Even as new technologies allow manufacturers to create numerous product types that deliver the benefits of cannabis, traditional flower smoking remains the most common and preferred method of consumption around the world.
Flower, also called “bud,” refers to the smokeable part of the cannabis plant that has gone through the cultivation, harvest, drying, and curing process. Cannabis flower continues to be a popular choice for its versatility, offering numerous methods of consumption, such as being smoked using a pipe or bong, or by rolling it into a joint or blunt. You can buy infused flower in GG4 delivery.
Among the many benefits of smoking weed is its rapid onset. Flower’s high bioavailability means you’ll feel its effects almost instantaneously. Effects can last anywhere from one to three hours, varying from person to person.
While the majority of weed smokers around the world know how to roll their flower into a joint to smoke, there are numerous ways to enjoy cannabis flower. These methods are dependent on the person’s preference, environment and given situation.
Cannabis Flower Dosing
Unlike other methods of cannabis consumption, flower doesn’t have a standard dosing structure. Potency is measured by the total concentration of cannabinoids (chemical compounds that act on our endocannabinoid system to stimulate psychoactive and physical effects) and is expressed in percentage of mg/g. For example, a menu item of Hardcore OG might read as 18.84% THC, which indicates that there are 188.40 milligrams of Tetrahydrocannabinol (an intoxicating cannabinoid) per gram of flower.
For novice-level smokers, it’s highly advised that you start with a small amount of cannabis flower and gradually increase the dosage until you find that sweet spot. The reported adverse side effects of THC, which are dependent on several factors, such as the THC potency of the cannabis product and dosage amount, include paranoia and anxiety.
Male Vs. Female Cannabis Plants
There are both male and female cannabis plants and some that are a mix of both genders. The male fertilizes the female plants to initiate the production of seeds. The resin-secreting flowers produced by the female cannabis plant are trimmed down to buds, and these flowers are what we consume. The mixed, or hermaphroditic, plants contain both male and female organs, allowing it to pollinate itself during flowering. These plants are generally deemed a nuisance to growers, as the self-pollination spoils seedless sinsemilla plants, which produce highly potent flowers. Highly potent herbs sound great, right? Check out Sparc’s selection of high-quality buds!
What Is the Anatomy of a Cannabis Plant?
When it comes to the cannabis plant, the flowers usually get most of the attention, since they are consumed for use. Every part of the plant plays a vital role in bringing those flowers to life.
A cluster of buds that tightly grow together is called a cola. The main cola, or apical bud, forms at the very top of the cannabis plant. Smaller colas can be found on budding sites of the lower branches.
Stigma and Pistil
The pistil houses a flower’s reproductive organs. Stigmas are the vibrant, hair-like strands that are found on the pistil. The purpose of the stigma is to collect pollen from male cannabis plants. The stigmas change color throughout a plant’s maturation, starting with white coloration and darkening over time, turning the stigma yellow, orange, brown, and red. They play a significant role in the reproduction cycle, but the stigma has little effect on the budding flower’s taste and potency.
Bract and Calyx
The bract houses a female cannabis plant’s reproductive parts. They look like green tear-shaped leaves, and the bract is covered in resin glands that produce higher concentrations of cannabinoids than any other part of the plant. The calyx is a translucent layer covering the ovule on the flower’s base and generally cannot be seen; they are hidden away, tucked inside the bract.
Trichomes are tiny in size, but you can’t miss the coating of crystal resin on a cannabis plant’s buds. Secreted through mushroom-shaped, translucent glands on the stems, leaves, and calyxes, this resin is what we call kief once it has dried. Trichomes formerly served the purpose of protecting the plant against outdoor elements and predators. They ooze terpenes, which are aromatic oils and cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Hash production relies on trichomes and their potent resin.
The seed is where it all begins. A mature, healthy cannabis seed has a well-rounded shape with one flat end and one pointed end and has a rigid, tough outer casing to prevent the seed from being crushed easily. A seem down the side of the housing that opens up during germination. Cannabis seeds can vary significantly in their size, anywhere from tiny to massive. Mature seeds have an outer shell covered in dark marking, known as tiger stripes that are a thin layer of cells that coat the seed and can be easily rubbed off. Inside the seed is the plant’s embryo that contains everything the plant needs to start a new life once it is planted and taken care of.
