Breeders Depot’s line of Colorado-grown smokable hemp and enjoy the hemp bud experience.