The Case for Smoking Hemp CBD: Benefits, Risk, and Psychoactive Properties

smoking hemp

CBD flower is the most pristine, cannabinoid-rich product on the hemp market. What are the benefits of smoking CBD flower? Is smoking CBD flower safe? Here is everything you need to know.

Last Update: June 12, 2023

Article Summary

  • Hemp flower, or CBD flower, is the flower of the female hemp plant and a source of cannabidiol (CBD) and other phytocannabinoids.
  • The advantage of smoking CBD flower over processed CBD products is its fast absorption and effects. There’s also hemp flower’s richness in phytocannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, fatty acids, and other nutrients.
  • Modern hemp breeders select specific hemp varieties to grow, which yield flowers with high CBD and low THC content. Each hemp flower strain is unique in color, taste, sell, and effectiveness, making the consumption of CBD-rich flower through inhalation a versatile experience.
  • The female hemp flower is typically used for smoking because they contain larger and more concentrated resin glands. And, resin glands are the main source of cannabinoid accumulation. Female hemp plants produce significantly more cannabinoids than male plants once flowering starts.
  • The five main cannabinoids in hemp flower are cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC).

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  1. What is CBD Flower?
  2. The Hemp Flower Up Close Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Nutrients
  3. Benefits of Smoking CBD Flower
  4. Smoking Hemp vs. Smoking Marijuana
  5. The Legal Status of Hemp Smokables
  6. Is Smoking CBD Flower Safe? 
  7. How to Recognize High-Quality CBD Flower? 

What started as the hottest CBD trend is here to stay more and more people are choosing hemp flower over processed CBD products. The beauty of smoking hemp flower lies in the flower’s purity and abundance in phytocannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Most processed CBD products (except for whole-spectrum CBD) don’t offer users the luxury of receiving all of hemp’s natural and unique compounds in such a synergic and intact form.

The best part about smoking CBD-rich flower is the versatility of the product. Every hemp flower strain is unique on its own and varies in color, smell, taste, and effectiveness. 

What is CBD Flower? 

CBD flower (also known as hemp flower, hemp bud, CBD bud), is the flower of the female hemp plant. The CBD flower is one of the most important parts of the hemp plant it’s a source of cannabidiol (CBD) and other phytocannabinoids that can be extracted and used to produce oil and other hemp CBD products. Recently, the most common use of CBD flower is in its smokable form. 

Have you ever heard that smoking hemp flower is not a thing and will only give you a headache? This is one of the biggest myths surrounding hemp flower, and there is a reason for that.

The hemp plant is one of humanity’s earliest domesticated plants, cultivated for over 12,000 years. In the past, industrial hemp was only bred for seed and fiber rather than resin. While products such as food, building materials, clothes, and others had considerable use in society, industrial hemp was not the best source of CBD.

In the modern age, breeders select a specific variety of hemp to grow, and these varieties yield flowers with high CBD and low THC content. They plant only high CBD varieties that have been bred with various strains to optimize their medicinal value. That said, smoking CBD flower could help your nagging headache take a hike rather than giving you one. 

The Hemp Flower Up Close — Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Other Nutrients 

Hemp Cannabinoids

The hemp plant contains over 100 phytocannabinoids — chemical compounds with great medicinal value. The crown of the hemp plant, its hemp flower, is where we find the majority of the (phyto) cannabinoids like CBD, CBC, THC, CBG, and more. The hemp flower has a very sticky resin, and the majority of the cannabinoid production happens in its trichomes. Trichomes are the tiny crystals that cover the bud, have a shiny appearance, and are sticky on the touch. In these crystals happens the production of hundreds of both known and unknown cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. 

Hemp’s female flower is the main smokable product. Female flowers contain much larger and more concentrated capitate-stalked resin glands which are the main source of cannabinoid accumulation than male plants. Male hemp plants form trichomes, but within the onset of flowering, the female plants produce much more cannabinoids than male plants. 

