The popularity of high CBD, low THC flower, derived from both hemp and marijuana, is on the rise. We answer your questions about this popular new category of product.
What is high CBD, low THC flower?
High CBD, low THC flowers are strains (or batches) of hemp and marijuana that express high levels of cannabadiol (CBD) and low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be smoked. CBD has seen a massive surge in popularity in recent years for the potential health benefits that it, and other cannabanoids, may provide. THC is the principle psychoactive component of marijuana. Users of high CBD, low THC products are generally seeking to obtain health benefits of CBD without the psychoactive component of THC. While more research must be done, it is generally thought that a combination of CBD, THC and other cannabanoids work in tandem to create an "entourage effect."
What's the difference between high CBD hemp flower and high CBD marijuana flower?
Both hemp and marijuana are subspecies of the cannabis plant. Both plants produce cannabanoids, inclusive of CBD and THC (among many others) and express those cannabanoids at varying levels. Hemp plants, however, generally produce a small fraction of the THC produced by their marijuana relative. THC is best known to cause the psychoactive effects of marijuana that are typically not experienced with hemp. This is why CBD products produced from industrial hemp plants are considered by most to be legal products in all 50 states, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC. CBD products derived from marijuana plants, often with THC levels above 0.3%, remain federally illegal. That hasn't stopped individual states from legalizing recreational marijuana and, as such, some of our readers do not have to choose between the origin of their high CBD, low THC products.
The truth is, the lines are blurring. Some marijuana producers are breeding strains specifically to express low amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD, with a focus on health. Some hemp growers, on the other hand, are seeking to maximize the amount of THC up to the 0.3% limit, while driving up the CBD and terpene content. Chemically speaking, the CBD and THC in both hemp and marijuana products are the same. Regardless of which plant you derive CBD and THC from, your choice in flower comes down to personal preference and prevailing laws.
Wait, you can smoke hemp?
You could always smoke hemp, but that didn't mean the experience was pleasant. Just a year ago, we wouldn't have recommended it. But, gone are the days of fringe companies selling dry, industrial hemp as a novelty, smokeable product. These products of yesteryear generally delivered a harsh smoking experience with little noticeable effect from lower quality plants. However, as of recently, that has all changed. Enter the craft grower. Unlike their industrial forbears, the new breed of CBD flower producer looks much more like the craft growers in the recreational marijuana industry. Forgoing the industrial outdoor growing and processing of hemp, these craft farms are pouring attention to detail into their products. Whether they're growing small batches indoors with the highest quality ingredients, or launching extensive breeding programs to optimize the chemistry of a strain, the lines between high CBD, low THC marijuana and high CBD, low THC hemp are starting to blur. We think that's a good thing and expect the trend to continue.
I live in a recreational state, is there any reason to smoke hemp flower over marijuana flower?
That depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Even at low THC levels, marijuana tends to have more THC than hemp flower. If you're trying to avoid getting foggy or even the slightest bit impaired, you may reach your maximum THC limit before you get the desired CBD and terpenes from your smoke. (read: you will take less hits, so you'll intake less CBD) If that's the case, CBD flower may be a better fit. You can smoke a lot of it without reaching meaningful amounts of THC. The downside is that you smoke more. Smoking 2, 3 or 4 times the amount of flower can take a toll on the throat, lungs and nasal passages. As with anything, strive for moderation.
Should I try CBD Flower or another CBD product?
That depends on your propensity to smoke anything to begin with. We all believe that oils and edibles are healthier, especially for your lungs. Inhaling the smoke from a burning substance is not ideal. You have to weigh the potential side effects with the potential benefits. That said, it hasn't stopped the recreational marijuana industry from producing a boatload of flower. People still enjoy smoking flower. Whether it's nostalgia, the shared social experience or the quick onset of effect, smoking flower is not going anywhere. CBD flower can certainly deliver comparable amounts of CBD, terpenes and flavinoids to other types of CBD. It is just a question of personal preference.
What should I look for in a high CBD, low THC flower?
First and foremost, understand what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to stay alert during the day, but slightly more relaxed? Or, are you looking for a product to put you straight to sleep? High CBD, low THC flower is often still described in terms of being an Indica, Sativa or hybrid. Beyond THC, the cannabanoids and terpenes in any flower are going to play a large role in the overall effect. Information on various strains - complete with expected effects and user reviews - are readily available at sites such as Leafly. For hemp CBD flower sold online, the grower or retailer is likely to describe the effects in the product description and, often, will provide lab reports.
Second, look for quality. In the digital age, a company's reputation is only a Google Search away. Before putting down your hard-earned dollars, click around to see what other buyers are saying about the quality of product and experience with a brand. CBDtop10 is just starting to review High CBD, Low THC hemp flower and will be publishing brand and strain reviews soon. As soon as we publish our top 10 list, we will update this article. In the interim, there is an entire sub-reddit dedicated to the High CBD Hemp Flower genre, with users exchanging tips, tricks and notes. In recreational states, dispensaries will often serve as a quality filter and knowledgable budtenders are usually happy to share their experiences.
What are the most popular high CBD, low THC marijuana strains?
ACDC, Cannatonic, Charlotte's Web, Deadlights, Harlequin, Harle-tsu, Pennywise, Ringo's Gift, Remedy and Stephen Hawking Kush are just some of the many marijuana strains with a reputation for expressing higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC.
What are the most popular high CBD, low THC hemp strains?
This category has a much smaller sample set to draw from, given the newness of the category, but users seem to enjoy CBG Flower, Cherry Wine, Elektra, Frosted Kush, Grumpy Grandpa, Hawaiian Haze, Lifter, P10, Special Sauce and Suver Haze - among many others.
What are the most popular High CBD, low THC marijuana brands?
Right now, the legal marijuana market is fragmented. Until marijuana is federally legalized, producers are typically only licensed to grow or sell in one state. There are some multi-state operators that have procured licenses in multiple states, however brands tend to be regionalized.
What are the most popular High CBD, low THC hemp brands?
Until we've done thorough testing, we're hesitant to recommend any brand at this point. Our initial research indicates that some of the more common, popular purveyors of hemp flower are Berkshire CBD , Boston Hempire, Cheef Botanicals, Dr. Ganja, Fields of Hemp, Legals, Mr. Hemp Flower, Revel Valley, Secret Nature CBD and Tweedle Farms.
Hemp looks like marijuana. Will law enforcement seize my hemp CBD flower?
As long as a grower is staying below the 0.3% THC content level to qualify as legal hemp, law enforcement would have no basis to seize your package. Most producers include a note to law enforcement, with lab results, to allay any concerns of hemp being visually confused with marijuana. Check the FAQ section of the website you're ordering from to confirm their shipping policies.
Does hemp flower smell like marijuana?
In most cases, yes. Some smell exactly like marijuana, by design. Others are more muted of a smell in the packaging, but the smoke will smell like marijuana for the most part.