Powered by the entourage effect, hemp flower offers quick absorption through inhalation and plenty of therapeutic benefits.
Hemp flower, one of the many hemp-derived CBD products, has been increasing in popularity lately. While CBD oil and topicals deserve their own spotlights, the CBD-rich hemp flower is inexpensive, potent, easy to consume through inhalation, and completely legal.
What Is Hemp Flower?
Hemp flower, also referred to as hemp bud or CBD bud, comes from a Cannabis plant that contains high levels of CBD (13-20 percent is typical) and very low levels of THC (0.3 percent or less, as federally mandated). Flowers grown from industrial hemp are non-psychoactive and will not get you high, unlike its psychoactive relative, marijuana (the two look similar).
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial-grade hemp is completely legal to produce, distribute, and purchase in the U.S., which makes hemp flower consumption absolutely legal as well. Hemp flower is typically available for sale in loose-leaf and pre-rolled forms. Some people like to smoke hemp buds to get the effects of the CBD, or as a less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
But not all hemp is created equal. The quality of the flower, along with the level of its CBD content and how aesthetically pleasing it looks, really depends on how the hemp plant is planted, harvested, cured, and trimmed. The best buds are hand-trimmed and shaped by a skilled professional, to maximize their unique beauty and potency. Proper curing is another essential part of cultivating a high-quality hemp flower. This time-intensive process involves drying a fresh-cut cannabis plant while preserving its flavor and cannabinoids, with long-term storage in mind.
What Does “Full Spectrum” Mean?
Using hemp flower is one way of enjoying a full-spectrum CBD product. “Full spectrum” means that the flower contains all of its natural compounds including terpenes, fatty acids, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. Each of these compounds has effects and benefits of its own. A quality full-spectrum hemp flower with be high in CBD, contain a very low amount of THC (0.3 percent or less), and have only trace amounts of other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBN, CBC, and more.
The Entourage Effect
Cannabinoids and terpenoids in cannabis interact with each other and with receptors in our own endocannabinoid system (ECS), which includes the brain and the nervous system, triggering the body to produce its own endocannabinoids. When you consume hemp constituents together, each one interacts with the ECS in its own way. This interaction is referred to as the entourage effect. Found together in full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD products, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are said to be more effective together than if they were acting alone. This cooperation can potentially create a more effective therapeutic experience.
How CBD Is Absorbed During Inhalation
Inhalation is an attractive option of CBD consumption to many for two main reasons — high bioavailability and absorption speed. Inhalation is a fast-acting, direct pathway for CBD to enter your bloodstream.
Bioavailability is measured in percentages and refers to the amount of the substance that enters your system. Bioavailability depends on the manner in which CBD is introduced to your system. For instance, the oral bioavailability of CBD is roughly 15 percent, which means that for every 100 milligrams of CBD that you ingest, 15 milligrams will reach your bloodstream.
Then there’s the first-pass effect. When CBD enters your system it has to pass by the liver, which will reduce the amount of CBD through absorption and the breakdown by liver enzymes. This reduces the concentration of bioactive compounds of CBD. Inhalation bypasses the first-pass process as CBD enters your lungs and diffuses directly into your bloodstream, reaching bioavailability of 50 to 60 percent. You will feel the effects of CBD faster, and you can get the same beneficial effects with a smaller amount of CBD. Inhalation is the fastest way to get CBD and other active ingredients in the hemp flower into your system, period.
If you’re interested in trying the hemp flower, either in loose-leaf form or pre-rolled, consider the milligram amount shown on the label and be sure to ask your reputable retailer any questions. A good hemp flower product should be organically grown without pesticides and meticulously tested for quality and potency, with third-party test results readily available to you.
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