Top Five Cannabinoids in Hemp Flower  

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most well-known and researched cannabinoids. The reason why CBD became so popular is that it offers many health benefits without the psychotropic effects typically produced by THC.  

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is present in hemp in small amounts (up to 0.3%) and is the compound that makes the user high. Despite being recognized as the “bad guy,” THC comes with its own set of benefits. In fact, it is recommended to consume small amounts of THC along with other cannabinoids. That’s why hemp is perfect. Hemp contains extremely low THC levels that won’t get you high. 

Cannabigerol (CBG) is “the mother of all cannabinoids” and is found in lower amounts in the hemp flower. However, growers are making efforts to create better hemp varieties that yield flowers with higher CBG content. Currently, we offer two strains of CBG-rich hemp flower, including White Widow and Ghost Rider. Both flowers come in limited quantities because they are a rare find, and contain high levels of the cannabinoid CBG.

Cannabinol (CBN) is known for its sedative effects. CBN is one of the rarest hemp cannabinoids that is created when THC is exposed to heat and breaks down into CBN. Although CBN is a byproduct of THC, it is not considered potent enough to get you high. If you want to know more about the benefits of CBN, check out our ultimate guide

Cannabichromene (CBC) is a lesser-known hemp cannabinoid that shows promise in the treatment of pain. Although more research is needed on hemp cannabinoids in general, CBC is present in solid amounts in the hemp flower. Researchers believe it plays a role in alleviating pain, especially when paired with THC. 

What happens to cannabinoids when you light a hemp pre-roll?

When you light a pre-roll, you are activating the cannabinoids present in the hemp flower. The process of exposing CBD flower to high temperatures when smoking, dabbing, vaporizing is known as decarboxylation. Hemp cannabinoids are present in the hemp flower in their inactive or acidic forms cannabidiol (CBD) is cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) before decarboxylation. When cannabinoids are inactive, they can’t interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system. The process of decarboxylation or exposing hemp flower to heat is important to get the benefits of the hemp flower. High temperature activates the cannabinoids and allows them to interact with the endocannabinoid system and thus show their healing effects. 

Hemp Flower Terpenes

Terpenes are phytonutrients phytonutrients are found in all plant life and contain antioxidants that enhance and maintain skin, joint, and heart health. Terpenes are also the aromatic compounds that give hemp its scent and flavor, and play a major role in hemp’s healing effect. Terpenes interact with other hemp compounds and have the power to enhance the potency of cannabinoids such as CBD. Each hemp flower strain contains a unique combination of terpenes, also known as an individual terpene profile. Out of the hundred terpenes found in hemp, there are five most dominant and most common terpenes. 

Top Five Terpenes in Hemp Flower

Myrcene – myrcene is of the most common terpenes found in the hemp plant. This terpene is also present in hops, parsley, and wild thyme. Myrcene has an herbal, earthy, and musky aroma and is thought to support relaxation and help battle sleeplessness. 

Linalool linalool is known as the lavender terpene but is also present in many hemp strains. This terpene gives a floral scent with a hint of spice and is used to reduce stress and promote restful sleep.

Pinene – aside from the hemp flower, pinene is most commonly found in pine needles, rosemary, parsley, and orange peels. This terpene has a strong pine smell and promotes alertness and memory retention, contrary to linalool. 

Humulene humulene is common in hops, cloves, and basil. This terpene has a hoppy aroma and is known for its effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. 

Limonene limonene is another well-known terpene with a signature citrus scent. This terpene is naturally found in the peel of citrus fruits and is known for its stress-relieving and mood-enhancing properties. 

Essential Nutrients in Hemp Flower

Aside from cannabinoids and terpenes, hemp flower’s profile is enriched with essential nutrients such as fatty acids, proteins, fiber, and vitamins. Some essential nutrients in hemp include: 

Omega fatty acids – omega fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are incredibly important for maintaining a healthy body and brain. Hemp is rich in omega fatty acids that promote heart health, improve eye health, fight inflammation, and more. Most people are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, so using hemp flower is one of the ways to incorporate more in your diet.  

