At this point, everyone has probably already tried CBD edibles in some way, shape, or form. Specifically patronized by those who struggle to tolerate smoke, CBD edibles provide whole plant chemistry that’s fun, tasty, and undeniably convenient.
But what if you could enjoy whole plant chemistry straight from the source? We’re talking about eating raw CBD hemp flower as is. It’s a curious thought, but probably something you’ve wondered about in the past. And we’re here to answer all of your questions.
Is It Safe to Eat Raw CBD Hemp Flower?
Skip Ahead to Topic
Before you put anything in your mouth, you should probably ask about safety. In the case of raw hemp flowers, it might not seem like such a threat. It is a natural, plant-based product after all.
To be fair, that’s not necessarily false. The hemp flower is just essentially the buds of the hemp plant. They’re harvested and then cured from farms, with (ideally) no exposure to chemicals and pesticides.
Lots of vendors out there will even give you a detailed run-down of their hemp flower harvesting and handling process. This gives buyers the reassurance and confidence that the flower they buy doesn’t contain any dangerous chemicals.
So safety-wise, as long as you’re buying from a reputable source, it should be safe to eat raw hemp flowers. But is it effective?
Is Eating Hemp Flower Effective?
We would imagine that you’re looking to eat hemp flowers not because of flavor but because of the plant’s effects. Strongly believed to provide users a sense of calm, relaxation, and cognitive and physical wellness, hemp works wonders to target all sorts of discomfort and stress.
Unfortunately, however, simply eating the stuff might not produce the effects you’re hoping for. That’s because compounds in hemp need heat in order to activate (more on this later.)
However, some studies suggest that consuming raw hemp flower as is might give you access to certain precursor compounds that allegedly provide benefits in and of themselves. These are cannabinoid acids that exist in fresh, raw plants.
According to some researchers, consuming these cannabinoid acids could provide users with similar wellness benefits, although not as strong. Thus presently, activating these acids with heat remains the ideal course of action for taking a CBD flower dose.
What is Decarboxylation?
Now, we get into the science of it all. Decarboxylation is just a fancy term for ‘apply heat’. By subjecting hemp to heat, you remove a carboxyl group and substitute carbon dioxide. On a cellular level, this changes the cannabinoid acids into actual cannabinoids.
This family of activated organic compounds is what interacts with the cannabinoid receptors throughout the central nervous system. That’s why you’ll notice that most hemp-derived and infused products use heat at some step along the manufacturing process.
Without decarboxylation, you can’t get the signature benefits of hemp. Thus simply eating the raw flower doesn’t provide the same effects as eating edibles that have gone through the healing process.
At best, eating hemp flowers would be like getting a double portion of the fiber in a day. Sure, it might improve your digestive process and help you achieve some level of regularity. But other than that, you can’t expect those coveted hemp-induced benefits to override your system.
How CBD Edibles are Made
To better understand how decarboxylation works, let’s take a quick look into how edibles are made. Remember that every process of hemp flower use will require heat at some point. And the same goes for every kind of edible on the market.
For instance, gummies, chocolates, and even drinks use hemp flower extracts that come from heated, activated hemp flower samples. To do this, manufacturers break apart the flower and take away the stems, stalks, and seeds.
Then they lay out the flower on a metal sheet or baking pan which they then pop into an oven at a specific heat. Usually, it’s about 250°F. The heating process takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, after which the flower is taken out and placed soaking in high-proof alcohol or in a carrier oil.
The soak lasts for weeks to months, depending on the manufacturer’s process. This draws out the plant chemistry and infuses the liquid with the activated cannabinoids from the hemp samples.
This is then what brands and companies use to produce their infused edibles. Essentially, they’ll just cook up the ‘edible’ part as they normally would using standard recipes for things like cookies, brownies, chocolate bars, and gummy candy, with the sole exception of adding in their CBD extract to infuse the end product.
Are CBD Edibles Legal?
If we’re being technical, they’re not. Don’t get us wrong — hemp is definitely legal on the federal level. The 2018 Farm Bill made sure of that. Today, we know that hemp doesn’t contain enough THC to cause the symptoms of a high.
Therefore, with close to zero THC content, hemp shouldn’t have to be a controlled substance because it doesn’t work like marijuana does. So legality-wise, the herb itself definitely is.
Eating it, on the other hand, remains a gray area. The government legalized hemp without providing any instructions as to how people should use it. Basically, it’s just an agricultural commodity with no specific guidelines on use. That means they didn’t really tell anyone to eat the stuff.
And of course, the FDA hopped right on that concept. According to the Food and Drug Administration, hemp has not been assessed or approved as a food product or supplement. So the FDA makes sure to crack down on vendors who attempt to market their products as food, drinks, or supplements.
When it comes to what you do with hemp in your home, however, that’s entirely up to you and outside of the scope of the FDA’s jurisdiction.
Recipe Idea for Making CBD Edibles at Home
Looking to put your newfound knowledge to work? Here are some home kitchen recipes you can try:
- Heat up fruit juice and add 20mL of CBD extract or oil
- Add in some gelatin according to the ratios indicated on the packaging
- Pour into molds and wait to cool
- Pop out of the molds once solid and toss in some granulated sugar and citric acid for added flavor and texture
- Brew your usual tea and add a few drops of your CBD oil or extract
- Or alternatively, you can steep heated hemp flower leaves in hot water
- Add sweetener to taste. Consume immediately
- Melt 200g of butter at room temperature
- Add in 20mL of CBD extract or oil and mix until fully combined
- Form the butter into a bowl or a mold and place back in the fridge
- Use as you would regular butter or for baking
Unless your doctor has told you to up your fiber intake, there’s probably not sufficient reason to eat straight-up hemp flower. Instead, make sure to heat that stuff up, extract with oil or high-proof alcohol, and get creative. Who knows, you might just create the next CBD edible hype.