Since the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp, it’s once again become a massive cash crop for the American farmer. Despite being illegal only a few short years ago, the hemp industry has completely exploded due to the plant’s myriad of uses. Industrial hemp can be fashioned into rope, sails, paper, plastic alternatives, and even eco-friendly building materials. Plus, the hemp-derived cannabinoid CBD has become a darling active ingredient of the wellness and beauty communities, propelling it to one of the hottest selling compounds on the market.
This brings us to biomass, one of the many byproducts of a hemp harvest.
What Is Hemp Biomass?
With any cannabis plant, the vast majority of cannabinoids are located on the frosty resinous trichomes that pepper the outside of the mature flowers. These flowers typically get cured and dried before being sold as the recognizable buds you can find at dispensaries. However, they only make up a small fragment of the entire plant. So what do you do with the rest of it?
The stalks, stems, leaves, seeds, and other material leftover after harvesting the hemp flower are packaged together and sold as biomass. But if biomass is just the leftover waste, what exactly can you do with it?
What Is Hemp Biomass Used For?
Ultimately, what hemp biomass gets used for depends on what the hemp was originally grown for.
If the hemp was grown for industrial use, then it can be used for its fibers to make industrial products. Some biomass can even be converted into clean-burning fuel. You’ll sometimes hear this type of biomass referred to as fiber biomass.
If the cultivator planted the initial crop using high-CBD strain seeds with the intention of growing CBD-rich hemp, then the biomass typically winds up being sold to extractors. Earlier we said that most of the cannabinoids are found on cannabis flower. However, other parts of the plant also contain small amounts of these cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Though, trying to smoke hemp biomass would be an unpleasant experience that wouldn’t give the consumer much benefit. So how does this CBD biomass wind up getting used?
Using Hemp Biomass
On its own, hemp biomass isn’t very useful for someone who wants to glean the benefits of CBD. First, the biomass must be processed by a skilled extractor, who will transform the raw material into a viscous oil that can be used sublingually, or in a cannabis oil smoking device. Because the process of extraction is extremely complicated, requires specific equipment, and can be dangerous if attempted by untrained persons, we highly recommended leaving extraction up to the professionals.
Vaping Hemp Biomass
Once hemp biomass has been converted into a concentrate or oil, it’s still not intended for use in a traditional smoking implement like a pipe or bong. It can, however, be vaporized if you have the correct device. There are several different types of cannabis vaporizers for sale, and finding out which one is right for you can be confusing for a novice in the vaping world. Let’s take a look at some common types of vapes and their pros and cons.
- Cannabis Vape Pen: These extremely convenient vapes have a slim profile that can easily fit in a purse or pocket and consist of a 510 threaded battery and a disposable cartridge filled with cannabinoid-rich oil. After using up all the oil, the cartridge can simply be tossed away and a new one attached.
- Wax Pen: At first glance, a wax pen looks incredibly similar to a regular vape pen. The difference is that with a wax pen, weed concentrates like shatter, wax, or crumble are added directly into the heating chamber instead of twisting on a new cartridge. Wax pens give users more choice over their experience but can sometimes be messy and require more maintenance.
- Portable Dry Herb Vaporizer: Unlike our first two vapes, dry herb vaporizers aren’t fueled by extracts. Instead, they heat hemp and marijuana flower at low temperatures causing the cannabinoids and terpenes to convert to an inhalable aerosol. Unlike conventional smoking, no combustion occurs, meaning less smoke particulates that can wind up damaging the lungs. However, we don’t recommend using biomass in a dry herb vape as it will likely have a poor taste, and its low cannabinoid content won’t have much of an effect on the user. Stick to flower with these vapes instead.