Protein – the hemp flower is also rich in protein, which is essential to the body. The body uses protein to repair and build tissues. Protein is great for your bones, helps boost metabolism and maintain weight loss, lowers blood pressure, and increases muscle mass and strength. 

Fiber – the hemp plant (especially the hemp seed) is known for its high fiber content. A high-fiber diet has a lot of advantages; it helps to normalize bowel movement, control blood sugar levels, achieve a healthy diet, and lower cholesterol levels. 

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Benefits of Smoking CBD Flower

The hemp flower is rich in incredibly beneficial compounds that contribute to the body’s health and wellness. Some of the benefits of smoking hemp flower include:

The Entourage Effect

Extensive research has shown that hemp produces better, more potent effects when used as a whole plant (with all of its cannabinoids and terpenes) rather than each of its components used separately.

A 2011 review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking terpenes and phytocannabinoids together has proven as more beneficial compared to each component being isolated [1].

This theory that each hemp compound can enhance the natural effect of other hemp components is known as the “entourage effect.”

That said, using CBD alone is still beneficial, but the effects are greater when all hemp components work in synergy. This goes on to say that each cannabinoid or terpene is important, even if it’s present in smaller amounts.  The entourage effect is the reason why many people go back to the basics and use smokable hemp products instead of buying pure CBD tinctures. 

Fast Results

Smoking hemp is one of the fastest delivery methods of cannabidiol (CBD) in the body. When smoking CBD flower, the cannabinoids are in direct contact with the lungs and transfer straight into the bloodstream. This makes smoking hemp a great way to calm and relax your body immediately, instead of waiting 30 minutes to an hour for edibles or other methods to kick in. 


Buying CBD oil at a reasonable price from a reliable supplier becomes pretty expensive over time. Hemp pre-rolls are one of the fastest-growing products on the CBD market because they are both effective and affordable. If you are looking for a cheaper way to experience the benefits of hemp flower, smoke a joint, bowl, or bong. 

Higher Bioavailability

Smoking CBD has high bioavailability that goes over 25%, and in some cases, up to 50%. This means that the body absorbs CBD at a faster rate and gets more of it into your system compared to other forms of consumption [2].  

CBD edibles have the lowest bioavailability rates. The bioavailability rate of CBD gummies, or the amount of CBD from the gummies absorbed, would be lower compared to smoking the same amount of hemp flower. This is because CBD gummies are ingested and hemp cannabidiol is metabolized through the stomach also known as the first-pass metabolism where most of it gets “destroyed.”

Smoking Hemp vs. Smoking Marijuana 

Hemp and marijuana are part of the same Cannabis family. The hemp flower and marijuana flower look and smell identical, have the same flavor, but there is a major difference in their chemical composition. Marijuana contains high levels of THC content from 5-35%, while hemp must not legally contain over 0.3% THC. People use marijuana flower for recreational and medicinal purposes because it has higher THC content. After smoking marijuiana, users get the “munchies,” an uncontrollable desire to eat, which doesn’t happen after smoking hemp. People who use hemp buds want to get the benefits of hemp flower, without getting high.  

How Does It Feel to Smoke Hemp Flower? 

Users describe the effects of smoking hemp buds as a “non-intoxicating body high” different from the “pleasurable high” they get from smoking weed. Also, smoking hemp flower gives users the same psychological satisfaction they get when holding and smoking a joint without the high. So, while marijuana flower is going to get you stoned, CBD flower will give you a soothing, relaxing feeling. Hemp flower can make you either more energized or sleepy many times depending on the strain and the time of the day you are consuming it. With CBD flower, you avoid the aftermath of too much THC. A Reddit user describes smoking CBD buds as being “high, but not high at the same time.”

For me, smoking CBD is like…I’m high but not high at the same time. I know that’s a strange explanation but it’s how I feel. My head is still in the game, I can still think in real time as when on “weed” it’s like I have to really focus. I hate smoking too much real weed and I have to wait about 20-30 minutes for some of it to burn off before I feel like I’m not getting too anxious. With CBD I never feel that happen.

