Ultimate Guide to CBD Flower: Benefits and Side Effects

Nug and Marijuana Oil on Plate

There’s no question about it: CBD is on the rise. What began as a fringe movement is now decidedly mainstream; by 2022, Statista predicts that the CBD market will contribute over $1.8 billion to the U.S. economy. Since CBD sales only accounted for just over $100 million in 2014, this more than 1,500% projected increase over the course of eight short years is nothing short of astonishing.

Here at CBGenius, we’ve been keeping track of the evolution of the CBD market with some interest, and there’s one trend in the explosively-growing CBD industry that we find highly intriguing: increased emphasis on CBD flower. Maybe it has been spurred by the recent increase in the availability of medical and recreational marijuana buds around the country, or maybe it’s due to the increased popularity of CBD in general, but whatever the driver of this trend might be, it’s clear that CBD hemp flower is rapidly becoming a major force that will shape the future of the CBD industry.

However, what exactly is CBD flower, and is smoking CBD flower safe? As providers of the most science-backed and high-quality CBD oil and CBD-rich hemp oil products on the market, we want to know more about CBD flower just as much as you do, which is why we’ve compiled this ultimate guide to CBD flower and its benefits, side effects, and potential alternatives.

What Is High-CBD Hemp?

High-CBD hemp is essentially marijuana without the THC. According to Phys.org, hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis sativa; the difference between these plant products is largely semantic, and it stems from the fact that Cannabis sativa with high levels of THC is treated differently legally than cannabis with THC levels of 0.3% or lower.

According to most state and federal authorities, cannabis is considered to be “industrial hemp” when it contains THC concentrations of 0.3% or lower. The term “industrial hemp” comes from a variety of state-level hemp research programs that have been ongoing for decades, which the federal government wished to sanction by giving this research a degree of separation from the DEA’s Schedule I status for marijuana.

Incidentally, removing THC from marijuana has various side benefits that extend beyond the merely legal. While THC is psychoactive, which means it produces a noticeable “high,” CBD is not, which allows users of low-THC cannabis to enjoy the incredible potential benefits of Cannabis sativa without enduring mind-altering side effects.

Small hemp plant growing outdoors in a field
Are hemp nugs set to disrupt a $1.8 billion industry?

High-CBD Hemp in the CBD Industry

Most CBD oil is derived from the terpene-rich glands of mature, flowering Cannabis sativa plants that have low levels of THC. By ensuring their products contain less than 0.3 percent THC, CBD manufacturers can avoid having their wares classified as marijuana, which is still a tightly-controlled federal illegal substance even though many states have legalized its sale and use for adults.

CBD manufacturers are, therefore, highly familiar with high-CBD, low-THC hemp, and some producers have even decided to sell this plant substance without processing it into oil or other concentrates. As long as CBD bud contains less than 0.3 percent THC, it’s considered to be industrial hemp, and it’s therefore eligible for general market sale under certain strict conditions. However, there are several issues with hemp flower CBD nugs that might make this CBD ingestion method inferior to others.

CBD Oil vs. CBD Flower

While CBD oil is the concentrated, extracted version of the CBD found in high-CBD hemp, CBD flower is simply the dried, trimmed, and processed high-CBD hemp itself. There are two main forms of CBD oil:

1. Isolate CBD Oil

Isolate CBD oil consists of the cannabidiol molecule isolated from all the other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found in high-CBD cannabis. One seminal Israeli study1 found that isolate CBD loses its efficacy at higher doses, and there may be other problems with isolate CBD as well.

2. Full-Spectrum CBD-Rich Hemp Oil

Full-spectrum hemp oil is CBD oil with all the terpenes and cannabinoids found in high-CBD cannabis intact. Together, these cannabinoids and terpenes manifest a synergistic phenomenon called the entourage effect, which makes CBD and the other constituent parts of full-spectrum hemp oil more powerful than they would be alone.

Eyedropper bottle and cannabis nug with heart-shaped ring of cannabis oil on a plate
Which is better: CBD oil or CBD flower?

CBD Oil and CBD Flower: Top Differences

While CBD flower can only be smoked, vaped, or cooked into food, there are dozens of different ways to administer CBD oil. If you want to use CBD without any of its associated terpenes and cannabinoids, however, your only choice is to use isolate CBD oil; CBD bud naturally contains trace amounts of THC, CBN, CBG, limonene, and dozens of other compounds.

CBD-rich hemp oil and CBD isolate are also far more discrete and easy to use than CBD flower. While the CBD-rich cannabis that’s legal for sale on the general market contains less than 0.3% THC, it still smells just like weed, which could get you in trouble with authorities who don’t know the difference. CBD oil, however, is practically odorless, and it comes in airtight containers that look just like the tinctures, vape cartridges, or beauty products you’d buy at your local vape shack or high-end natural foods store.

