Few plants have a more storied and fascinating relationship with humanity than cannabis. Its buds have been used in rituals, religious rites, ceremonies, celebrations, and recreation for thousands of years. Research shows that the history of cannabis use dates back 12,000 years.
Yet, somehow, the relationship between people and cannabis continues to evolve. New and exciting ways to enjoy the euphoric and therapeutic effects of the plant are still being discovered. However, it seems that no matter how many new forms the plant takes, there’s always something about the original all-natural cannabis bud that keeps people coming back for more.
If you’re new to the world of cannabis flower and hoping to become more familiar with all it offers, take a look at this comprehensive guide to this remarkable plant.
What Is Cannabis Flower?
Cannabis flower is the term used to describe the smokable buds that can be plucked from a flowering marijuana plant. These buds are covered in a shimmering coat of crystalline trichomes that contain all the cannabinoids and other desirable compounds that provide the various benefits for which the plant is known.
The cannabis plant can be either male or female, but only the female produces smokable buds. In fact, cannabis cultivators must take care to avoid having any male plants in their crops, or they will pollinate the female plants, causing them to create seeds that can heavily compromise the quality of the final product.
Bud vs. Flower
You may have heard people refer to cannabis as both “bud” and “flower” before, leaving you wondering what the difference between the two is. In truth, there’s no significant difference between the two terms. They’re used interchangeably to describe the part of the cannabis plant you can smoke.
However, suppose you really want to get into detail about the two terms. In that case, it can probably be said that “buds” is more commonly used to refer to smaller nuggets of cannabis flower, while “flower” is a more general term applied to any form of smokable cannabis plant.
The Anatomy of Cannabis Flowers
The major components of cannabis flower include the following:
- Buds: The majority of the flower is composed of plant material that most often ranges from light green to a dark purple color
- Pistils: The buds can come covered in these brown-orange hair-like structures
- Trichomes: These sugary crystal structures that cover the outside of the buds are where you’ll find all the essential chemical compounds of cannabis
- Cannabinoids: These chemical compounds provide a majority of the recreational and therapeutic effects cannabis is known for by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is connected to many functions, including appetite, memory, learning, pain sensation, immune function, and more
- Terpenes: The chemical compounds responsible for the array of unique aromas and flavors of cannabis and potentially for some of the effects the plant is known for
These defining features of cannabis flower are a common part of the vocabulary used to distinguish strains. Knowing what they mean can help you better understand the different buds you may be dealing with before ever even smoking them.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Cannabis Flower
There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of cannabis, and each comes with its unique perks. But something about the traditional method of smoking flower has kept it among the go-to modes of consumption for millennia.
Pros of Cannabis Flower
When you smoke THC flowers, you get to enjoy several benefits.
Smoking flower means you’re absorbing the cannabinoids into your body through your lungs. This process is significantly quicker than absorbing them through your digestive system. You’ll typically feel effects within about 10-15 minutes as opposed to 30-60 minutes when consuming your cannabis.
Cannabis enthusiasts have gotten incredibly creative with the methods used to smoke their flower over the years, leaving you with plenty of options for enjoying the plant the traditional way. These options include bowls, bongs, joints, blunts, dry herb vaporizers, and more. Flower can also be used to create edibles.
Incredible Flavor Profile
Eating your cannabis may be tasty because edibles come in the form of brownies, cookies, gummy candies, or chocolates. Still, those are very different flavor profiles than what you can enjoy when you smoke your flower. Each strain has a unique combination of terpenes that give the flower its unique flavors for you to experience.
Outside of the various benefits cannabis is renowned for, many people also get a bit of joy out of the simple act of smoking flower. Edibles and vapes may be faster and easier, but there’s still something to be said for the pure enjoyment of smoking your cannabis.
Cons of Cannabis Flower
No method of cannabis consumption is perfect — not even flower. Here are a few reasons why you might consider another form of cannabis over the original method of consumption.
Smoking Poses Risks
No matter how you slice it, there are risks associated with inhaling smoke. Smoking flower can potentially affect your respiratory health, and if that concerns you, other methods do not require inhalation.
A More Complicated Process
It’s not overly labor intensive, but smoking flower does take more work than most other modes of consumption. It requires more tools as well. You’ll need to have your flower, a grinder, a pipe or papers, and a lighter at a minimum. On the other hand, vapes, edibles, and tinctures are all-in-one products that don’t require any extra tools.
Shorter Duration Effects
A shorter duration of effects is not inherently a negative aspect of cannabis flower, but it can be if you’re looking for long-lasting relief. The impact of smoking your flower will last somewhere between four and six hours on average while eating your cannabis will last somewhere between six and eight hours.
If you’re someone who prefers to maintain their privacy when using cannabis, flower can be perhaps the least convenient mode of consumption. It produces plenty of smoke and a pungent aroma, both of which can linger.