Differences between Cannabis Concentrates and Flower
Cannabis concentrates are becoming an increasingly popular consumption method, but their potency and unfamiliar form can be intimidating at first. Many consumers will stick to what they know and never feel compelled to deviate from a jar of sweet-smelling flower. But cannabis concentrates and extracts have many benefits to offer you may not realize—for example, concentrates can offer cleaner, smoother, and less odiferous hits as well as discretion in the form of convenient, portable vaporizers.
1. Concentrates go by many names.
Although the multiplicity of strains available can make one’s head spin, even beginners have a pretty good idea of what they’re getting with flower, regardless of its name. “Concentrates” is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of different cannabis extracts and their monikers – and that’s where things can get more confusing.
Imagine you’re standing at the glass counter of a dispensary. Inside you see the following items: shatter, rosin, BHO, CO2, wax, crumble, honey oil, dabs, hash, tinctures, and capsules. Don’t let the breadth of options drive you away–many of these are different names for the same thing. Here are some quick tips for narrowing your search down:
- Shatter, wax, crumble, sugar, honeycomb, sap, and oil often refer to a concentrate’s texture. While some people have a preference of an extract’s consistency, what’s important to many people is the solvent used and how compatible that extract is with their preferred consumption method. Also be mindful of potency and understand that a high THC content does not always equate to the best experience.
- Most concentrates are extracted using CO2, hydrocarbons, water, alcohol, and heat. Solventless extracts made using water (e.g., hash) or heat (e.g., rosin) are excellent choices for those wary of how consuming solvents might affect them.
- Ask your budtender which oils work with your delivery method of choice. Looking to dab something? Maybe try their recommended shatter, live resin, or rosin. Do you prefer vape pens? Choose a cartridge that’s compatible with your battery. Interested in ingestible concentrates? Ask about dosing tinctures and oil capsules.
2. Concentrates are more potent.
The most important distinction to make between cannabis flowers and concentrates is potency. While bud potency tends to range between 10-25% THC, a concentrate typically falls between 50-80% though some exceptional extracts can even push past 90%. Those numbers may be enough to scare off any under-seasoned consumers, and for good reason: dosing gets trickier as potency increases.
A mildly or non-intoxicating CBD-rich concentrate would be a good choice for beginners (that’s right, not all concentrates get you high). Hash and tinctures also tend to have lower THC contents than other types of concentrates, so you might consider steering toward those before graduating to the more potent oils. Just remember to always start with a low dose and work your way up if you’re new to concentrates or have a low tolerance.
3. Concentrates can be consumed in many different ways.
With bud, you can smoke it, vaporize it, and roll it, but there’s not much else you can do with it. Concentrates offer more options.
Dabbing—the process by which you apply an extract to a hot nail and inhale through a glass piece–is swiftly on the rise among cannabis veterans. Dabbing is an easy way to get a potent dose of cannabinoids, although the learning curve and equipment demands make it a less accessible option for new users.
4. Plant matter is stripped from concentrates.
Here’s one benefit to concentrates perhaps you’ve never thought of: extraction processes strip out plant material and isolate the compounds you want like THC and CBD (…and potentially some things you don’t want, in the case of pesticides, contaminants, and residual solvents; make sure the products you consume are tested).
When you smoke flower, you’re also smoking the plant material that leaves your glass black with tar. That can take a toll on your lungs. However, you may have noticed that when you dab oils, the glass and water stay clean for much longer.
Vaporizers heat cannabis below the temperature of combustion, but hot enough to extract beneficial compounds. This delivery method is ideal for health-conscious consumers.
5. Flowers may have more flavor—but not always.
If flavor is something you care about, this point is for you: some concentrates will lose their aromas and flavors in the extraction process. Terpenes are the volatile, fragrant oils secreted by the cannabis plant, and they give the flowers their smells from the sweet, fruity, and floral to the earthy, piney, and musky. Being so sensitive to heat, it can be difficult to preserve terpenes in many extraction processes.
For this reason, many producers have begun reintroducing these aromatic compounds afterward–which can result in products even more flavorful than the flower they came from. Some extracts like live resin often retain impressive flavor profiles without a need to reintroduce terpenes, and many consumers will tell you that this refined form tastes better and cleaner than the flower it was derived from.