CBD flowers are readily available in specialist shops/pharmacies and online and are one of the most accessible ways to enjoy the benefits of CBD. They can be smoked, ground to use in a dry herb vaporizer, and used in cooking.
Like anything that comes in a wide range of varieties, knowing how to choose the best CBD flowers can be overwhelming. To be sure you get the best quality, the right level of potency, the safest product, and the best value for money, there are various factors to consider. These include the product description which might contain some technical details including the level of THC content and cultivation methods, and it is also worth looking at customer reviews when choosing a CBD flower for sale.
The way the flowers look is the first indication of the quality of the product – like most things. You can apply the same principles to CBD flowers as you do to fresh fruit and flowers. The usual color of CBD flowers is green – if they are brown, stay clear as like fruit and flowers, this is a red flag. The shade of green runs the full gamut from pale yellowish-green through pea green to lush dark grass green.
Like fresh cut flowers, CBD flowers should be a healthy cluster of dense, well-trimmed buds. A very good sign is the visual presence of frosty crystals as these are the trichomes that contain the active ingredients.
One thing to watch for is what is known as “shake”. Shake is really nothing more than debris. It is usually what is left in the bottom of the bag and rather than being nice, whole flowers, it is loose buds, and petals, stalks and leaves. Although it will essentially do the same job, albeit slightly less effectively, you should never pay full price for a bag of shake.
Obviously, it is easier to inspect aroma when buying in a store rather than online. However, because it is an important feature and a criteria of purchase, online retailers will generally do their best to convey the smell in their product description.
The best flowers will show their quality in their pungent odor. They will smell similar to cannabis and the strength of the perfume will depend on the quantity of the flavonoids – such as terpene and CBD - that the flowers contain. The odor can vary quite significantly. The base will always be the same but there could be fruity, citrus-y, piney, earthy, sweet or sour notes.
If you’re buying in store, it’s not unreasonable to ask the clerk to pinch the flower you’re interested in to release its smell for you to sample.
Reputable CBD /hemp flower companies will underline their quality by publishing the lab test results of their products. Testing is best undertaken by an accredited third-party laboratory in accordance with the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The results should be recent – results of two+ years old are not so relevant to the batch you might be buying.
Test results will indicate that flowers were cultivated in line with best practice and will display how much CBD the plant contains in the cannabinoid profile. The tests will also pick up whether extra ingredients or additives are in the mix and it is also important to check the section detailing the heavy metal and contaminant analysis.
The test results will also include a “cannabinoid profile”. This analysis details the content of the various cannabinoids in the flower expressed as percentages. The two key things to look at are CBD and THC.
The legal limit for THC is 0.3 per cent. Anything above that is not only illegal but will make you high. The better quality CBD flowers will have negligible amounts of THC.
CBD content ranges from 7 to 25 per cent. As a beginner user, it is advisable to stick to strains with lower CBD percentages, gradually moving up the scale with experience.
After reading reviews, checking the appearance and aroma, and reading the lab reports, it will come down to a matter of personal taste. You may need to try a few different flowers until you find one to suit your taste.