Vapes, on the other hand, do not produce a lingering smell, nor do they create any ash or resin, as smoking flower does. The same goes for edibles and tinctures.
How to Use Cannabis Flower
There are a lot of ways to enjoy your cannabis flower. Which is best for you depends on your needs and preferences. To help you get a better idea of how each method might suit you, take a look at the most popular methods.
Smoked in a Bowl
Bowls are small glass pipes with a rounded bowl-like opening on one end where the cannabis flower is packed into and a small hole on the side — known as a “carb” — that allows you to control the airflow into the pipe with your thumb.
Bowls can be a quick and convenient way to smoke your flower. They don’t require any rolling, and the pipes themselves don’t need anything extra like the water or ice you may add to a water pipe. You will, however, want to have a grinder handy, as breaking up the buds with your fingers can lead to an uneven burn that can waste your flower.
Rolled in a Joint
The joint is perhaps the most classic of all methods of cannabis consumption, and there’s a good reason why it has stuck around for so long. It offers a flavorful and enjoyable smoking experience that can easily be shared with other medical cannabis patients who are seeking the same cannabinoid relief as you.
Joints are essentially hand-rolled cannabis cigarettes. They’re made by simply grinding up some flower and rolling it up in a joint paper, with the potential addition of a small filter made of cardboard inserted into one end. Of course, there is some nuance to perfecting the process of rolling joints, and getting past the learning curve can require some perseverance.
If you’re interested in smoking joints but are not crazy about the idea of learning how to roll them, there are always pre-rolled joints. These products are rolled to perfection and available to smoke whenever the mood strikes.
There are also infused cannabis flower joints available for extra relief. These are enhanced with additional elements like cannabinoids or terpenes.
Baked Into Food
If you’re looking to avoid inhaling your cannabis, edibles can be a perfect alternative. While you can buy pre-made edibles if you choose, you can also turn your cannabis flower into some through a reasonably straightforward process known as decarboxylation.
The reason people smoke, vape, or cook their cannabis is because the cannabinoids in it are not active until they’re heated up.
THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, is in its non-psychoactive precursor form of THCa in raw cannabis flower. To turn THCa into THC, you can apply heat to it in a variety of ways, including burning the flower, heating it with a coil, or cooking it in an oven at a low temperature.
To create cannabis edibles, one of the most common practices is to decarboxylate the flower in an oven. Then, add it to melted butter under low heat, allow the cannabinoids to absorb, and strain out the plant material. The resulting product is a cannabis-infused butter that can be used in any recipe you wish.
The trick with this method of consumption is that once you’ve created your edibles, you won’t necessarily have a precise idea of exactly how much cannabis you’re consuming, as it’s not a given that each cookie or brownie has the same amount of cannabinoids.
For this reason, it’s always wise to start with a small amount and give yourself some time to feel the effects before having any more.
Smoked in a Vape
Vaporizers offer a variety of benefits that have made them incredibly popular in recent years. Rather than burning your flower like you do when smoking it, vapes heat it up just enough for the trichomes to turn into a vapor that you can then inhale.
Not only do vapes help you avoid inhaling smoke, but they also preserve way more terpenes than burning flower does, which provides you with an unmatched flavor profile in every hit. Other advantages of vaping your flower are the greater ease of use, the higher level of discretion, and the increased convenience.
Smoked in a Water Pipe
Smoking directly from a bowl or other pipe can be somewhat harsh, considering there is nothing except a little distance between the burning plant matter and your mouth. While learning to control your hit size can help reduce the burning sensation, other methods are even more effective, such as using a water pipe.
Water pipes have a chamber where you can add some cold water that will cool down your hit and filter it out a bit. Certain water pipes offer the ability to add ice into the chamber to give you an even cooler smoking experience.
Storing Cannabis Flower for Longevity
Cannabis flower is vulnerable to the elements and will degrade rapidly if not stored carefully. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to guard your flower from the elements.
The most important thing to know is that light, humidity, heat, and air are the four main things to avoid. That may sound like a tall order, but all you need is an airtight jar, a mylar bag, and a cool, dry, dark place to store it. That will keep your flower in good shape for a long time.
Medical Marijuana Cards From Texas 420 Doctors
If you think medical marijuana may be able to improve your quality of life, book an appointment with Texas 420 Doctors today. We have patients with a range of conditions, from PTSD to chronic pain, neuropathy, and more. Join the thousands who have found relief with MMJ treatment.
We’ll connect you with a medical marijuana professional who can help determine whether you might qualify for a card and then guide you through the process. You’ll receive expert, compassionate care and a safe way to obtain prescription cannabis.
Contributed and published by: Texas 420 Doctors
Published Date: January 30, 2024