What Does Hemp Flower Smell Like?

Hemp flower smells like cannabis. Cannabis smells like weed. And both hemp and weed have a powerful fragrance. Quality hemp flower has a captivating and distinct smell, which is a good thing it indicates high levels of terpenes. Each hemp strain has a different combination of terpenes that gives its particular smell and aroma. Some strains have more floral aroma, while others have a more fruity flavor. If your buds have no smell at all or smell like hay, you are not getting a potent CBD flower. The pungent aroma is a sign of quality. 

Can Smoking Too Much Hemp Flower Get You High?

Can you smoke too much CBD flower? Will you feel something if you smoke too much hemp flower? 

The research on smoking hemp flower is scarce, so there is no evidence on what will happen to a person if they smoke a lot of hemp flower. In general, too much of anything can make you sick or, worst, cause harm. The short answer to the above question is… it’s practically impossible to get high on hemp’s THC levels. Even if you smoke too much. 

Hemp flower contains delta-9 THC and THCA (the acidic form of THC), which is activated upon heating. Let’s say you’re smoking the CBD flower Hawaiian Haze, which contains legal limits of 0.3% total THC (the sum of delta-9 THC and the potential conversion of THC-A). If you smoke a 1 gram pre-roll each morning, that’s 3mg of THC per blunt. In most cases, you need at least 10mg of THC (even more if you’ve built tolerance) to feel any effect. If you smoke every day in a good amount, you are likely to build up a tolerance to THC.

But, there is a catch, you don’t actually absorb the entire THC present in the flower as some percentage of it is lost with the smoke. Also, it’s known that CBD can potentially tame the psychotropic effects of THC, and we’ve so far established that the hemp flower contains high levels of CBD. This means that a THC-induced high with such low levels of THC is practically impossible. If you are a beginner or you smoke a few bigger joints in succession, you are likely to feel something, but it’s still not enough to get you high. Also, some strains may make you feel a bit different because of their potent terpene profile. 

Will CBD Flower Show On a Drug Test?

Can you fail a drug test if you’re smoking CBD flower? It’s unlikely that you’ll fail a drug test by smoking CBD flower that contains less than 0.3% THC but, there is always a possibility. The thing is, when you consume CBD flower over a long period of time, the THC in it could build up in your system and show on a drug test. A standard drug test looks for THC_COOH, which is one of the main two metabolites the body creates when you are consuming THC the other one is hydroxy-THC. That’s why it’s important to get your CBD flower from a reputable source and know the amount of THC you are getting in your flower. Also, standard drug tests are not looking for CBD, so you’re safe on that one. 

Methods of Consuming Smokable Hemp Flower 

Hemp Flower Pre-Rolls and Pre-Roll Blunts

Hemp pre-rolls and pre-roll blunts are the easiest and most popular methods of consuming hemp flower. These smokable products are especially convenient for beginners. Users either roll blunts on their own, or buy a ready to go pre-roll. The important thing to look for in hemp pre-rolls is whether or not they are made with pure hemp flower mix. Mr. Hemp Flower’s hemp pre-rolls are made using 100% organic, pure hemp flower. Our pre-rolls don’t contain any additives or low-CBD hemp biomass. One of our top-selling pre-rolls and blunts is Lifter Plus CBD Hemp Pre-Roll

Pipe and Bong

Using a pipe or bong might be easier for many users than rolling joints. Some people prefer using a small hand pipe (pipes available in different sizes), pack the bowl with ground hemp flower, light the pipe, and inhale. Using a bong to smoke hemp is similar to using a pipe with the difference that the smoke passes through water before inhalation. The water helps filter particles from the smoke and makes for a more pleasant smoke. 

Hemp Cigarettes 

Hemp smokes are quickly becoming the most popular product on the market. Hemp Cigarettes are nicotine-free and are made using 100% pure CBD flower mix and kief. We don’t use any additives, hemp biomass, or low-CBD plant matter in any of our products.

