Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 2, 2023

Smoking marijuana is an old and classic way to enjoy cannabis and its many recreational and medical benefits. However, many don’t always enjoy the high and the occasional side effects that come with smoking marijuana, so they look for other ways to consume cannabis.

Enter CBD flower, cannabis’ non-psychoactive sibling. The interest in smoking CBD flowers for general wellness or medical reasons is increasing, as many are looking to consume cannabis without experiencing the mind-altering effects that are a consequence of smoking marijuana, while experiencing CBD’s health benefits. 

And as the awareness of the positive effects of CBD is spreading, an increasing number of people are choosing to smoke CBD flowers over other common CBD products, tinctures, vapes, edibles, topicals, etc.).

In this article, we’ll cover all about the CBD flower – from what it is and where it comes from, to the effects it has on the body. Let’s begin.

What Is CBD Flower

CBD flower is another name for the flowers of the female hemp plant. Also called hemp buds, CBD buds, and hemp flowers, they are a major source of CBD (cannabidiol). In fact, the hemp plant naturally contains a high CBD and low THC content (tetrahydrocannabinol), making it unable to produce any psychoactive effects.

In this sense, the hemp plant is different from the marijuana plant. They both belong to the cannabis plant genus, but they are different varieties. Hemp belongs to the industrial variety of the Cannabis sativa species, while marijuana can belong either to the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica varieties, or both if it’s a hybrid strain. 

What Other Compounds Does the CBD Hemp Flower Contain?

Apart from CBD and THC, the industrial hemp plant not only has an abundance of many other cannabinoids, like CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol), but also many terpenes (pinene, limonene) and flavonoids that are responsible for the flavor and aroma of the plant. Most of these compounds are found in the sticky resin that covers the flowers.

However, the hemp plant wasn’t always so abundant in cannabinoids. As it’s one of the oldest domesticated plants, in the past it was bred primarily for the seeds and fibers and used for making industrial materials. Nowadays, hemp growers cultivate many different CBD-rich hemp strains with versatile flavonoid and terpene profiles that result in many interesting combinations that provide different effects.

Is Hemp Legal?

With the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp that was bred to contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight was legalized under federal law in the United States. This meant that the cultivation of various hemp strains and the production of CBD-infused products became an ordinary agricultural commodity.

Smoking CBD Flower – What Are the Effects of CBD?

The one thing nearly every CBD flower connoisseur will tell you is that smoking hemp flowers will provide a soothing relaxation. In fact, this is what CBD is famous for. Many people smoke hemp flowers when they want to unwind after a stressful day.

However, the feelings of relaxation you get from CBD are different from the effects you get from the THC in marijuana. CBD flower relaxes you without being intoxicating and/or impairing your senses or causing euphoria.

You feel mellowed out and calm, but still completely present. Depending on the CBD strain, some can make you feel more at ease and less tense, some strains can make you feel more sleepy, while others can make you more energetic.

Whatever hemp strain you choose, what’s really great about smoking CBD flowers is that you get to experience the full spectrum effects of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the flower. They work together in synergy to enhance the full effect of the flower, a phenomenon also known as the “entourage effect.” This means that together they work more effectively than either of them on its own.

The Health Benefits of CBD Flower

CBD is a multifaceted compound that can be used to treat the symptoms of a variety of conditions. Its calming effects can help soothe depression and anxiety and improve your mood. Some people also use it to treat symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Its anti-inflammatory effects are especially helpful for treating chronic pain and reducing muscle inflammation related to strenuous activities. Additionally, it’s also able to help joint inflammation as a result of arthritis and can calm down an irritated gastrointestinal tract that exacerbates the symptoms of IBDs (inflammatory bowel diseases) like Crohn’s disease.

CBD Flower Has a High Bioavailability

Bioavailability refers to the successful absorption of a particular substance in the body before it gets broken down so it’s able to deliver its effects. When a substance has a high bioavailability, it means it’s able to be absorbed quickly and more successfully than substances with low bioavailability. The bioavailability of CBD largely depends on the mode of consumption.

For example, orally taken CBD products like edibles and capsules have a lower bioavailability, meaning the CBD doesn’t get fully absorbed in the bloodstream because a big part of it gets broken down in the digestive system.

CBD tinctures and CBD oils have higher bioavailability because they’re usually taken sublingually (below the tongue) which allows them to be better absorbed with minimal loss of content.

The CBD flower also has a very high bioavailability as the smoke from the joint enters the lungs directly, and from there it has immediate access to the bloodstream. This makes it fast-acting and it only takes about 15-20 minutes to start feeling the effects.

The only downside to smoking is that some CBD content will get lost due to the heat, but if you want to avoid this, you can also vape CBD flowers. Vaping is very similar to smoking, but it doesn’t combust the plant material.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Unlike the side effects of THC, CBD can rarely cause any adverse effects when dosed properly. These can usually happen when the individual is sensitive to the cannabinoid or due to overconsumption. CBD side effects include gastrointestinal issues, nausea, and irritability.

However, CBD can react with certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners. If you’re taking any regular therapy, you should consult with a healthcare professional before you decide to smoke a hemp flower.

Bottom Line – Should You Smoke CBD Flower?

Smoking a CBD flower is one of the best ways to consume CBD. The hemp plant is not only abundant in various types of cannabinoids and other compounds, but it’s also rich in nutrients in and of itself, so it’s no wonder its popularity is rising. Plus, you get all the therapeutic benefits without getting high, which can be great for people who don’t like the feeling or just like to avoid THC for whatever reason.

Picking a high-quality strain, though, would be the most important thing when you consume a CBD flower. You should always go to a trusted dispensary, and even if you buy pre-rolls and not a baggie, always make sure to do your research on hemp strains beforehand and talk to the budtender about your needs. They should be able to help you pick the best CBD strain for your particular needs, and the only thing left to do would be for you to enjoy it.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.