CBD hemp flower is improving rapidly
I have tried hundreds of strains since 2018 and am pleased to say that the quality of CBD bud that is coming out in 2023 is MUCH better than previous years and the variety of strains and phenos makes for a more interesting discovery process.
These are the 5 strains and 7 vendors that I consistently trust with my CBD flower purchases. I grade each strain based on flavor, effect, bag appeal and interactions with the brand to get a feel for their trustworthiness.
- Our top 5 CBD flower strains right now (JULY 2023)
- Best CBD Flower Companies of 2023
- What is CBD Flower?
- How to tell CBD flower from weed: Type-3 flower vs. Type-1 flower
- What is CBD flower used for?
- What are the benefits of smoking hemp flower?
- Hemp Flower Buyers Guide
- Frequently asked questions about smokable CBD
- Buy CBD flower online
Our top 5 CBD flower strains right now (JULY 2023)
For your convenience, we have listed some of the best CBD hemp flower strains around at the moment, as voted for by the editorial staff here at CBD Incubator.
Pink Lemonade crazy! It’s likely my favorite CBD strain of 2023 and this has been a year with massive progress in genetics. The bag appeal is otherworldly with explosive aromatics and beautiful bright buds. They say it’s a Sativa leaning hybrid but I definitely feel more of an Indica effect. Perhaps it’s due to the hight cannabinoid percentage.
Half Baked Indoor is pure madness! An explosion of perfume that translates perfectly into the flavor of the smoke. I smoke it in a vaporizer to get the best taste and smoothness. Hard to compete with these buds and they take a very close second place on our list.
Godfather OG from Green Unicorn Farms has genetics from Big Dog Exotic Genetics was one of the most anticipated strains of the year and it did not disappoint. The effects are very very heavy and the skunky and dank buds reek of pure cannabis gold. If you like purple buds, this strain is gonna become a favorite for you!
Papaya Nights is a great indoor Sativa strain from Secret Nature. It is fruity and rich in tropical flavors that are very unique for CBD buds. Secret Nature delivers the flower in nitrogen sealed cans that keeps your buds fresh and in perfect moisture levels.
Don’t let the relatively low cannabinoid content throw you off. Mango Fire is a powerhouse with super heavy indica effects that had me snoozing like a baby after my first sesh. These buds are beautiful, dense and dark purple. For sure a strain that I break out to impress friends.
Best CBD Flower Companies of 2023
There are a couple of great CBD flower vendors on the market. Most of them have a couple of unique strains that make them worth trying out. There are also many new companies popping up so it may not come as a surprise that we always look out for good newcomers with unique phenotypes.
While there is an increasing number of companies that sell decent quality hemp flower that passes for an enjoyable experience. There are only a handful companies that actually hit the mark and sell hemp flower so good that you’re left wondering why you’d ever buy from anyone else.
This list is in no particular order — Each one of these companies offer a unique experience, price point and strain selection which makes them equally good but for different reasons.
- The buying experience is likely the best of any hemp flower company thus far in 2023.
- Quick customer support
- Killer packagin
- We actually tested the response time of all vendors on this list on a few occasions and Green Unicorn won every time for both speed and service quality.
*Also offering wholesale CBD flower to retailers across the US. Keep a lookout in your local area.
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WNC is another vendor that has a very wide selection of truly fantastic CBD and THCa strains. Lately they have focused more on THCa flower making their selection of CBD strains smaller.
- All their buds are of top quality and they are transparent with all the information about their flower and their working process although they don’t list who grew each strain.
- It is a family run business out of Asheville, NC that is doing things the right way. If you contact their customer support it is very likely that you’ll get help from the owner Mike 🙂
The only drawback is the shipping is expensive and only free at +$100 orders.
Secret Nature has grown top quality flower for a couple of years and they are a stable of the CBD flower industry. A word of caution though… Their customer support is almost non-exciting so hope for the best after making an order.
- Their indoor flower is always packed into nitrogen sealed cans which guarantee that you get the quality and intact trichomes that you want from top-shelf flower.
