There are so many variables to look at when it comes to judging the quality of hemp flower. Just like with regular cannabis with high levels of THC, growing a premium product is no easy feat.
While growers must start off with reliable seed genetics, they also need to know a lot about feeding and protecting their plants, as well as harvesting, trimming, drying and curing. Any one of these done incorrectly can be the difference between good hemp flowers and ditch weed.
And now with so many new growers turning to smokable hemp flower since the legalization of hemp in 2018, being able to recognize good bud from bad is essential to an enjoyable experience with hemp flower.
This article will break down exactly what you need to know about what makes a good hemp flower.
It ain’t you grandfather’s hemp
Until a year or two ago, you’d be laughed at for trying to smoke hemp. After all, it’s traditionally only be grown for industrial purposes like rope, textiles and paper. Plus, it doesn’t even get you high as it has no THC – the main psychoactive component of cannabis!
However, that’s all changed.
After the 2018 Farm Bill was signed off by the president late last year, hemp became federally legal. That happened to coincide with a global interest in CBD – the second most common cannabinoid is cannabis, and one that has many health benefits despite its lack of strong psychoactivity.
You see, while THC is restricted by law to 0.3% in US hemp (or 0.2% in most EU countries), there are currently no limits on CBD. And that is what led farmers to start cultivating high-grade smokeable hemp buds that look just like regular illegal cannabis, only it doesn’t get you high in the same way.
What we now have is hundreds of hemp farms selectively breeding these CBD-rich hemp varieties for the purpose of smoking. And the quality of their products are getting better and better. Although the industry is indeed very new, a lot of growing techniques from THC-rich cannabis can be applied to hemp – like growing in greenhouses, using specific nutrients, and knowledge of curing and trimming.
This results in better looking hemp buds with higher terpene and cannabinoids contents. To be sure, there are a number of products out there that are comparable with top-shelf cannabis you may find in a dispensary. There’s also plenty that comes nowhere near that quality, however.
Which brings us to…
How to know high quality hemp flower
When it comes to finding the very best quality hemp flower, it’s important to look for a number of different things. They include:
You want your hemp flower to be well-structured. That means reasonable dense and chunky. Ideally, you also want to see plenty of trichome coverage on the bud. Trichomes are the crystal-like structures that contain cannabinoids and terpenes, so they’re vitally important to a good product.
Additionally, notice if there are any small leaves protruding from the bud. While sugar leaves are often coated in trichomes, they can make the smoke a bit harsher than usual. Most people prefer a close trim-job and as little leaf as possible. Hand-trimmed usually means it’s going to be better than machine-trimmed.
Some companies sell ‘smalls’, which consists of the smallest nugs that are left at the end of a batch. These can still be of great quality and can represent great value, but make sure you have tried the strain before and like it as you won’t learn much from just looking at them.
Terpenes are the smelly compounds that give plants like cannabis their aromas. They are of utmost importance when it comes to cannabis as they can have profound effects on how the bud smells, tastes, and even impacts the consumer.
Some terpenes are uplifting, for example, while some are sedating. You can terpenes and their effects so that you can choose a strain based on its supposed effects.
As soon as you open your package that contains the hemp flower, you want to be able to sense those terpenes shooting straight up your nose. This implies they are plentiful and haven’t degraded. Proper curing will boost the aroma of hemp flower.
Terpenes can also contribute to the taste of hemp flower. Flavonoids do too. While different hemp flower strains can have wildly different tastes, you really want a smoke that is smooth and flavorful. Anything that is harsh to inhale or lacks flavor indicates something is amiss.
A good hemp flower should have you feeling relaxed, calm, and content. CBD is a powerful anxiolytic (anxiety-reliever) and has a tremendous ability to stem negative thought patterns. If you don’t feel like tranquil after consuming some hemp flower, it might not be any good.
No one should be feeling jittery or anxious after using hemp. This is a big red flag for something not being right with the product. It could even have higher levels of THC than stated.
Third-party lab reports are the most trusted way of knowing exactly what’s in a hemp flower product. These can confirm not only the CBD content, but also the presence of any minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and pesticide/contaminant content.
Not all farmers will get all these things tested, but the more they have done the better. As you will be consuming these buds in some way or another, knowing it has been tested thoroughly can give you invaluable peace of mind.
Customer reviews are so helpful when it comes to knowing good hemp flower from bad. There a number of forums, youtubers and bloggers out there providing up-to-date reviews on hemp flower. Read or watch as many as you can on a certain strain so that you can get a good idea of what to expect.
There are a few good subreddits that are very useful for finding valuable information on companies and their products.
You know the saying, if it seems too good to be true… it probably is. Therefore, rock bottom prices of hemp flower will probably indicate a sub-par product. While this is not always the case, expect a premium product to come with a premium price tag.
There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to finding high-quality hemp flower. While food genetics are integral, growing techniques and after-harvest practices are just as important.
Follow this guide and you’ll soon have your hands on the best hemp around. Don’t forget the best available CBD flowers, are reserved to the subscribers of the CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter, where you can find weekly product recommendations, exclusive deals and limited time offers.