What is Hemp?
Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant that is often cultivated for agricultural purposes such as food, cooking oils, paper, textiles, insulation, and animal feed.
Cannabis Sativa is most commonly known for another infamous strain called Marijuana. Unlike marijuana, hemp does not contain high quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of weed. In fact, by law hemp must contain less than .3% THC by weight in order to be considered hemp and not marijuana.
To put this in perspective low quality street marijuana contains 5-10% THC by weight, and medical marijuana distributed by a licensed dispensary can contain upwards of 20% THC by weight.
Hemp, on the other hand, is primarily sought for its CBD content. Read more about CBD vs THC here.
What are Hemp Buds?
Hemp budsare also known as the aerial parts of the cannabis plant, and are also called hemp flowers. Hemp buds sprout in dense clusters referred to as a “cola,” which typically grows at the tip of the hemp stalk.
Hemp buds are covered in hairy trichomes which produce aromatic oils, called terpenes, and cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These compounds probably evolved to ward off pests such as insects and fungus. However, the compounds produced by hemp buds are hormetic for humans and other animals resulting in a variety of benefits and therapeutic effects.
To the naked eye, hemp buds look exactly like Marijuana – the crucial difference is that hemp buds will not get you high. This is because hemp buds only contain trace amounts of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the “drug” in marijuana and the only reason it causes psychoactive effects. Without THC these buds look, smell, and taste the same but don’t cause inebriation.
What are Hemp Buds Used For?
Industrial hemp can utilize the whole plant to produce fibers and textiles. Therefore, the only reason to separate hemp buds from the rest of the plant is because hemp buds contain a higher concentration of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes.
CBD is used to promote homeostasis – or a state of balance for bodily systems. CBD can help improve mood, reduce inflammation, lower pain, ease stomach ache and nausea, and improve sleep.
How to Use CBD Hemp Buds
Hemp buds can be used to dose yourself with CBD in a variety of ways.
The most common method is to smoke hemp buds. You can do this by rolling a joint or by purchasing a pipe. I prefer a glass pipe so that I don’t inhale burning paper or metal residues.
Smoking provides nearly instant relief as well as the full entourage effect from all of the plants medicinal compounds such as terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids. However, inhaling smoke is not good for your lungs and the effects of smoking wear off more quickly than other methods of ingesting hemp byproducts.
Vaping hemp is another common method that also provides nearly instant relief but without smoke in the lungs. You can buy vape pens that are designed to take buds or oils instead of vape juice.
Another common method is to make edibles. Most of the goodies in hemp dissolve in fats so the best way to make an edible is to grind the hemp buds up into melted butter and cook it for a long time in a double boiler.
Can you get high from Hemp?
Industrial hemp contains very low quantities of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound in marijuana that gets people high.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis. Marijuana is also a variety of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis plants contain cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
THC is mostly found in marijuana and is responsible for the high users feel when consuming marijuana.
Hemp contains primarily CBD and most CBD oil products on the market are made from hemp buds not marijuana flowers.
CBD differs from THC in that it is not intoxicating. CBD is often referred to as “non-psychoactive” but this isn’t exactly right.
CBD can alter the state of mind of one who consumes it but it will not be intoxicating in the same way as someone who uses THC to get high. For the same reason, smoking hemp buds won’t show up on a drug test.
CBD can affect one’s mood, anxiety, or mental state. But it is not known for getting people high. So that is why I prefer to call it non-intoxicating as opposed to non-psychoactive. I have a whole blog post about getting high from CBD if you’d like to check it out.
Many people use CBD oil to relax and decrease their anxiety. So, it can have an effect on one’s mind, just not in a “high” or intoxicating sort of way.
Is Hemp Legal?
The short answer is yes, hemp is legal.
But it’s not completely unregulated. Not just anyone can grow hemp. It’s more like alcohol and tobacco except that permits are issued by the Department of Agriculture instead of the ATF.
The 2014 Farm Bill made it legal to cultivate cannabis sativa for “research” or under a state approved agricultural program, provided the THC content of the hemp was lower than .3% on a dry weight basis.
On April 12, 2018, the United States Senate added Section 2667 to the Farm Bill, otherwise known as the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. This act defines industrial hemp as “Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
This language is important because it goes a step further than the 2014 legislation by explicitly recognizing extracts and cannabinoids derived from the plant. The 2018 legislation also completely removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.
Violation of the requirements set out by the USDA can come with steep fines. Any hemp producer flagged for more than 3 violations within 5 years will be ineligible for a hemp growing license for 5 years.
Where can I buy CBD Hemp Buds?
I picked up my first bag of hemp buds when on vacation in New Hampshire. The brand I purchased was from Northeast Kingdom Hemp and I bought an ounce for $60. You can buy it from their website at www.nekhemp.comYou can also check your local vape shop.
Why Buy Hemp Buds?
Although high quality CBD oil tinctures are my favorite way of consuming hemp extracts there are a lot of fake CBD oils and bad quality products on the market. That’s because it’s impossible for the average consumer to really know what’s in the bottle. With hemp buds, what you see is pretty much what you get. It’s hard to go wrong buying hemp flower.
Just make sure you decarboxylate your hemp to get the most CBD and other cannabinoids out of it!