Smoking hemp flower is a healthier option than smoking cigarettes. Hemp flower cigarettes don’t contain nicotine. Nicotine in tobacco causes addiction and long-term nicotine use can even be fatal. Smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma than nonsmokers. A 2005 study found that cannabis and tobacco smoke are not equally carcinogenic [3].

In addition, a 2013 study reported that “Adults who inhale cannabis report significantly better health outcomes than do those who smoke tobacco or a combination of both substances [4].”

Smoking tip: inhale slowly and deeply to fill the lungs with a good amount of smoke. Don’t forget to take in a deep breath between smoking to reduce the health risks associated with smoking and get the most out of the CBD flower. 

CBD Flower vs. CBD Oil 

For non-smokers, whole-plant CBD oil such as Phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) Hemp Oil is the alternative to smokable hemp flower. That’s because PCR hemp oil is less processed than CBD isolate and other oils, and is a true full spectrum oil because it’s rich in all components found in hemp.    

CBD isolate, on the other hand, is made by isolating cannabidiol (CBD) and stripping the extract from all other hemp compounds, which results in pure CBD extract. Because this product does not contain any other cannabinoid or terpenes, it will not deliver the entourage effect, but the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol. CBD isolate is perfect for people who want to avoid any risks with drug testing, but still benefit from cannabidiol. 

Broad spectrum CBD is produced by extracting hemp compounds and completely removing THC from the extract. Full spectrum, on the other hand, contains a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes and has a more potent effect compared to broad spectrum because it contains THC, which is key for the entourage effect. 

Whole-plant extracts are even less processed than full spectrum extracts and contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other naturally produced compounds in the hemp plant, including fibers, vitamins, omega acids, proteins, and other nutrients. Whole plant extract will deliver the most powerful entourage effect similarly to hemp flower.  

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Is Smokable Hemp Flower Legal

After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp (and all of its derivatives and cannabinoids) become a commodity in the United States. States have the right to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, and sale of hemp smokable for commercial purposes. Due to the nature of hemp flower and its resemblance to marijuana flower, some states have decided to ban smokable hemp products. But, banning smokable hemp hasn’t been a smooth process, because hemp is now a legal crop in the United States. 

In 2019, Indiana banned the sales and possession of smokable hemp flower based on the case of hemp’s similarity to marijuana. The state decided to ban CBD flower because law enforcement can’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana (there is no proper testing equipment to determine the levels of THC in the plant). This has been causing inconveniences in pursuing marijuana-related crimes.

However, as a response, several hemp manufacturers decided to sue the state of Indiana because of the hemp ban. The verdict? A federal judge threw out the state’s smokable flower ban, calling it inconvenient, but unconstitutional. Indiana’s ban on smokable hemp flower has served as an example for several other states considering a ban on smokable hemp.

In 2019, Louisiana and Alabama banned the sales of smokable hemp, and in 2018, Kentucky banned sales of whole hemp buds, hemp cigarettes, cigars, and ground flowers.

Kansas doesn’t allow the sale of hemp flower among people that don’t hold a license. Smokable hemp products like hemp pre-rolls, cigarettes, and cigars are also prohibited in Kansas. Utah prohibits the distribution and marketing of smokable hemp. 

For now, Texas bans the in-state processing and manufacturing of smokable hemp products. This means that it still allows the sale of hemp smokables manufactured in other states. But, Texas is in the process of adopting a ban on retail sale of smokable hemp products.

North Carolina legislators were also pushing to ban smokable hemp in the state.

Several states haven’t regulated smokable hemp but have legalized the cultivation of hemp, including, but not limited to, Delaware, Nebraska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Rhode Island. If you’d like to know whether smokable hemp flower is legal in your state, check our state-by-state guide.

