What’s the Difference Between CBD Flower, Hemp Flower, and Cannabis?
Posted by Tweedle Farms on Nov 10th 2021
Table of Contents (skip ahead)
- A Quick Word on Cannabis Naming Conventions
- CBD Flower
- Hemp Flower
- Cannabis Flower
- Deciding Which Is Best for You
- What to Look For When Shopping for Flower
- Are You Looking for CBD-Rich Strains of Hemp Flower?
A recent study has revealed that 25% of Americans use cannabis, and cannabis consumption has risen 65% since 2018.
Are you considering trying out cannabis products, but aren't sure where to start? If you're new to the world of cannabis and all its terms, things can get confusing fast.
There are many different tinctures, oils, edibles, strains, and extracts available, and it can be hard to know which is best for your needs in the beginning.
To make things even more complicated, cannabis flowers vary widely. CBD flower, hemp flower, and THC flower (or what's thought of as "regular" cannabis flower) can look and smell very similar, but will produce very different effects.
Fortunately, once you know the difference between these main types of cannabis flowers, it will be a lot easier to pick out a cannabis product.
Ready to get clear on the differences between CBD flower, hemp flower, and regular cannabis flower? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know in this guide.
A Quick Word on Cannabis Naming Conventions
Before we get into the differences between regular, CBD, and hemp flower, it's important to clarify the terms a little and how they're used.
Firstly, both CBD-rich flowers and hemp flowers are cannabis. But, most people say "cannabis flowers" when referring to THC-rich strains, and hemp or CBD flower for low THC strains.
Also, keep in mind that the terms, "CBD flower" and "hemp flower" are often used interchangeably. Typically, CBD flower refers to CBD-rich strains, and hemp flower refers to the flower of the industrial hemp plant.
However, as CBD and non-psychoactive cannabis is coming into demand—the lines between these two types of cannabis are blurring. Now, there are many hemp strains bred specifically for smoking, that still retain <0.3% levels THC but have higher-than-average CBD levels and terpenes.
The demand for CBD has been skyrocketing as many people are turning to it for its calming therapeutic effects. When people talk about cannabis, they usually associate it with CBD's psychoactive sibling, THC.
However, CBD is actually beating THC in popularity. According to Google Trends, online searches for "CBD" dwarf searches for "THC."
Thanks to the increased demand for CBD, breeders are cultivating CBD-rich strains of cannabis. Traditionally, hemp was the main source of CBD. However, as the benefits of CBD are being brought to light, more breeders are cultivating regular cannabis strains rich in high-CBD genetics.
These strains are not hemp—rather they are more like regular cannabis but with elevated levels of CBD.
Cannabinoid Makeup: CBD-Rich (Sometimes THC-Rich as Well)
One of the ways that CBD flower can differ from hemp flower is that it not only has high levels of CBD, it also contains THC.
The exact ratio can vary between different CBD-rich strains. Some CBD-rich strains have very low levels of THC.
It's also important to know that although CBD flowers may contain THC, the high CBD levels counteract it. CBD has an interesting effect on THC, and experts describe it as having a modulating action.
This can be very advantageous for people who want to access some of the actions of THC (such as pain relief) without experiencing psychedelic effects.
According to Stephen Laviolette, head of a research team that investigated the modulating action of CBD on THC, "If you want to avoid the negative effects (of THC), you may want to use strains that have a high CBD content.”
Besides this, high-CBD strains can also be ideal if you simply want to take the edge off of THC's effects. For instance, while THC can help reduce anxiety and promote calm, it can also trigger anxiety and paranoia.
Because CBD has a buffering and modulating effect on THC, you might find that CBD-rich strains are helpful for eradicating any feelings of THC-related unease and paranoia.
Common Uses for CBD Flower
As we said above, CBD is becoming widely sought-after. Not only are people using it in topical products and ingesting it via tinctures, but many people are also interested in smoking and vaping CBD flower.
CBD flower has a wide range of uses. Whether you want to make edibles or inhale the smoke or vapor directly, CBD flower will yield not only CBD but also a wide range of other compounds as well, such as many lesser-known cannabinoids, and terpenes.
Because of this, CBD flower offers valuable full-spectrum effects. It is arguably more effective than an isolate because the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes creates what's known as the entourage effect, where all the compounds and cannabinoids work synergistically to modulate and compliment each other.
One set of these compounds are cannabis terpenes. CBD flower and hemp flower are often found to exhibit the same terpene concentration as THC-rich flower.
The terpenes themselves offer a range of health benefits. Not only do they provide a pleasant aroma and flavor, but published research has also shown that certain terpenes can play a role in warding off chronic disease.
In summary, CBD flower is far less psychoactive than regular cannabis flower. It's also a great way to enjoy all of the therapeutic benefits of broad-spectrum CBD, while providing a more connoisseur smoking experience than industrial hemp.
Now let's take a look at the hemp flower. While most cannabis strains are bred to contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very low levels of THC.
Because of this, hemp flower is a popular source of CBD. Since the legalization of hemp by the Farm Bill in 2018, farmers are now able to cultivate hemp and use it to produce CBD products and things like hemp fibers, hemp seeds, and hemp hulls.
However, they need to keep the THC content below 0.3%. Because of this, farmers need to grow strains that were bred specifically for the hemp program. These genetics were selected over many generations to exhibit high levels of CBD and terpenes, while simultaneously developing very low levels of THC.
