For the longest time, hemp flowers have been associated with fiber and other industrial uses. As a result, many get confused when discussing hemp in relation to CBD.
What is Hemp Flower?
Hemp flower is the flower of a mature female hemp plant that appears similar to cannabis flowers. While most hemp cultivars will have flowers in different shades of green, such as olives and dark greens, some cultivars will have some more vibrant purple and pink hues.
The color of a hemp flower is determined by compounds known as flavonoids. For example, anthocyanin gives a plant purple hues while carotene gives it red-orange hues. Other flavonoids in hemp include quercetin, cannflavins, and catechins.
Although you may want to control the color(s) of your hemp plant, unfortunately this is not possible. Anthocyanins exist in the genetic makeup of the plant, so the best you can do is create a good environment that will allow these hues to manifest themselves.
When the hemp flower is left to mature, which will take 8-12 weeks depending on the strain, you will notice a silvery white covering on its surface. This makes the flowers appear even more beautiful. As the flowers dry, this color will become brownish. This white coating is the result of trichomes or resinous glands that are now fully mature and oozing with cannabinoids, such as CBD, and terpenes.
Does Hemp Flower Contain CBD?
Yes, mature hemp flowers are covered in trichomes that produce CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. Different hemp flowers will contain different amounts of CBD, as it all depends on the type of hemp cultivar.
CBD is found in the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. The stalks may also have a small amount of CBD, but hemp seeds do not contain CBD.
Do All Hemp Flowers Contain CBD?
Hemp can be grown for industrial use or for medicinal use. When hemp is grown for industrial purposes, the trees are grown close together to get the plants to grow tall, produce more fiber, and produce fewer flowers. Hemp grown for medicinal use will be spaced apart and will have shorter stalks and more flowers.
In other words, all hemp flowers have some CBD, but hemp grown for industrial purposes will have less CBD.
Does Hemp Flower Contain THC?
Yes, many strains of hemp have THC, especially when they’re left to mature for a long time. That being said, hemp strains rarely contain more than 1% THC.
For hemp to be considered legal in the US it has to contain less than 0.3% THC. The fact that THC increases as the plants mature has created a challenge for hemp farmers striving to meet the threshold for legal CBD in the U.S.
How Do You Extract CBD from Hemp Flowers?
CBD in hemp flowers can be extracted and used for medicinal purposes through a few different extraction processes. Here are some of them.
Ethanol, which has a hydroxyl chain, is a universal solvent that is commonly used to extract CBD from hemp. Because it is easily available, it is the most popular choice amongst most “home-extractors.” In this process, ethanol is mixed with hemp flowers, left to soak, and then it is drained out. Note that ethanol does leave behind some impurities in plant pigments and waxes in the CBD.
Butane can also be used to extract CBD from hemp flowers, but note that it is highly flammable and can cause explosions. As a result, it is not recommended for home use, and when it is used at home it should be handled outdoors.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
This is the most popular extraction method for large-scale extraction of CBD. It is expensive to set up but economical to use once it’s ready to go. Through this process, pressurized liquid carbon dioxide passes through the plant material and extracts CBD. Any residual gas evaporates, leaving behind a pure CBD extract.