Side Effects and Risks of Smokable Hemp 

Is smoking hemp safe? Extensive research shows that hemp and hemp-derived products are safe and approved for consumption. There are no major risks to consuming hemp. Cannabidiol in hemp is non-addictive and safe to use in higher doses. Some minor side-effects of CBD use include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Dry mouth

It’s important to note that the effects of hemp and its cannabinoids especially the way they interact with other medications are still being investigated. Current research shows that CBD flower’s main component, cannabidiol, can interact with other medications. That’s why it is recommended to avoid taking CBD when using medications. Please consult your physician to help you create a plan to slowly eliminate medications before switching to CBD flower. 

Aside from the fact that when you’re smoking hemp, you are inhaling smoke in the lungs, smoking hemp flower is considered safe. Unless you have or have had problems with lung disease in the past and smoke can exacerbate your symptoms you should be fine trying out hemp pre-rolls. 

Disclaimer: According to The American Lung Association, inhaling smoke of any kind is considered harmful to the lungs, regardless if it’s coming from cigarettes, hemp flower or campfire. Although CBD flower has a good safety profile, pregnant and breastfeeding women or people on medications should be careful before taking any CBD products. 

How to Recognize Top-Shelf CBD Flower?

The beauty of using CBD flower is that the product speaks for its own quality. From the smell to the colors and trichomes, you can immediately recognize a bad or stale CBD flower. It’s important to buy your hemp flower from a reputable brand that has great reviews and offers lab-tested smokables. Here are some indicators to help you judge the quality of your hemp flower:

Fragrant Aroma

Hemp has a strong, pungent smell that comes from the unique terpene profile of each strain. So, when you receive your CBD flower order, once you open the bag, the flower should fill the room with its smell. The stronger the scent, the more potent the flower. 

Vivid Colors 

Color is another important indicator of the quality of the hemp flower. Fresh, quality hemp flower has a nice lighter to darker green color. A stale or unhealthy flower has a “burned” brown, red, or yellow appearance. Top-shelf CBD flower is usually a blend of green and purple with a tint of orange or gold. 

Colored Pistils

Covered in an abundance of colored pistils, top-shelf hemp buds are a sight to see. From red and orange to brown, pink, and purple, the tiny hairs crowning the bud indicate a mature and quality flower. 


Pistils are gorgeous, but you should look beyond. Hemp trichomes are the crystalline white hairs on the top of the bud that contain CBD and determine the potency of the flower. Trichomes are in charge of producing the resin and store terpenes and other nutrients. They give the flower its sought-after “frosty” appearance. 

Choose Strains Rich in CBD and Terpenes

Ordering your hemp flower online is not an easy task. So, before looking at all of the above indicators on the quality of hemp flower, you should make sure you are ordering from a reliable and trusted brand. You should always make sure to check reviews and comments on the brand you plan on ordering from.

Mr. Hemp Flower has hundreds of five-star reviews both on our website and Google. For years, we’ve been a trusted source of CBD flower and smokable hemp products. We offer customers hemp flower sourced from vetted farmers and we manufacture our own products. All of our products are lab-tested. 

Ready to Try CBD Flower? 

For starters, we recommend going with our best selling flower, Hawaiian Haze Hemp Flower or Special Sauce CBD Hemp Flower.

Need Some Help Choosing the Right CBD Flower? 

We’ve prepared resources to help you decide which CBD flower to go with:

FAQ on Benefits of Smoking Hemp

Yes! You can inhale hemp and make use of its high absorption rate into the bloodstream to have quicker effects in alleviating symptoms of anxiety, pain, and other ailments.

The American Lung Association does not recommend inhaling any type of smoke, regardless if it comes from cigarettes or cannabis. This is mainly because of the potential side effects that come from inhaling chemicals in vaporizers, metals and other particles.

Some hemp tea brands are, in fact, suitable for smoking. Many people find smoking hemp tea a healthier substitute for cigarettes, which can also help them get over their tobacco addiction.

The answer is no. You won’t get high by smoking higher hemp wraps because hemp is not marijuana. Hemp doesn’t contain high levels of THC like marijuana and won’t give you a euphoric high.

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