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Can You Smoke Hemp? A Beginner's Guide to CBD Hemp Flower

Hemp has been around for many years. There is evidence that ancient cultures have been using hemp since 500 BC. Ancient Chinese and Indian cultures have left behind evidence of their hemp usage. Whether it be ancient Chinese emperors and armies, or Hindu medicine men, hemp has been utilized for centuries! Man has continuously found new ways to utilize hemp. Before we answer the question, “Can you smoke hemp?”, let’s first explore what it is.



What is Hemp?

In the past, hemp was grown for mainly industrial use. Today, farm bill compliant hemp must contain contains less than 0.3% THC and it is widely used to make CBD. The 2018 Farm Bill has made it federally legal to purchase and use hemp in the United States. Although both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, THC has a psychoactive property that makes you feel “high.”  With today’s hemp, the majority of THC has been bred out of many popular cannabis strains, such as Sour Diesel, Sour Space Candy, or Pineapple Express CBD, leaving consumers with many flavorful hemp strains to choose from.


Industrial hemp is often used to create fiber. This type of hemp is grown and cared for differently than the hemp used for CBD. Industrial growers who are interested in hemp fiber will focus on nurturing the stalks and leaves of the cannabis plant. However, growers who are looking to harvest hemp bud for its CBD will focus on nourishing and producing high-quality CBD flower.


New consumers that are unfamiliar with cannabis may immediately associate hemp with marijuana, although both hemp and marijuana originate from the same plant, their biological properties are different. Hemp and marijuana flower may look and smell similar, but their composition is what sets them apart.



Can You Smoke Hemp?

Yes, you can smoke hemp, but only the flower and sugar leaves are worth smoking because they contain most of the cannabinoids and terpenes. The flower and sugar leaves are where the majority of the trichomes form. The rest of the plant is not that useful for smoking purposes since there aren’t many cannabinoids in the fan leaves or stems and the seeds have zero cannabinoids. Cannabinoids provide the effects of the plant so smoking parts with little or no cannabinoids will have little to no effects.


Related: The Complete List of Cannabinoids in Cannabis

Consumers can smoke hemp in a pipe or water bong. You may also roll the hemp flower, like lifter CBD for example, up into smoking papers, and enjoy it that way. Remember, not all hemp is created equal! While smoking CBD hemp is recommended, industrial hemp used for fibers will not provide the same amount of benefits.



passing joints around



Can You Smoke Hemp Instead of Smoking Marijuana?

Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that helps our bodies maintain homeostasis. The ECS is the system with the most receptors throughout our bodies. Occasionally, our ECS can be out of sync due to environmental or internal changes. Both hemp and marijuana have cannabinoids and terpenes that may contribute to the balance of the ECS.


There are many similarities between hemp and marijuana because they are from the same plant genus. However, the biggest difference is the deal-breaker for many consumers. This difference is the psychoactive effect of THC. Hemp does not get you “high” the way that marijuana does, because it lacks the THC to do so. You can go about your day without feeling “high” when smoking hemp, although you can enjoy all the other benefits of cannabis. Marijuana has also been known to be a catalyst for paranoia and anxiety in some cases. However,  in comparison, hemp smokers have noticed they are more relaxed and calm.


Although there has been rapid legalization of marijuana in some states, others have not been as accepting. Federally, marijuana is still illegal even if your state has legalized it. Which is why you aren’t able to purchase marijuana online like you can with hemp products.



Anatomy of Cannabis

The anatomy of cannabis is quite interesting. Each part of the hemp plant has its own distinctive function that contributes to the essence of the plant. The complexities of each part work in harmony to bring maximum benefits.



The support structure of a hemp plant is the stem. It carries the nutrition from the soil to the rest of the plant. It also provides access for the fan leaves to receive light and aid growth.


Fan leaves

The fan leaves are the large leaves infamous for the cannabis sign. These leaves are essential for the plants to photosynthesize. However, the leaves are removed from the final product.



