As the cannabis industry continues to expand, new terminology and products are popping up left and right, making it overwhelming for both cannabis newbies and connoisseurs alike. Two terms that have gained popularity in recent years are "hemp flower" and "hemp biomass." While both are derived from the same plant, they are vastly different in terms of their appearance, composition, and usage. In this blog, we'll explore the differences between hemp flower and hemp biomass, and help you understand which product may be best suited for your needs.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species. Unlike marijuana, which is another variety of Cannabis sativa, hemp contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that produces the "high" associated with marijuana use. Hemp has been used for a wide range of industrial and commercial purposes for thousands of years, including the production of textiles, paper, biofuels, construction materials, food products, and supplements. In recent years, hemp has gained attention for its potential health benefits, particularly through the use of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp that is believed to have therapeutic properties.
What is Biomass?
Biomass refers to the organic material derived from living or recently living organisms, such as plants, animals, and microorganisms. It can be used as a renewable energy source, as it contains stored energy from the sun that can be released through combustion or other chemical processes. Biomass can include a wide range of materials, such as wood chips, agricultural waste, algae, and even municipal solid waste. It can be processed and converted into various forms of fuel, such as pellets, liquid biofuels, or biogas, which can be used to generate electricity, heat, or power vehicles. The use of biomass as a fuel source is seen as a way to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Hemp flower, also known as CBD flower, refers to the flowering buds of the female hemp plant. These buds contain high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids, but very low levels of THC. Hemp flower is typically harvested by hand, dried, and then trimmed to remove the stems and leaves.
It can be consumed in a variety of ways, including smoking, vaping, or brewing as a tea. Many people prefer using hemp flower as a natural and holistic way to consume CBD and other cannabinoids, as it is minimally processed and contains a range of beneficial compounds that work together to produce what is known as the "entourage effect."
Hemp biomass refers to the organic material derived from the hemp plant, specifically the stalks, leaves, and other plant matter that remains after the flowers and seeds have been harvested. Hemp biomass is a valuable resource in the production of a wide range of hemp-derived products, including CBD oil, textiles, paper, and building materials, as well as biofuels and other industrial products.
Because hemp biomass is high in cellulose, it can be processed into a variety of useful forms, such as pulp, pellets, or fibers, making it a versatile and sustainable raw material. Additionally, because hemp biomass is grown using sustainable agricultural practices, it is considered to be a highly eco-friendly resource that has the potential to help mitigate climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Honorable Mention: Industrial Hemp
Beyond hemp flower and hemp biomass there is a strain of hemp that is grown specifically for industrial uses. The honorable mention of industrial hemp is put forth to show how versatile and beneficial the hemp plant can be.
Industrial hemp has a wide range of uses, including the production of fiber for textiles and paper, seed for food and animal feed, and oil for cosmetic and health products. It can also be used for the extraction of CBD and other cannabinoids, which are used in various health and wellness products.
Compared to other crops, industrial hemp is relatively easy to grow and requires less water and pesticides. It also has a short growing cycle of around 90 to 120 days and can be grown in a variety of climates and soil types.
Are Hemp and Hemp Biomass Legal?
The legality of hemp flower and hemp biomass in the US depends on their THC content. Hemp is defined as cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, according to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill).
If hemp flower and hemp biomass contain THC levels that are below the legal threshold of 0.3%, they are generally considered legal under federal law. However, it is important to note that some states have implemented their own regulations regarding the production and sale of hemp products, so it is advisable to check the specific laws in your state.
Can you Smoke Hemp Biomass?
While it is technically possible to smoke hemp biomass, it is not typically recommended or used for that purpose. This material is typically lower in cannabinoid content, including CBD, than the hemp flower, and can be harsh and unpleasant to smoke. Moreover, smoking hemp biomass can potentially release harmful toxins and chemicals that can damage the lungs and respiratory system.
Instead, if you're interested in smoking hemp, it is generally recommended to use high-quality hemp flower, which is specifically bred for its desirable cannabinoid and terpene profile, and is generally considered to be more enjoyable and effective for smoking.
Elaboration: Ways to Consume Hemp Flower
While hemp biomass should not be consumed, there are multiple ways to consume and benefit from hemp flower. Consumers can find CBD in topicals, tinctures, edibles, and a multitude of other products. However, the most effective way to consume CBD hemp flower is through inhaling it.
The science behind the effectiveness of inhalation has to do with the bioavailability and biodelivery available in the consumption method. By inhaling CBD vapor the molecules are able to quickly enter the bloodstream and begin to work with the body.
Hearing inhalation is the most effective way to consume hemp may have users ready to pack a big bowl of CBD flower, but this is not the best option. Traditional smoking methods use combustion to burn the flower, which exposes users to toxins and carcinogens in the smoke produced.
Instead consumers should look for a dry herb vaporizer that uses heat-not-burn technology to heat the flower to an optimal temperature that will not not produce the toxins associated with traditional smoking. The elon® by E1011 Labs is a high-quality dry herb device that pairs with flower pods prefilled and predosed with CBD-rich flower. Using the elon® allows consumers to get their daily dose, or doses, of CBD in a convenient and user friendly way.
Flower vs Biomass
In summary, while hemp flower and hemp biomass are both derived from the hemp plant and contain beneficial cannabinoids, they are used for different purposes and have distinct characteristics. Hemp flower is typically used for direct consumption, with smoking and vaping being popular methods, while hemp biomass is commonly used for industrial purposes, like biofuels and textiles.
Whether you're a cannabis newbie or a seasoned connoisseur, understanding the differences between hemp flower and hemp biomass can help you make an informed decision on hemp products to buy, both consumable and non-consumable.