Quick Hemp Flower CBD Facts

  1. In 2018, Congress voted to remove CBD from the DEA’s definition of marijuana, which means that CBD is no longer a Schedule I controlled substance.
  2. Many states, including Florida, Kansas, and Indiana, have voted to make cannabis products containing less than 0.3% THC eligible for general market sale.
  3. Since hemp flower with high CBD contains negligible amounts of THC, it isn’t addictive, and it doesn’t cause serious side effects.
  4. Wild cannabis contains a lot more CBD than cultivated cannabis. That’s because humans have selectively bred cannabis for millennia to contain as much THC as possible.
Plasma globe with electrical arcs
Will CBD flower blow your mind or leave you hanging?

What Are the Top CBD Flower Effects?

Unlike smoking pot, smoking or vaping CBD flower won’t make you feel paranoid or high. However, this CBD administration method might have several immediately noticeable effects or effects that you gradually notice over a matter of minutes.

Immediately after vaping or smoking CBD hemp flower, you might feel a sense of relaxation. You may also notice reduced levels of depression and anxiety, and your mood might improve gently but dramatically. Smoking CBD bud might also reduce your pain levels.

While your improved mood and relaxation might cause a momentary decrease in fatigue, keep in mind that one of the few common side effects of CBD is fatigue. Therefore, you might start to feel tired an hour or so after smoking CBD bud.

Science-Based CBD Flower Benefits

Research has uncovered a wide variety of potential benefits of CBD, and the benefits of smoking CBD flower may be unique compared to other ways of ingesting this cannabinoid:

1. Quick Action

Inhalation, which science nerds call “pulmonary administration,” is the fastest way to introduce a substance into your system aside from injecting it. The moment you inhale a substance into your lungs, millions of tiny alveoli start transferring that substance’s active ingredients into your blood. Therefore, vaping or smoking CBD flower might provide faster benefits than other methods of ingesting CBD.

2. Potential Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

According to scientific research, CBD could be a potent anti-inflammatory compound4. Science has already discovered that many diseases are related to inflammation, and some researchers suspect that inflammation might be the primary cause of every single disease3.

3. Potential Cognitive and Mood Benefits

CBD appears to be a profoundly effective tool for treating epilepsy4; the FDA even approved a synthetic CBD analogue called Epidiolex for epilepsy treatment. Additionally, CBD seems to reduce anxiety5, mitigate depression6, and even curtail the symptoms of schizophrenia7.

What Is the Optimal Hemp Flower CBD Concentration?

The optimal CBD concentration in CBD flower depends on your needs. If you want a mild hit of CBD whenever you vape or smoke, you might prefer a CBD hemp flower strain with less than 10% CBD. If you’d prefer to experience the effects of CBD at full throttle, however, a strain with more than 10% would be appropriate. Keep in mind that the maximum CBD concentration in any hemp flower strain is around 18-20%.

B&W image of woman smoking cannabis joint
Smoking CBD is still smoking

Are There Any CBD Flower Side Effects?

Now that you know more about the alleged benefits of CBD flower and how much CBD flower you should use, it’s important to learn about the potential side effects of smoking CBD flower that might make you rethink this application method:

1. General Mild Side Effects of CBD

While CBD is remarkably well-tolerated in human subjects8, it does have a mild side effect profile. Common side effects of CBD include tiredness or fatigue, dry mouth, and diarrhea.

2. Pulmonary Disease

Smoking CBD flower can cause pulmonary disease just as easily as smoking weed or cigarettes. Any time you inhale burnt plant material, you introduce substances into your lungs that have no business being there, and your body bears the brunt of your decision.

3. Cardiovascular Disease

Smoking anything, including CBD-rich hemp flower, also increases your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. When you smoke CBD flower, you’re more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke.

4. Tooth Decay

Inhaling smoke into your mouth can make your teeth yellow whether you’re smoking marijuana, CBD-rich hemp, or tobacco. Smoking a lot can also increase your chances of developing cavities and other serious forms of tooth decay.

Is Smoking CBD Flower Safe?

The potential benefits of hemp flower CBD are impressive, but is CBD flower safe? We’ve already covered the potential side effects of CBD flower, but the full story of CBD flower’s safety runs much deeper than mere side effects.

1. How Is CBD Flower Grown?

Growing hemp or cannabis isn’t as easy as putting a seed in any old patch of ground and watching it grow. The safety of CBD flower is directly tied to the cultivation methods the grower followed and the production methods the CBD flower company used to make the final product.

2. Is CBD Flower Lab Tested?

CBD flower is, well, a plant, and as such, it’s prone to mold, fungus, pests, and a variety of other problems that could compromise your health. Plus, by getting CBD flower that’s lab tested, you’re ensuring that you’re getting the right concentrations of CBD and THC for your needs.

Drug test in bottle of urine
Will smoking CBD flower get you in trouble?

CBD Flower Drug Test Information

CBD flower is unlikely to cause any drug test issues. THC in concentrations lower than 0.3% shouldn’t meet the threshold that urinalysis and other drug tests use to detect the presence of illegal drugs in your system, but you should still err on the side of caution and use isolate CBD if you need to take drug tests regularly.

Where Can I Buy CBD Flower Near Me?