- They offer very unique genetics (at least strain names) which come from their in-house pheno-hunts for the best of the best that each strain has to offer.
What to order: Secret Nature is known for having relatively small batches of great flower that sell out quickly. It’s difficult to make a strain recommendation because whichever strain we recommend will likely be sold out before you get to it… Their Secret OG and Frosted Kush are always good choices and they appear to grow those two quite frequently.
Their loose flower is great and their pre rolls are of the same buds. They are definitely on the expensive side so it might not be the best option if you smoke on a daily basis.
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You only have to chat to him (Jason) for about two minutes to realize two things; he’s really passionate about growing quality hemp, and he really knows his sh*t.
Tweedle Farms offers really great quality flower at a fair price and their passion for clean products is remarkable.
The only downfall of Tweedle Farms is that their CBD and cannabinoid percentages are quite low so if you are a medical user, you might want to look for a more potent option. Farms (as opposed to vendors) are also limited in their strain selection so you can suffer from some flavor fatigue after a couple of orders.
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Plain Jane is the perfect budget CBD flower brand! Their buds are of consistently high quality (although not fantastic) and their price point is perfect for everyday smoking. They offer reliable shipping 5 days per week although it can be a little slow. I find that many of my orders get shipped 48 hours after purchase even if the order is made on a Monday or Tuesday.
I also like that PJ has stepped their game up. For a while their quality went down quite drastically but after a few company changes (I think they got purchased by Industrial Hemp Farms) they stepped up their quality again and started to offer really good flower at a fair price.
What to order: Buy their indoor strains if you have some extra cash in the pocket. I stay away from their pre-rolls and CBD cigarettes in general since they are of worse quality than their loose buds. Their D8 products are very good too.
Discount code: Discounts are often available, but change frequently. Join our mailing list for the latest.
Arete Hemp is another vendor that is similar to Green Unicorn and WNC that (read my full review on Arete here) offers a line of high potency and affordable CBD and THC products that are ideal for more experienced users and those looking for moderate to severe severe symptom relief.
They have a large menu of CBD and high THCa flower that focuses on top quality for medical users.
What to order: Get their high THCa flower! THCa is increasingly difficult to find so stock up while they have it on their menu. I also love their CBD sleep gummies and Delta 9 gummies. I also really like their selection of vape carts.
Discount code: Discounts are often available, but change frequently. Join our mailing list for the latest.
Cannaflower has an extensive line of outdoor CBD flower containing some exotic and unique strains. They use clean growing practices on their Vermont farms and they pay their workers a fair wage ✊
Lately they have added indoor flower as well but their pricing needs some work before I feel comfortable recommending it to you guys. At $34.95 for an 1/8 of bud is way too high to be worth your business IMO.
What to order: Get their outdoor flower or their $19.95 Discovery Box to test the waters.
Discount code: Discounts are often available, but change frequently. Join our mailing list for the latest.
What is CBD Flower?
The term CBD flower refers to the dried and cured bud or flower of the hemp plant, a type of Cannabis Sativa that has been specifically bred to contain high levels of CBD and less than 0.3% THC. It’s also known as smokable hemp flower, as it’s almost exclusively cultivated for smoking purposes.
CBD and THC are just two of well over 100 cannabinoids that can be found in the flowers of hemp and cannabis plants. THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for making cannabis users feel high and CBD appears to possess many of the same health benefits as THC, but without the intoxication and psychoactive effects.
Other more minor cannabinoids that can also be found in hemp flower buds include CBG, CBN, CBC CBDA, and THCV. The flowers, or buds, of the plant also contain various other beneficial compounds, including flavonoids, chlorophyll, and terpenes, which give each hemp strain its unmistakable aromatic identity.
CBD flower is a flower product that looks, smells, and tastes very similar to weed, because it is essentially the same plant, but since the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now legal at the federal level, while high-THC cannabis remains listed as a schedule I controlled substance to this day, despite the long list of proven medical uses.
