Humans have cultivated the hemp plant for centuries, and while our growing techniques may have evolved quite a bit since the neolithic era, our love of hemp hasn’t waned.
Unlike in the past, most of the hemp grown in modern North America isn’t grown for its bast fibers. Today, the majority of hemp plants are bred for their cannabinoids like CBD, and the industry is super competitive. With so much hemp out there, farmers need to distinguish themselves from the competition by cultivating the highest quality hemp possible.
But what exactly makes hemp high quality? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about premium hemp flower and how to find them.
Hemp vs. Cannabis
Understanding the difference between hemp and cannabis can be confusing, especially to those without much experience with the plant.
Technically speaking, hemp is cannabis; it’s just a specific type of cannabis with little to no THC. Whether a particular cannabis plant qualifies as hemp depends on where in the world it’s grown, as different nations have unique limits on how much THC a cannabis plant can have and still be considered hemp.
Is Hemp Legal In The USA?
From 1937 to 2018, hemp was illegal in the United States for all intents and purposes. However, in 2018, Congress passed the most recent iteration of the Farm Bill, which included a section formally legalizing hemp on the federal level.
The Farm Bill defines hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% delta 9 THC, so any cannabis plant fitting that description is federally legal. Even though the bill passed, individual states are still free to create their own laws regulating hemp production. However, as of April of this year, all 50 states have made it legal to produce hemp.
Benefits Of CBD
Hemp plants only contain trace amounts of THC—not enough to have any effect. But they can have plenty of CBD.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, which means it won’t get you high. Despite not having much recreational use, preliminary studies suggest that CBD could have a whole host of benefits.
Anecdotally, some users find that CBD helps them unwind at night or keeps them calm and focused throughout the day. The cannabinoid may also have genuine medical applications.
One of the most documented of these benefits is CBD’s anti-seizure properties. Several randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials have confirmed that CBD can reduce the number of seizures compared to placebos in patients with severe forms of epilepsy.
Additionally, preliminary research suggests that CBD has the potential to help treat multiple anxiety disorders and help people manage certain chronic pain conditions. However, we do need more clinical trials to confirm CBD’s efficacy and safety in both these regards.
Benefits Of Smoking Hemp Flower
There are several different ways to consume hemp-derived CBD, including edibles, CBD drinks, sublingual tinctures, and simple capsules.
But none of these methods are nearly as effective as inhalation. CBD has relatively low bioavailability, meaning only a small fraction of the compound makes it into the bloodstream, where it can have an effect. This is especially true with edible CBD. Using an inhalation method like smoking or vaping can more than double the cannabinoid’s bioavailability compared to a CBD gummy, which means users can get a better effect from a smaller dose.
What Makes Hemp High-Quality?
There are tons of different hemp options available online and at local dispensaries, but how can you tell crème de la crème apart from regular old CBD flower?
Just by looking at it, you may notice that premium hemp flower has an almost frosty appearance. This is due to the abundance of trichomes—resin glands that contain the majority of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes.
Speaking of terpenes, premium hemp often has a pungent fragrance because it’s chock full of these aromatic compounds. Not only will these terpenes improve the overall flavor of the hemp flower, but some research suggests that they may also have complimentary therapeutic benefits as well.
Always make sure a third-party lab has adequately tested your hemp flower not just for potency but also for potential contaminants like mycotoxins, pesticides, or heavy metals. High-quality hemp cultivators will always be happy to share their certificate of analysis with potential customers.
Premium Hemp Flower Strains
High-quality hemp starts with good genetics. Here are a few of our favorite hemp strains:
Pineapple Express CBD: Based on the hit movie with Seth Rogen, the pineapple express CBD strain is a cross between Trainwreck and Hawaiin CBD. Its fruity fragrance is extremely enticing, and its high CBD content can sometimes exceed 30%.
Golden Cherry Hemp: Another fruity strain, Golden Cherry Hemp has a tart flavor complimented by subtle earthy undertones. Its mid-range CBD content is great for daytime use.
Sour Diesel CBD: Don’t be deterred by its understated appearance; this iconic CBD strain has a powerful aroma of petrol and often boasts CBD levels of over 25%.
Siskiyou Gold Hemp: Named for the mountain range that extends from Northern California into Oregon, this premium strain has CBD levels typically around 15% and has a distinctive mix of musky aromas.
Stelo Relax: Stelo Relax is a disposable eco-friendly cartridge designed for use in the elon® and filled with a blend of premium sun-grown hemp flower. Its terpene and cannabinoid profiles have been specially formulated to encourage calming relaxation.
Do you have a go-to hemp strain we missed? Let us know on Twitter why it’s your favorite.