Flower has always been the king of cannabis. Since the days when explorers first found landrace strains growing on the sides of mountains and in wild fields, people have used cannabis flower both medically and recreationally.
A whole industry has been built on it, and from it, we’ve gotten innovation in new weed consumables. Cannabis flower has now turned into dabs, edibles, vape pens, and even topicals.
Here’s what you should know about cannabis flower, and how to consume it.
Flower has always been the king of cannabis.
Cannabis, weed, hemp, and marijuana—what’s what?
Cannabis is a pretty broad term at this point. Some people still use it interchangeably with hemp and marijuana, because they are all the same species of plant.
Cannabis vs hemp
Though the same species, the terms cannabis and hemp differ by legality. Hemp is federally legal. Cannabis is federally prohibited, but either medically legal or legal for adult use in most states.
Hemp is defined as any cannabis with less than 0.3% THC content. Once it is over 0.3% THC, the government calls the plant cannabis/marijuana.
From hemp, you can get all kinds of cannabinoids, because it is cannabis. The majority of CBD products you see online are hemp-derived, not cannabis-derived. The same goes for synthetic cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC.
Hemp products and cannabis products are not the same in effects. Hemp products tend to be extremely light and somewhat non-intoxicating because they lack enough THC, the cannabinoid that gets you high.
So if you’re looking for the full range of psychoactive sensations, then you need cannabis.
Weed vs marijuana
Weed is simply a nickname for cannabis. Writer Herbert Fuego suggests it originated in the 1930s.
Marijuana is an extremely outdated term with a problematic, racist history. Though internet search engines still crave it, the word is truly becoming obsolete. Cannabis, hemp, and weed are the most reasonable terms for the plant today.
Cannabis vs Cannabis Flower
Cannabis and cannabis flower are used interchangeably as slang.
Technically speaking, cannabis is the broad umbrella of the plant itself, and any products that come from it. Cannabis flower refers to the nugs in the jars. These nugs are cut off from cannabis plant stalks and trimmed off their fan/sugar leaves.
Cannabis flower is the raw plant form of cannabis. Cannabis flower is manufactured into the dabs, edibles, and vape pens we use.
The effects of cannabis flowerThe effects of cannabis flower get you high. But what exactly does that mean?
Getting high refers to the euphoria you feel after consuming cannabis. It can feel a variety of ways. Most of the time, the effects fall under two generalized umbrellas: uplifted and relaxed.
Underneath these umbrellas, you find a world of nuances, which means the effects we all feel from cannabis are completely subjective.
They are based on our physical makeup, experience with cannabis, and the way the plant’s compounds make our body’s endocannabinoid systems react. If you smoke the same amount of weed with a friend, y’all might still feel two completely different degrees of high.
Premium cannabis flower has high amounts of flavor and potency.
How does cannabis flower get you high?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the active ingredient in cannabis that produces psychoactive effects. The high we feel from cannabis comes from THC.
The specific types of highs we feel are guided by a cannabis strain’s terpene profile. Terpenes are the plant compounds responsible for the way a strain smells, tastes, and potentially feels.
THC and terpenes live inside a cannabis flower’s trichomes. Trichomes are the sticky white crystals on your flower. Inside those trichomes also lie the other cannabinoids, like CBD, CBG, and CBN.
Examples of terpenes, which can be broken into monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, include limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene, and linalool.
The more you consume cannabis, the higher your tolerance level becomes. The higher your tolerance level, the higher concentration of THC you’ll need to get stoned.
This is why many people evolve from cannabis flower to cannabis concentrates. Concentrates have a higher percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes than cannabis flower.
The types of cannabis flower
Cannabis flower is broken into three types: indicas, sativas, and hybrids.
There are landrace strains that grow naturally in the wild. These were the original sativas and indicas. Over time, these strains were bred together by cannabis breeders to give us the world of hybrids that sit on dispensary shelves today.
Historically, indicas have been thought to be calming, sleepy, relaxing types of cannabis flowers. Sativas have been regarded as the uplifting, energetic, alert types of cannabis flowers. Hybrids have been thought of as the happy medium between the two.
The truth is that indica, sativa, and hybrid cannabis flower types don’t define effects; they just refer to the way the plant grows, and the genetics that were used to create it.
Indica plants grow short and bushy, and generally prefer a cooler, more continental type of climate. Black Truffle, Grape Sorbet, and Peach Gelato are great indicas.