How to tell CBD flower from weed: Type-3 flower vs. Type-1 flower
Talking about cannabis used to be easy. Weed was weed and either it was good or bad. Today, however, with all the new cannabinoids, the classification of cannabis has become much more complex. In order to accurately speak about cannabis you need to call each strain by is classifying type.
- Type-1 flower — This is classic cannabis flower that is high in THC and THCa and low in CBD and other cannabinoids
- Type-2 flower — Mixed ratio flower that has a fairly equal ratio of THC:CBD
- Type-3 flower — This is the classification of CBD flower (hemp flower) that is high in CBD and low in THC.
- Type-4 flower — This is where we find CBG flower that is high in CBD and low in other cannabinoids.
In all honesty, the quality of CBD flower has improved so much over the last few years that it would be impossible to tell a CBD from a cannabis plant apart by looks alone. Sure, if you are looking at an Alien Labs indoor bud, odds are you can be sure that it is cannabis but generally speaking there is no easy way to tell them apart. In fact, I can only think of three ways that you would be able to identify one from the other.
The first one is by looking at the lab reports, if available, to check how much THC is in the flower. If it has 0.3% or less THC then it’s CBD flower and if it has more, then it’s not.
The second one would involve smoking it in order to see if it makes you high. Not very practical, but a solid way to find out for sure if it’s CBD flower or weed.
And the third, is the aroma. Cannabis flower is simply much more pungent and strong smelling than any hemp flower strain grown today.
What is CBD flower used for?
Since the legalization of hemp, CBD products, including CBD hemp flower, have exploded in popularity. People smoke CBD flower to help relieve a wide variety of symptoms they may be experiencing, such as;
CBD flower is also smoked for pleasure, due to the plant’s unique and enjoyable aroma and flavor profiles and the relaxing and uplifting effects it imparts. You can also use CBD flower to make your own high-CBD extracts, such as oils, tinctures, and edibles. I wrote an article about how to make CBD oil here, if it’s something you want to pursue.
As a non-psychoactive alternative to medical marijuana, CBD flower products are often preferred by those that want to receive the many benefits that cannabis has to offer, but don’t like or want to feel high. CBD buds are also very popular with people that are unable to access medical marijuana in their state.
What are the benefits of smoking hemp flower?
If you’re reading this article, we’ll assume that you’re not against the idea of smoking which is great, because the benefits of smoking hemp are extensive.
Here are just five of the benefits you can experience from choosing CBD flower over other forms of CBD:
1. Enjoyable user experience
First and foremost, it goes without saying that out of all the different hemp products available, CBD flower is one of the most enjoyable ways to consume CBD. Premium quality smokable hemp flower is extremely aromatic and a delight for all the senses. As a Cannabis Sativa plant, high-quality CBD flowers can look, smell, and taste exactly like marijuana, but they won’t get you high.
2. Instant effects
One of the other main benefits to be gained from smoking CBD hemp flower is that you will feel the therapeutic effects from the CBD almost instantaneously. When you consume smokable CBD it enters into your bloodstream through 1,000’s of capillaries on the insides of your lungs.
Out of all of the different CBD delivery methods, inhalation is second only to intravenous injection when it comes to getting compounds into your bloodstream quickly. Taking CBD oil under your tongue follows in third, with edibles (like gummies) taking the longest time. This makes smokable hemp one of the best forms of CBD for anxiety, and for any type of pain spasm, due to the speed at which you can alleviate symptoms.
3. Pure, unadulterated flower
People also enjoy the fact that what you see is what you get. When you have smokable hemp in your hands you know you’re holding the richest part of the plant when it comes to cannabinoid content and other plant compounds. And it’s also very easy to see that nothing has been added to make your breath unsavory.
4. Tobacco alternative
CBD flower is also being widely used as a tobacco alternative. Mix it into your marijuana, or smoke it on its own, smokable hemp provides a much more attractive and non-addictive offering than tobacco. You can read more about using hemp cigarettes to quit smoking here.
5. Synergistic effects
You will also benefit from the entourage effect when you choose to smoke CBD, meaning you will feel enhanced effects as many of the compounds found in hemp are known to work in synergy with each other.
Hemp Flower Buyers Guide
In an ideal world, you’ll want to find a couple of suppliers that can offer you the most premium, best tasting CBD flower on the market, at any given time. I highly recommend experimenting a little and ordering from lots of different retailers to find your go-to favorites.
Having a couple of different suppliers will mean that you have tons more choice when it comes to strain selection. Most experienced CBD flower smokers will have their favorite strains, but we still also like to experiment with new strains all the time.
Choosing your CBD flower supplier
There are a few things you can look out for that will identify a quality supplier, such as:
If you’re based in the US then you should demand that your hemp was grown here too. Look for hemp that was cultivated with organic farming methods and in areas that are known for their quality, arable farmland. Oregon, California, Colorado and Vermont are all known for great outdoor hemp flower.
A good retailer will be upfront about where their CBD flower was grown, as well as how it was grown (outdoor, indoor, greenhouse). This and other basic product information, including cannabinoid and terpene profiles, should be readily available for everyone to see. Transparency like this is key in building trust and you shouldn’t have to go looking for this basic information.
Third-party lab results
Every single strain should also be lab tested by a third party and the results should be uploaded online and easy for you to find. Some retailers only test for cannabinoid potency, but the best retailers will offer more comprehensive “full-panel” testing, which also prove that the hemp doesn’t contain any heavy metals, microbials, mycotoxins, or pesticides (you want pesticides in your lungs? No, me neither).
Positive customer reviews and experiences
Reputable retailers encourage their customers to review their products and experiences and therefore will have hundreds if not thousands of customer reviews online. Try searching for the brand name plus the word review next to it to see what comes up. You can often find authentic customer reviews on third-party websites like this, as well as Google, TrustPilot, Reddit, and other social media channels too.
Remember that flower changes from harvest to harvest. There are growers who improve greatly from one season to the next so don’t put too much stock in reviews.
No health claims
It is illegal for retailers to make any medical claims about CBD, so if the brand you are considering claims that their CBD oil, gummies, or capsules, can cure, prevent, or treat any serious disease, then you should know that they’re knowingly breaking the law by doing so.
I personally wouldn’t buy anything from a company that does this as I’d wonder what other laws they’re willing to break to sell me their product.
A retailer that cares
We would also only recommend buying CBD from sources you feel you can trust. One of the things we always look for are signs that the retailer cares about the products they sell. What extra information do they give you to help you make an informed decision? Have a look around their website and at their About Us section. Try and get a feel for the company you’re dealing with, as that can often speak volumes about the resulting customer experience.
Support your local business
Yes, I know I said that the hemp source is important and that Oregon, California, Colorado and Vermont are known for great hemp flower. However, I do feel that you should try to support your local business as much as you can. If you have a retailers in the area, give them a chance as winning your business. That way you support your community (and save on shipping).
Choosing the best CBD flower strains
How do I know which hemp strain is right for me? So, you’ve found a great retailer and want to order the best CBD flower strains, but where do you start? They probably have 20 or more different strains on the menu, so what should you be looking for?
The best CBD flower strains for one person will be different from the next. For example, some strains are much more relaxing than others, so it really depends on what you’re looking for.
To complicate matters even further, the same hemp strain could be grown by two different farms, and although the overall flavors and characteristics will be the same, they may have vastly different cannabinoid and terpene profiles. This is another reason why I think it’s good to experiment.
Here are some of the things you can look at when it comes to strain selection:
Any CBD flower that has between 14% and 19% CBD is considered to be a potent strain and the higher the number is, the less you’ll need to smoke to reach your desired dosage. However, I don’t recommend that you limit yourself to only buying the most potent strains you can find.
It’s very tempting to shop by potency and a lot of new and experienced smokers do, but they don’t always facilitate the most potent effects. In reality the effects you feel from any given strain are dictated by the entire unique compound profile of the plant, which includes other more minor cannabinoids and terpenes, among other things.
