What’s the difference between CBD hemp flower, industrial hemp, and marijuana?
With hemp now legally recognized in the United States, it’s important to grasp the distinctions between industrial hemp, CBD hemp flower, and marijuana. Let’s delve into the most crucial aspects of each.
Last Update: June 25, 2023
- CBD hemp flower refers to the buds of the female hemp plant that contains high CBD levels and less than 0.3% THC. It looks, smells, and tastes similar to THC-rich marijuana flower but without the intoxicating effects.
- Hemp flower and CBD flower refer to the same type of hemp-derived flower that’s dried and cured for the smokable hemp market or oil extraction market.
- CBD flower has relaxing or energizing effects on the body and mind and can be felt within minutes, lasting for about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Indica hemp flower strains tend to have sedative effects, while sativa strains are more energizing.
- Marijuana flower, on the other hand, is bred to contain high levels of THC and CBD. While CBD derived from marijuana is chemically the same as CBD from hemp, the legal implications differ, as CBD from marijuana is federally illegal.
- Industrial hemp is a cultivar of Cannabis sativa grown for industrial or medicinal purposes. It contains low levels of THC and is primarily cultivated for its fibrous stalks and nutritious seeds, rather than its CBD-rich flowers.
- Marijuana may induce psychoactive effects and is associated with potential side effects, unlike CBD hemp flower.
What is CBD Hemp Flower?
CBD hemp flower refers to the buds of the female hemp plant that contains high levels of CBD and less than 0.3% THC.
Aside from the low THC content, CBD flower closely resembles THC-rich marijuana flower in terms of appearance, scent, and taste.
Typically sold as a dried and cured herb, CBD hemp flower can be used similarly to marijuana but without the intoxicating effects. CBD hemp flower is available in different strains, including some with high CBD content (over 15%), average CBD content (10% to 15%), and low CBD content (below 10%).
The flavors and aroma of the flower depend on the strain’s terpene profile. Terpenes are potent aromatic compounds found in all plant life and offer numerous benefits. These aromatic compounds give the CBD flower its smell, unique aroma, and flavor, while influencing its effects. Consequently, the way a strain makes you feel depends on the presence and concentration of terpenes.
Most CBD flower strains contain at least two common primary and secondary terpenes, including:
- Myrcene: This terpene has a mildly sweet yet spicy flavor, imparting an earthy and musky smell to the strain.
- Limonene: As the name implies, limonene is found in the oils of oranges, lemons, and others. It has a citrus-like flavor that can be sweet and tangy or slightly bitter.
- Pinene: Derived from pine trees, pinene has a distinctive piney smell and an earthy or minty flavor.
- Linalool: Present in lavender essential oil, linalool has a sweet and floral aroma and flavor with a hint of spiciness.
- Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene provides CBD flower with a more intense spiciness and smells reminiscent of cloves.
- Humulene: This terpene offers a woody aroma, an earthy taste, and a powerful hops undertone.
- Terpinolene: Terpinolene boasts a complex scent and flavor. It’s often described as having a woody yet herbal taste with an aftertaste of citrusy pine and a woody, floral, herbal, and citrusy smell — all at once.
- Bisabolol: A common terpene in most CBD flower strains, bisabolol has a sweet, dry taste with hints of apple cider.
CBD Flower Effects
While CBD flower doesn’t induce intoxication, it does have relaxing or energizing effects on the body and mind. When smoked or vaped, the effects of CBD flower can be felt within 10 minutes and typically last between 30 to 60 minutes.
It’s challenging to predict how a specific CBD flower strain will affect an individual. As a general guideline, indica strains tend to have sedative, relaxing effects, while sativas are more energizing and uplifting.
Indica strains usually have a higher percentage of relaxing terpenes like myrcene and caryophyllene, while sativa strains tend to contain higher levels of limonene and pinene. While the effects of different CBD strains may not be straightforward, the presence of certain terpenes can provide some insight into what to expect.
What is Industrial Hemp?
Now that we’ve covered CBD flower, let’s shift our attention to the plant from which CBD flower grows: hemp.
Industrial hemp, a historically significant crop in the United States, is a class of Cannabis sativa cultivars grown for industrial or medicinal purposes. Click here to read more about the medicinal benefits of CBD flower.
Hemp, as a distinct cultivar, differs from high-THC cannabis in that it contains less than 0.3% THC. Cultivars are typically developed through selective breeding and encompass a group of plants with shared but distinguishable characteristics.
The primary distinction between hemp and marijuana cultivars is their THC levels. Hemp is selectively bred to yield CBD flower with high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, while marijuana is bred to produce flower with high THC levels.
Industrial hemp, however, is cultivated differently than hemp that produces CBD-rich hemp flower. Instead of growing plants for their resinous flowers, as marijuana growers do, industrial hemp farmers cultivate large fields of densely sown plants. This method forces the plants to grow vertically as they compete for space, similar to bamboo, which increases the yield of hemp stalk, seed, and biomass.
