If cannabis concentrates, edibles, and vapes are all exciting and high-tech ways to consume marijuana, for many of us there’s just no beating good old cannabis flower. As the simplest and most elemental form of marijuana, cannabis flower is nothing more than the dried buds of the female cannabis plant.
With that in mind, we’d like to share some background on what makes the cannabis plant’s flower so special, the major types of cannabis flower, along with tips on how to get the very most from your flower purchases.
What Is a Cannabis Flower? The Plant’s Natural Medicine Factory
When we smoke cannabis—in a joint or from a bong, for example—we’re most often interacting with dried cannabis flower. In producing each flower, cannabis does some of its most impressive work. While they’re hard to see, each flower is covered in countless trichomes: Miniature hairlike glands that produce most of the plant’s medically active compounds.
We’ve written about some of cannanbis’s active compounds before, including the fragrant terpenes (or “essential oils”) that give different strains their specific aromatic and flavor profiles. But the most medically active are without a doubt the cannabinoids, a large family of compounds including THC and CBD, among others. In this next section, we’ll share a little more about how they interface with our bodies.
How Cannabis Flower Works: The Cannabinoids and Your ECS
Inside our bodies, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD enact some very beneficial effects. Aside from THC’s distinctive psychoactive “high” (and ability to fight pain and inflammation) studies suggest CBD’s potential to reduce anxiety and stress and help us find deeper, more restorative sleep, among other effects. And the way they do it is by interfacing with something called the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS for short.
A truly remarkable regulatory network found in humans and all mammals, the ECS helps us regulate many crucial functions, including:
- Appetite and metabolism
- Immune response
- Intra-cellular communication
In a very real sense, cannabinoids “speak the same language” as our bodies, eliciting powerful psychoactive and medical effects.
Different Types of Cannabis Flower: Cannabis Genetics 101
If you’ve ever visited any of our family of dispensaries, you may have seen cannabis products labeled “indica,” “sativa,” or “hybrid.” Here’s what these botanical terms mean:
- Indica: Indica plants are native to India and Central Asia, where they’re prized for their powerful psychoactive properties. They’re typically squat and bushy with short, densely bunched leaves.
- Sativa: Originally the hemp plants grown in Europe and Eurasia for fiber and seeds, these days “sativa” describes the tall, tree-like plants renowned for their energizing and stimulating properties.
- Hybrid: A cross between indica and sativa varieties of cannabis, hybrids combine specific aspects of both to create intriguing new possibilities.
How to Enjoy Marijuana: Cannabis Flower Smoking Methods
Even if smoking cannabis flower is the oldest form of consumption, there are a number of ways to go about inhaling the active ingredients in the plant. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Joints and Blunts: A tightly rolled cigarette containing ground cannabis flower, joints offer fast-acting effects in a small and portable package. A blunt is a variation in which a cigar is carefully slit open, most of the tobacco removed, and replaced with ground flower cannabis.
- Pipes and Bongs: Cannabis flower can also be ground or crumbled and smoked through a hand-held pipe, a water pipe (aka “bong”), or some other device that allows you to ignite the plant matter and inhale its smoke.
- Vaporizers: Vaporizers heat either ground cannabis flower or cannabis concentrate just to the point at which the cannabinoids become volatile. Instead of producing smoke, they emit a cooling mist that’s easy on our lungs.
Cannabis Flower FAQs
Q: Is cannabis flower the same as buds?
A: Yes. They’re both names for the dried plant product most of us know as “marijuana.”
Q: Does cannabis flower go bad?
A: No. But over time, the THC in flower tends to degrade and become less potent. If your marijuana flowers have faded to a dull green and are no longer fragrant, it’s a good sign they’re past their prime. Cannabis flower should be stored in a cool, dark, relatively dry and secure place.
Q: Does THC get you high?
A: Yes. The cannabinoid—or “active ingredient”—in cannabis that produces an intoxicating psychoactivity is called THC. Flower can also contain CBD, a cannabinoid that imparts several medically useful effects without intoxication.
Flower and More: Shop Cannabis Products with Mission
Marijuana flowers are the most classic and quintessential way of consuming the plant, and continue to be one of the most popular products amongst consumers and patients alike.
With a family of dispensaries spanning Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan, Mission has become a trusted source for high-THC flower and the exciting assortment of cannabis products that are derived from it.
Just choose the dispensary closest to you and browse our expansive selection. Better yet, we invite you to visit us in person and ask your friendly budtender for tips on selecting the best cannabis flower for you. We hope to see you soon!