If you’re on the hunt for legal CBD flower, you have a lot of options. Searching for “CBD near me” in Google or your favorite search engine comes up with more options than ever, but some types of CBD bud are better than others. Learn more about how to buy CBD flower without any regrets:

1. Medical or Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries

Certain medical or recreational marijuana shops in states that have legalized weed may offer high-CBD flower. However, most of the CBD flower offered in these shops contains THC levels much higher than 0.3%, which could cause undesirable effects.

2. General Market Retailers

Some general market retailers may offer CBD flower for sale. However, CBD flower isn’t as popular in the general market as other CBD products, which means your access to product variety might be curtailed. Plus, who knows how long that retailer has had that jar of CBD bud on the shelf.

3. Get CBD Flower Online

Buying CBD flower online is probably your best option. There’s a lot more CBD flower online than there is in state-sanctioned cannabis shops or general market retailers, but watch out: Tons of CBD flower retailers online have no business being in business, so it’s important to thoroughly vet your retailer and your flower before you go to your cart and click “Place Order.”

Is TKO CBD Hemp Flower Good?

If you’ve spent any time researching CBD flower, you’ve probably come across endless offers to buy TKO CBD bud. While this brand of CBD nugs is undeniably popular, is TKO CBD all it’s cracked up to be?

While TKO claims to be a premium CBD flower brand, there’s no guarantee that the buds this brand offers are as high-quality as the marketing claims make them out to be. In fact, there’s hardly any information on this brand or its buds on the internet; even the company’s official website provides practically zero information on its values, processes, or team, and what you can learn about TKO from its main site isn’t that promising.

Apparently, TKO was started as a medical marijuana operation on Washington and Oregon in 2010, and these days, it carries on growing and selling CBD bud. It’s unclear, however, why so many shady websites sell TKO bud, and there’s no way to guarantee that buying these nugs isn’t against the law.

The fact that TKO started out as a medical marijuana operation is concerning. As we’ve covered, most medical pot shops sell CBD flower that has high concentrations of THC, which could get you in trouble if you purchase it across state lines or if you live in a state where medical or recreational marijuana isn’t legal.

Lastly, there’s no information on whether TKO bud is lab tested or how much CBD it contains. What we can say, however, is that the CBD in TKO bud is definitely full-spectrum; in fact, it might contain more THC than the law allows.

CBGenius CBD-rich hemp oil tincture
Save your lungs and give tincture a try

Are There Any Alternatives to CBD Flower?

Even the best CBD flower can be a hassle. While you might love having the option of smoking or vaping CBD the exact way that nature intended, grinding, smoking, and vaporizing CBD can get old quickly when you know that there are easier and better ways of ingesting CBD out there. Here are some of the top alternatives to CBD flower you might want to consider:

1. Prefilled CBD Vape Cartridges

Let’s face it; vape pens designed for cannabis flower have notoriously poor performance, and you can’t carry your plug-in vape rig with you wherever you go. CBD vape cartridges, however, fit right into your favorite PG/VG vape pen, and they contain CBD that’s already optimized to vaporize without any issues.

2. Isolate CBD or CBD-Rich Hemp Oil Tinctures

While it might seem that tinctures can’t compete with the quick-hitting nature of smoking or vaping, that’s just not the case. There’s a simple trick that all tincture lovers learn after a while: sublingual administration. By holding your tincture under your tongue before you swallow it, you give your body time to absorb CBD directly into your bloodstream through the highly permeable membrane underneath your tongue. Isolate CBD or hemp oil tinctures can provide the best of both worlds; sublingual administration delivers a quick hit, and swallowing then allows CBD to slowly permeate your digestive system for a delayed release effect.

3. Topical CBD Lotion

If you’re trying to treat pain or discomfort in a specific area of your body, smoking CBD flower will amount to little more than beating around the bush. Carefully formulated CBD topicals, on the other hand, may be able to help athletes and average people excel in their physical activities and overcome chronic pain.

Why Science-Based CBD Hemp Is Best

For too long, the world of cannabis has remained under the tyranny of amateurs and criminals. It’s high time that science takes the wheel of the hemp industry, and here at CBGenius, we’re bringing in the new scientific age of CBD in style.

With so much evidence for the science-backed benefits of CBD available, there’s no need to speculate, deprive consumers of information, or aggressively push untested products with greed as the only motivator. Our team of scientists and entrepreneurs is driven by a genuine love for CBD and an interest in spreading awareness and enjoyment of this cannabinoid’s unique effects. That’s why we’ll never compromise our principles by hiding or obfuscating facts; CBD is strong enough to stand on its own two feet, and we’re just here to provide this amazing hemp derivative with a vehicle for reaching the masses.

It’s our goal to answer any questions you may have, so if anything’s nagging at you at the end of this comprehensive guide, please feel free to give us a shout. More information on potential CBD flower benefits is coming out every day, so make sure to count on CBGenius as your preferred source of news on everything CBD.


  1. Overcoming the Bell‐Shaped Dose‐Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol
  2. Cannabidiol as an Emergent Therapeutic Strategy for Lessening the Impact of Inflammation on Oxidative Stress
  3. The inflammation theory of disease
  4. Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?
  5. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug.
  6. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa.
  7. Medical use of cannabis. Cannabidiol: a new light for schizophrenia?
  8. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies