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We tried the CBD hemp flowers you can buy online. Here’s how they smoked

Published on September 10, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
(Matt Stangel/Leafly)

The last few years in the United States have seen a chorus-line of watershed moments for the cannabis industry, but revisions to 2018’s Farm Bill were perhaps the most silent and significant. Despite some persisting legal murkiness around how and where hemp and CBD products can be purchased and shipped, this federal action has led to widespread distribution of CBD products like tinctures, lotions, sodas, candies—even hemp flowers you can smoke.

Celebrated for therapeutic and medical benefits that are only starting to be understood by the scientific community in the last few decades, the cannabinoid dubbed CBD is growing in popularity largely due to the low-to-nonexistent sense of intoxication it imparts.

On the consumer end, CBD has largely been sold in processed forms rather than as unaltered flowers that preserve the benefits of the hundreds of aromatic chemical compounds known as terpenes that are natural to the cannabis plant. That is, until now.

The following retailers specialize in growing and sourcing CBD-rich hemp flowers, creating access to markets like that of Oregon where recreational cannabis farmers struggling to make a return on products that have been locked into local markets have switched teams and started growing THC-free hemp to enjoy a wider consumer base. Without further ado, read on for a sampling of our favorite clear-web retailers of CBD-rich hemp flower.

Tweedle Farms

tweedle farms hemp cbd cannabis

Lifter, a CBD hemp strain grown by Tweedle Farms. (Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Tweedle Farms is a manufacturer and distributor of CBD-rich hemp flower based in Oregon. When they inevitably run out of their own crop, Tweedle works with a select group of organic-equivalent hemp farms to source stopgap flowers of equal quality for their loyal customer base. The quality is that of mass-produced Oregonian sungrown: what it lacks in bag appeal it makes up for in chemical impact and to some palates, flavor.

Apart from the organic-equivalent flowers, I was impressed with Tweedle’s prices. While buying single grams will cost $7-9, huge breaks are handed down on ounces—as low as $60 for B-quality, little buds, and $70 for clearance products.

Also of note: Tweedle sells prerolls, extracts, and vape cartridges, should you want to go in any of those directions with your consumption.

So, how’s the smoke?

Of all the distributors I tried in my search for smokable CBD-rich hemp that can be purchased online, Tweedle was my favorite. The flowers read like the majority of mass-produced outdoor grown in Tweedle’s home state of Oregon: weathered in color and showing signs of age, but totally actionable where effects are concerned.

Tweedle’s menu of Haze varietals was a pleasant surprise, landing across the board as sedating experiences. Haze strains, while commonly lumped into the sativa camp, tend to contain dominant or high concentrations of myrcene—a terpene that is believed to impart a dopey, sleepy headspace when combined with THC.

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Much in the levitated style of poorly-practiced mindfulness meditation, Tweedle’s Hazes took things from calming to nap time on a few different afternoons.

When paired with CBD, the effect was oddly similar to that of THC-rich Hazes, minus the goofy thoughts, giggle tracks, and the sensation of a tape player running at half speed where a brain used to be. Much in the levitated style of poorly-practiced mindfulness meditation, Tweedle’s Hazes took things from calming to nap time on a few different afternoons.

Conversely, I found Tweedle’s Lifter to be a good daytime option—providing anti-inflammatory properties to ease my arthritic back pain in tandem with a centering sense of calm that took the edge off my more circuitous thought patterns. Meanwhile, Lifter didn’t seem to degrade my ability to get things done.

As great as all this is, I recommend taking my experiences with a grain of salt; everyone’s body chemistry is a little different, so try a few things and decide what if anything works for you.

Plain Jane Hemp

CBD hemp flower from Plain Jane Hemp. (Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Seemingly inspired by the success of tobacco alternatives like the JUUL but with a Green Rush flair, Plain Jane Hemp specializes in odorless, CBD-rich hemp flower for discreet consumption in situations where a person might otherwise smoke a cigarette. According to company branding, terpenes—the aromatic compounds in cannabis—are intentionally stripped from the flower to create a no-smells product.

Important to note: Plain Jane also vends flowers with the terps intact; options include the more common varietals of the 2017/2018 season available through other distributors on this list, as well as reseller operations like Carolina Hemp Company that didn’t make the cut.

So, how’s the smoke?

Plain Jane Hemp Rolls served as my first point of contact with the brand’s product line. I was most intrigued by the idea of odorless hemp prerolls packaged like cigarettes and branded as a healthier, non-addictive alternative. I smoke a lot of cigs, so this one was targeted at me.

Met with packaging reminiscent of the bindis that head shops imported from India back in the late ‘90s, I was less worried by the half-affixed plastic wrap than I was tickled by the memory of teenage desperation. But when I flipped open the cardboard lid and examined my purchase, the first bright red flag was unmissable: the prerolls were all slightly different, appearing like uneven teeth instead of the tidy pencil-box rows standard to the category.

I didn’t notice any shift in my headspace or body. Again, this may be the point, but it’s a point that I can’t personally get behind. Cheaper and healthier ways to feel unaltered exist.

Uneven prerolls speak to numerous problems—inconsistent dosing, less-than-advertised weight, and poor craftsmanship. As I puffed through one of these little hemp rolls as I would a cigarette, it began burning unevenly and shortly thereafter fell apart in multiple places where the filtered paper tube wasn’t properly packed.

The flavor was nothing to write home about, but given Plain Jane’s branding, my experience seems to be that which was intended. Meanwhile, I didn’t notice any shift in my headspace or body. Again, this may be the point, but it’s a point that I can’t personally get behind. Cheaper and healthier ways to feel unaltered exist.

When I tore into my next purchase—an eighth ounce of Elektra selling for $11—I was taken aback by a wet, browned pile of tiny flowers, remarkably similar to weed after it’s been run through a vaporizer or decarboxylated for edibles.

As much as I want to get behind innovation, Plain Jane products read more as a sneaky re-brand of weed that wouldn’t fetch a return in Oregon’s oversaturated marketplace.

Lastly, I also tried Plain Jane’s Otto 2, a full-flavor option that was roughly on par with the flowers from CBD Hemp Direct (below), but not quite up to the quality to be found through Tweedle.

CBD Hemp Direct

Miami Vice, a CBD hemp strain from CBD Hemp Direct. (Matt Stangel for Leafly)

Located “near the Las Vegas strip,” CBD Hemp Direct offers a wide array of CBD products, from gummies to cartridges, as well as a relatively extensive range of hemp flowers. The prices aren’t those of West Coast manufacturers, but the shipping is speedy and the products are similar to those available through competitors—sungrown, lacking bag appeal, but okay enough to smoke, especially if cannabis is scarce where you live.

So, how’s the smoke?

CBD Hemp Direct does a little bit of everything: edibles like gummies, beef jerky, cookies, and trail mix, extracts and concentrates including kief, moon rocks, hash, plus all sorts of prerolls and flowers.

I tried a sampling of the latter, which arrived at my home in just a few short days. Varietals range from things like Casino Cookies to Sunset Road Sherbet—grown on-site and branded to reflect the Vegas landscape while serving as alternatives to the more common strains. It’s worth noting that CBD Hemp Direct also sources a small portion of their flower from the West Coast—usually Oregon, sometimes California.

Flowers are packaged in sealed glass jars—a bid at freshness that seems to pay off but no doubt increases the cost to consumers. Breaking the seal on any number of CBD Hemp Direct flowers releases surprisingly potent terpene concentrations into the air.

The flowers vary somewhat widely in structure and quality—a 7-gram quarter will come with some smaller, stemmy stuff, as well as larger, filled-out buds. While surprising in scent, I was less sold on flavor for many of the strains I tried. I assume this flavor-scent dissonance has something to do with curing and packaging, but it’s impossible to say precisely what’s responsible.

Additionally, while the typical CBD effects were somewhat notable, I found myself reaching for the Tweedle flowers more often than those from CBD Hemp Direct.

The final verdict

My money will be going to Tweedle for future hemp flower purchases. Their varietals are the closest to the CBD-rich flower you’d find on the discount rack at a cannabis shop, while the prices accurately reflect surplus pricing.

Significant above other considerations, the effects are remarkable in the context of buying weed online. This stuff doesn’t taste fantastic and is firmly classifiable as mids, but it’s in no way terrible to smoke and there’s a certain charm—and a definitive utility—to leveling out at times when getting baked wouldn’t be the best choice.

I’ve found myself opting for Tweedle flowers over THC-rich varietals during the day. And in the evening, mixing any one of Tweedle’s Haze strains with fresh flower or extracts tends to result in a balance of effects that exceed the former or the latter, encouraging a reasonable bedtime and a more restful sleep.

In hosting a variety of THC-free experiences as aided by natural terpenes and trace cannabinoids, Tweedle’s menu is far from one-note.

And for someone like myself who experiences insomnia and bouts of work-time anxiety, a variety of cannabis experiences—be them delivered by hemp flower or traditional weed—goes a long way to enjoying my fullest, most productive life.

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Matt Stangel
Matt Stangel
Matt Stangel is Leafly's Oregon Product Specialist. His cannabis-related writings have appeared in The Guardian, Willamette Week, Cascadia Magazine, and elsewhere—links to which are available at Cannapinions.com.
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