The flower is the most important part of the hemp plant for CBD enthusiasts. The flower, or buds, are what consumers purchase and smoke.


Sugar Leaves

The sugar leaves are nearly as valuable as the flower. They are scattered around the hemp bud. The sugar leaves and flowers are covered in trichomes, which store the majority of the cannabinoids and terpenes that give consumers therapeutic benefits.



The trichomes appear as tiny frosty flakes. This gives the bud a unique “sugar-coated” appearance. The main purpose of trichomes is to protect the flower from environmental changes and predators. This is also where almost all of the cannabinoids and terpenes are stored. The CBD flowers that are heavy with trichomes are the most desirable.



The small cola is at the end of a female plant’s stem, while the main cola is at the very top of the plant, also known as the apical bud. The cola is a combination of the sugar leaves, trichomes, and bracts. Many small floral clusters create it. When looking at a cola, most of the time, the bigger and heavier the cola is, the more trichome dense it is.



The female plants have bracts that surround their reproductive parts. They are composed of little leaves that protect the seed pod.



What Parts of the Hemp Plant Can You Smoke?

Hemp buds, or flower, and sugar leaves are the smokable parts of the plant. They are packed with cannabinoids and flavorful terpenes that contribute to the balance of the ECS. Many growers trim off most of the fan leaves because the flower provides the most flavor. Stems, seeds, and stalks are not as potent and do not contain the value of the trichomes.


Be sure to check the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for the hemp you will be ingesting. This way, you will be aware of the CBD and THC content of the flower. The higher the CBD content, the more potent the flower will be. No matter what company you decide to purchase your hemp or CBD from, keep in mind that without CoAs, you should not purchase their products!



Benefits of Smoking Hemp

Full-spectrum CBD hemp flowers are full of natural terpenes and cannabinoids, including less than 0.3% THC. The great thing about full-spectrum hemp flowers is that you can experience the entourage effect. The entourage effect is when all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis work together to provide the maximum form of benefit. Unlike with THC, when CBD is ingested it does not bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Instead, it stimulates our ECS to produce additional cannabinoids. In doing so, it assists the ECS in achieving homeostasis. The ECS regulates mood, stress, anxiety, digestion, inflammation, appetite, and more.


Related: Maintaining Homeostasis in the Human Body [Can CBD Have an Impact?]

flower buds and joints



How to Smoke Hemp

There are different ways to smoke hemp, and it is all based on your preference.  Many consumers love CBD hemp pre-rolls because they are 100% hassle-free. They are tightly packed, burn evenly, and you can enjoy them conveniently. Consumers may also purchase CBD hemp flower and roll their own joints!


Another way you can smoke hemp is by using a glass pipe. Consumers must grind up the hemp flower, place it into the bowl, and inhale as you light it. Also, another convenient way to inhale CBD is vaping. Vaping has gained large attraction in the last 5 years, because it allows you to inhale CBD without incinerating the flower. A vaporizer only heats the flower up enough to vaporize the cannabinoids so you can inhale them. Many consumers believe vaping is much healthier than smoking CBD. Finally, you can smoke hemp out of a water bong. Some believe that inhaling from a bong is smoother because the water helps to filter the smoke.


Using a water bong is a straightforward process. First, fill the bong up with enough water so that when you place the down stem in, it is submerged in water. Pack the bowl with your choice of hemp flower. Next, place your lips inside the mouthpiece, not around it. Light up your hemp flower and inhale enough to fill the chamber with smoke. Once the chamber is filled with smoke, remove the bowl and inhale the remnants until the chamber is cleared.



Conclusion – Can You Smoke Hemp?

To answer your initial question, yes, you can smoke hemp and CBD flower! With a wide variety of strains, you can be sure there is a flavor, or two, that you’ll like. Some more experienced consumers blend different strains together. With a bit of experience, you will be able to differentiate the different terpenes to see what your body needs. Of course, you will have to do a bit of research, but practice makes perfect, right?. Do a bit of research.