While industrial hemp is a remarkable renewable resource, it’s not an ideal source of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids. Industrial hemp is mainly grown for its fibrous stalk and nutritious seeds rather than its CBD-rich flowers.
The versatility of the hemp plant extends to its use in the production of at least 50,000 different consumer products.
While it is commonly known for its use in textile fibers such as rope, hemp can be utilized in numerous other applications. Its tall fibrous stalks, nutritious seeds, and biomass serve as renewable resources for various industries. Some of the incredible products that can be made from hemp include:
- Biodegradable plastics
- Steel reinforcement
- Paper, canvas
- Non-toxic ink
- Seeds, oils, butter
- Clothes, carpet, other textiles
- And many more
CBD Hemp Flower vs. Industrial Hemp Flower
As mentioned earlier, hemp can be cultivated for industrial purposes or medicinal purposes.
Industrial hemp’s seeds and fiber are used to create many practical and environmentally friendly products. Medicinal hemp, specifically bred to yield flowers with high CBD levels, is primarily used for oil extraction for therapeutic purposes.
So, is there a difference between CBD flower and hemp flower?
While you may find varying answers to this question, the truth is that CBD flower and hemp flower refer to the same thing—the flower of the female hemp plant that yields high CBD levels and low THC levels. When CBD flower or hemp flower is mentioned, they are considered synonymous.
You might also wonder if industrial hemp produces flowers. The answer depends on whether it is a male or female plant. However, if it is grown for fiber, it won’t have significant CBD levels.
As mentioned earlier, cultivators who focus on meeting the demands of the essential oil market concentrate on growing hemp for flower bud production. This involves cultivating hemp plants, typically from feminized seeds, and treating them as a specialty crop, with the flowers cultivated to maximize growth.
CBD flower grows dense, sticky buds covered in beautiful, crystalline hair-like formations known as trichomes. These trichomes are where cannabinoid synthesis occurs. The rate and concentration of trichomes produced by a bud are determined by genetics and environmental factors. Plants with a higher concentration of trichomes do not necessarily produce the most cannabinoids and terpenes.
What is Marijuana Flower?
Marijuana or “cannabis” flower refers to the dried buds of the female cannabis plant.
Unlike CBD hemp flower, marijuana flower is specifically bred to produce high levels of THC and CBD. Therefore, marijuana flower is available in different strains with varying CBD:THC ratios.
Similar to CBD flower, marijuana flower comes in many different strains that are typically classified into indica and sativa groups.
With hemp now legal in the US, many are wondering if CBD from marijuana and CBD from hemp are the same. Chemically, yes, CBD derived from marijuana is the same as CBD derived from hemp. But there’s a huge difference in legality between the two. CBD extracted from marijuana is illegal federally and in most US states.
Marijuana typically contains high amounts of THC, which, even in small doses, can lead to side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and short-term memory loss.
In contrast, CBD hemp flower contains THC levels below the legal threshold, which enhances CBD’s therapeutic potential without inducing the adverse side effects associated with marijuana.
If you’re concerned about the effects of THC or simply don’t enjoy the psychoactive sensations of marijuana, CBD hemp flower is an excellent alternative.
CBD provides the relaxing, therapeutic benefits of hemp flower without inducing unwanted cognitive impairments. Besides CBD, hemp flower also contains other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol (CBG),
Want to sleep better at night or relax muscle and nervous tension? Looking for an all-natural way to relieve stress? There’s a CBD strain that can help. Click here to find the right CBD flower for you.
Hemp And Marijuana Are Genetically Different
The primary distinguishing factor between hemp and marijuana lies in the levels of THC they produce. Research indicates that genetics and the environment play a role in the differences in cannabinoid profiles and structures between these plants.
In marijuana, the encoding for the synthesis of THCa occurs due to the presence of Bt allele, while cannabidiolic acid’s synthase in hemp is enabled by the Bd allele encoding .
Some studies indicated an up-regulation in the THC production pathways in cannabis compared to hemp, which causes the production of 10% THC (and over) in medical cannabis strains and less than 0.3% THC in hemp .
Also, there could be a 27% genetic variation between marijuana and hemp, highlighting the differences in their genetic makeup .
Although hemp and marijuana are part of the same Cannabis sativa cultivars, significant differences exist between the two.
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FAQs on CBD Flower vs. Hemp
What is the difference between hemp flower and CBD flower?
CBD flower and hemp flower are the same and refer to the buds of the female hemp plant. Hemp can be grown for industrial (fiber, stalk) purposes and for medicinal purposes (CBD flower rich in cannabinoids for extraction of cannabinoids.
Does hemp smell like weed?
Yes, hemp and marijuana share the same smell because they belong to the Cannabis sativa family and contain similar terpenes. Some marijuana strains may have a more pronounced “dank” smell due to a higher terpene profile.
Which is better CBD or hemp?
The answer depends on your preferences and needs. CBD can be derived from both hemp and marijuana, but there are significant legal differences between the two. Some people prefer consuming hemp flower to benefit from CBD, while others prefer extracted CBD in the form of full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate products.