This painstaking process produces flowers that do not need to be harvested early, resulting in full-flavored, cannabinoid-rich hemp that can easily stack up to the CBD-rich options found across the United States in medical and recreational cannabis programs.
Unsurprisingly, there is a growing demand for high-CBD hemp strains that have the same smoking quality as CBD flower and regular cannabis. Because of this, places like Tweedle Farms now cultivate and sell top-quality, smokable hemp flower.
Cannabinoid Makeup: Low in THC, High in CBD
As we said above, hemp contains very low levels of THC. This is ideal if you are sensitive to THC, do not want any unwanted mind-altering effects, or live in a state where it's prohibited.
Smokable hemp also contains relatively high levels of CBD. There was a time when most hemp strains contained between 2%-6% CBD. However, as the market is changing, hemp strains are being bred to contain higher CBD and terpene levels, morphing into CBD-rich hybrids.
Some of these contain CBD levels as high as 13-15% and more.
As mentioned, the lines between traditional hemp flower and recent CBD hybrids are blurring. Therefore, a lot of CBD flower is sold and referred to as hemp flower and vice versa.
The main difference between hemp flower and CBD flower is that hemp flower is guaranteed to have <0.3% THC, whereas CBD flower might contain more than this.
Common Uses for Hemp Flower
Hemp flower is used for a variety of purposes, including extractions and edibles. Some hemp flower is also bred and grown specifically for smoking and vaping.
Smokable hemp flower still retains very low THC levels, but typically has specific terpene profiles and a better bud structure than traditional, industrial-grade hemp flower.
These hemp flower strains are great if you want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without the high, and in a legal way in states where THC is restricted. Hemp flower strains that are designed for smoking and vaping will typically produce subtle, relaxing, and soothing effects, without any psychoactive actions.
If you want to try your hand at some CBD-infused edibles, hemp flower is also ideal for this.
Looking for CBD edibles recipes? Why not start with our recipe for the best CBD-infused olive oil.
Although both hemp and CBD flower are cannabis, when someone talks about cannabis flower they are usually referring to a high-THC strain.
High-THC strains are used both recreationally and medically.
Cannabinoid Makeup: Mostly High in THC
Most regular cannabis flower contains high levels of THC, and less CBD than CBD-rich strains. However, there are hundreds of cannabis strains in existence today, and THC levels differ widely between them.
For instance, a strain like Royal Gorilla can develop THC levels of more than 30% in some phenotypes. On the other hand, something like Harlequin veers into CBD flower territory. In some cases, it has been found to exhibit a 5:2 CBD to THC ratio; in others, like in the case of Tweedle Farms' Cannatonic x Harlequin, the ratio is nearly 30:1 CBD to THC.
Common Uses for Cannabis Flower
Cannabis flower that's higher in THC will offer much more potent psychedelic effects. Because of this, a lot of people use it to mentally unwind or to trigger creativity. For some people, THC also provides energizing, motivating effects.
Besides being used for its mental effects, cannabis flower with higher levels of THC is also very useful for medicinal applications, such as pain management.
As more research comes out surrounding THC's application for pain management, epilepsy, glaucoma, nausea, and PTSD, many people are turning to regular, high-THC cannabis as a way to improve their quality of life.
Deciding Which Is Best for You
Now that we've gone over the differences and similarities between hemp flower, CBD flower, and regular cannabis flower—which is the best for you?
If you're struggling to figure out which flower strain will suit you, here are some of the things to think about.
What Are Your Needs?
The first thing to consider making your selection at a cannabis dispensary is what are your needs? Do you want to use cannabis recreationally for its mind-altering effects?
Or are you more after its potentially therapeutic benefits and have no interest in getting high?
Or, alternatively, maybe you're in search of pain relief, but without psychoactive effects.
If this is the case, then you might be best off with a strain that has a balance of CBD and THC. This will help to offset any unwanted THC effects, while still offering relief.
If you don't have a chronic condition you need relief from, then opting for a low THC strain or a hemp flower is a great alternative.
If you source smoking-grade hemp flower, you can benefit from high levels of CBD and terpenes, without having to worry about getting stoned.
What Are the Laws Where You Live?
Besides your specific needs, also think about the area where you live. If recreational cannabis use is illegal, then the easiest way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is through hemp flower.
On the other hand, if the laws are less strict in your state, you can choose between a CBD-rich strain with limited psychoactive effects or something with a little more THC.
What to Look For When Shopping for Flower
Before we leave you, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for flower.
Always look for a cannabis dispensary or farm that supports ethical growing practices and tests its cannabis for things like heavy metals and microbes.
Ideally, cannabis should be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
Also, keep an eye out for nice dense bud structures, and aromatic terpene profiles.
Are You Looking for CBD-Rich Strains of Hemp Flower?
As you can see, there are some blurred lines when it comes to categorizing cannabis into CBD flower, hemp flower, and regular flower. However, if you are looking for a cannabis strain with high levels of CBD, less than 0.3% THC, and lots of terpenes, we can help.
Tweedle Farms is Northwest Oregon's premier, family-owned hemp farm. We specialize in farm-to-table hemp flower that is rich in CBD and terpenes and bred specifically to offer a premium smoking or dry herb vaping experience.
Our mission is to deliver to your door premium quality products, at the best prices, and with the best customer service.
All our flowers are free from pesticides, fertilizers, or sprays, have passed third-party lab tests, and have standardized potencies.
If you would like to sample some of our high-quality hemp flower strains, head on over to our online storefront.