For example, CBD flower that contains 13% CBD, 1% CBC, and high levels of beta-caryophyllene may end up offering you more enhanced pain relief due to synergistic effects than another strain that features a much higher CBD content.
Check the lab reports for each strain you’re interested in to make sure all of the information given is verified and use the numbers as a general guide for dosing. You can also make a note of the terpene profiles to see if there is a correlation between the strains you like the most (or work the best) and the dominant terpenes they contain.
When I pick new strains to try, I usually shop by effects as opposed to potency. At any given time, I will usually have at least a couple of “doing stuff/daytime” strains in my CBD stocks at home, as well as three or four “lazy/night-time” strains.
I tend to favor some of my lazier strains on the weekends too and find that they can make an impromptu shopping trip to Target infinitely more enjoyable and incredibly less stressful.
Depending on how much you smoke, CBD effects can be fairly subtle, but you’ll notice pretty quickly that certain strains are more energizing and others are more sedating.
Energizing strains may make you feel particularly focused and motivated, making them perfect for getting work and errands done, while others will lift your mood and energy, ideal for all social situations.
More sedating strains will help you relax and switch off. These are great for slowing down and winding down. Watching movies, playing games, hanging out, and getting ready for bed, are all perfect situations to pair with these strains.
One final characteristic that may influence your strain choice is how the flower smells and tastes. This will influence your overall enjoyment of smoking that particular CBD flower strain and you’ll only learn what your favorites are by trying them out.
Some companies offer sample or trial packs of their flower, so that you can try out a number of their strains at a discounted price. The pack will usually include a gram of flower from 4, 5, or 6 different flower strains for you to try. Will you prefer the super-skunky, gassy strains or the more fruity, flowery, exotic smokes?
Frequently asked questions about smokable CBD
Will CBD get you high?
Because quality hemp flower and high-THC cannabis look and smell the same, it causes many people to worry that smoking hemp will get you high, but as long as your hemp is sourced from a licensed grower then there’s no chance of that happening, unless you plan on smoking a ton of it.
Cannabis flower must contain 0.3% or less delta-9 THC to be defined as industrial hemp, and licensed growers have their crops regularly tested to ensure compliance. This is one of the reasons it’s important to check third-party lab reports, to ensure the hemp buds you’re buying contain low, compliant THC levels.
Is CBD legal?
If you’re worried about being arrested for smoking CBD joints then worry no more.
Hemp and all its derivatives are federally legal now, thanks to the Farm Bill that was passed 2018.
You just need to check whether your state has added their own restrictions regarding THC content. If your state requires that your CBD must be completely THC-free, then smokable CBD flower may not be the right choice for you due to the trace amounts it contains. Instead you should look for broad spectrum CBD or isolate product.
Is smoking hemp bad for your health?
Although smoking hemp is widely considered to be much better than smoking tobacco, it isn’t risk-free because burning any plant material produces tar and carbon monoxide. However, good quality CBD flower is tested to ensure it’s free from harmful toxins. Plus, it’s not addictive like tobacco is.
You can read more about smoking hemp vs tobacco here.
Buy CBD flower online
Your local head shop may sell a small selection of CBD-rich hemp flower and if you live in a state with cannabis dispensaries, then they may also carry high-CBD flower.
However, you’ll have much better choice of CBD-rich strains and be able to access more reasonable prices if you shop online. A good CBD flower retailer will vacuum pack the flower you’ve purchased and ship it to you quickly and discreetly, complete with third-party lab tests that verify the legality of the shipment contents.
CBD flower power
As the CBD market continues to explode by popular demand, smokable hemp is carving itself out a tidy niche as it presents a fast, effective, versatile, and reliable source of CBD.
If you enjoy smoking, then CBD flower can be everything you want it to be and more.
Benefit from almost instantaneous effects, a tasty joint without the high, and a tobacco alternative to mix in with your marijuana, all-in-one.
There are already a couple of really great suppliers on the market so you’ll be spoilt for choice.