Sativa plants grow tall and lanky in structure. They prefer warm, humid, Mediterranean types of climates. Generally, sativas take longer to produce than indicas and hybrids. Push Pop and Sunshine are examples of great sativa strains.
Hybrids can grow in a variety of different structures and within a variety of different atmospheres. It all depends on their genetics. Blue Burst, Pink Acai, and Rainbow Sherbet are great hybrid strains.
Cannabis flower comes in three types: indicas, sativas, and hybrids.
Premium flower and the best strains of weed
If you walk into a dispensary, you’ll see different sections of products, a lot of times broken down by price. That top shelf is often reserved for the best products in the store. Top shelf cannabis is also called premium cannabis.
Premium cannabis is defined by many factors like the look, feel, smell, taste, burn, cleanliness, and overall, how it smokes. Cannabis that surpasses quality standards in all of these areas is premium.
Premium cannabis flower has high amounts of flavor and potency. If it doesn’t taste good and punch with long-lasting effects, it is not premium cannabis. This all comes down to how well the cannabis was grown, and more importantly, how it was dried and cured.
How to consume cannabis flower and the best strains of weed
There are so many ways to consume cannabis flower. They are not strain-dependent, and instead, simply based on how you like to use the plant.
That said, some methods, such as tabletop and dry herb vaporizers, may give you a better experience with a strain’s genetics and terpenes than smoking joints and blunts.
That is because they heat, rather than burn the plant’s compounds. However, you might lose a bit of the potent punch that you get from joints and blunts.
Joints, also known as doobies, paper planes, and white papers, are cannabis flower rolled up into papers.
Blunts, also known as Ls and dutches, are the tobacco and hemp wraps used for the same.
Swishers, White Owls, Dutch Masters, and Backwoods are the most common tobacco wraps. High Hemp, Mr. Juicy, King Palm, and Twisted Hemp are examples of well-known hemp wraps.
Pipes are smoking devices that have 3 components: mouthpiece, bowl, and carb. The mouthpiece is obviously where you inhale smoke, the bowl is where you placed your ground flower, and the carb is the hole you hold to build and release the smoke inside the pipe.
Pipes are most commonly glass or ceramic, but you can literally make a pipe out of anything you can poke 3 holes into, including food like apples, pears, and grapefruits.
Bongs are another smoking device that is usually made of glass or ceramics. They have 3 main components: a mouthpiece, a stem, and a removable bowl that acts in a similar fashion to the pipe carb mentioned above.
The difference between bongs and pipes ultimately comes down to shape, as bongs have long necks and pipes are more compact/handheld. Like pipes, you too can make a bong of various things like water bottles and pretty much anything long and tube-like.
Another bong component is the percolator, which filters smoke in certain directions that cool the smoke to enhance the smoking experience.
One-hitters are the diamond in the rough of all cannabis consumption methods. They’re essentially small pipes meant for quick-and-convenient use while on the go. Chillums are just big one-hitters with larger bowls that may stay lit if you hit the cherry just right.
Dry herb vaporizers
Dry herb vaporizers are excellent for tasting cannabis flower. They heat your flower, versus burning through combustion, ultimately protecting the strain’s terpene profile. Because of that, dry herb vaporizers are seen as one of the best ways to consume cannabis flower.
If you’ve got some super terpy cannabis flower, dry herb vapes are perfect to bring that flavor forward. However, they tend to have short battery lives and also leave a lingering aroma after use.
Cannabis pre-rolls are pre-made flower joints. They can be non-infused, which means they just contain flower; or infused, which means they contain flower plus a cannabis concentrate.
The best cannabis pre-rolls are made with high-quality, full-flower buds. The worst pre-rolls are made with bad-quality cannabis shake and trim.
Do you like to smoke cannabis flower pre-rolls?
The future of cannabis flower
Many people think concentrates will replace cannabis flower over time as the king of cannabis products, but that is unlikely.
The truth is that cannabis flower will always be the industry's core product. All of the products start with flower, so you will always have more flower in orbit than dabs, edibles, vapes, topicals, and tinctures.
It is worth noting, though, that sharing dabs is increasingly popular at seshes. However, trends in most legal states still show cannabis flower as the dominant category by large percentages.
You can peep Headset, one of the top data analytics firms for a deeper dive into consumer habits by the numbers.