Site icon Plain Jane CBD

What is a Top-Shelf Hemp Flower


We see this almost everywhere there is hemp flower. Top shelf hemp flower sounds nice and high quality. But what does it mean? Is it just more industry jargon? This article describes precisely what this commonly used (and misused) CBD flower term means.

More Than Just a Fancy Term

You may think that top-shelf is thrown around by sellers and CBD enthusiasts as just another descriptive phrase. Far from it, Top-shelf is an actual designation of CBD flowers that tells you something about their quality.

As a quality parameter, it is something that flowers and strains are measured against. Hence, it is only natural that some flowers fail to live up to this standard. It is a quality measurement with specific, well-defined parameters used as a benchmark.

How is Hemp Quality Measured?

The quality of any hemp flower is based on a few different criteria. The quality measurement is based on how a strain and batch performed across these aspects. Not surprisingly, it includes all major features of a CBD flower, including its potency, taste, aroma, and visual aesthetic.

Let’s look at each of these aspects to understand it better.


Premium quality hemp flowers should have a high concentration of primary cannabinoids like CBD. It should produce a discernible effect with just one or two tokes. Without this high concentration of active cannabinoids that creates a distinct impact on the user, it cannot be called top-shelf quality. So if you are not experiencing cannabinoid effects that are both rich and complex, you are likely not using top-shelf hemp.

Terpene Profile

Premium hemp should have a strong aromatic presence that fills up a room when you open a bag or a container of it. It should smell pleasant and enticing enough to make you want to take a bite out of it. These aromas occur because of unique flavor molecules called terpenes.

There are many different terpenes, and they are responsible for all the natural flavors and aromas that we experience in the plant kingdom. All fruits, flowers, and aromatic herbs contain terpenes.

Premium hemp flowers are no exception. They have a rich terpene profile that creates a unique aromatic presence for each strain. Terpenes are not just for the aroma; however, they are also responsible for many health benefits, a lot of which have been studied by scientists.

Terpenes also play a massive role in what is known as the “entourage effect,” where cannabinoids common and rare are helped by terpenes and each other to create a compound effect that exceeds the sum of its parts.

So, a rich terpene profile is a must for a flower or a strain to be classed as ‘top-shelf.’ It adds a significant dimension to the entire experience of smoking or vaping CBD hemp flowers.

Cannabinoid Profile

Apart from the concentration of common cannabinoids like CBD, the variety of different rare and beneficial cannabinoids is another point that is considered. Premium hemp flowers have a long list of naturally occurring and highly beneficial cannabinoids that work together to create the entourage effect, as mentioned earlier.

This is why reading through the lab analysis reports offered with each flower is essential. See if it has a lot of different cannabinoids and if they occur in sufficiently high concentrations. This is a sure sign of premium hemp flower worthy of being labeled as top-shelf CBD hemp.


As human beings, we cannot deny the attraction to something that looks visually appealing, and nothing appeals more than a beautifully grown natural hemp bud with all its colors and trichomes intact.

Getting to this level is hard work that starts from planning the grow patch to the harvesting and curing process. The aesthetic appeal of the flower can be enhanced or diminished at each step of the cultivation process, depending on the input from the farmers.

Colorful and attractive flowers are a significant score when labeling something as a top-shelf hemp flower.

Putting it All Together

As we have learned so far, creating a top-shelf hemp flower is no easy task. The cultivation and preservation must be top-notch for the flower to qualify. Then, genetics and breeding come into play.

High-quality seeds make high-quality flowers. Similarly, high-quality growing environments ensure that those seeds mature to their full potential. Many growers rely on highly controlled indoor growing operations where everything is controlled down to the last detail. Outdoor growers seek out special locations where the soil and climate conditions are exactly right for the kind of strains they are planning to produce.

The term top-shelf comes from the common shopkeeping practice of placing the most expensive items on the upper shelves. This was a practical step because these items usually moved the slowest, making it important to place cheaper, faster-moving items on the lower shelves so that they were easy to reach.


As long as a strain or flower is potent, rich in terpenes and cannabinoids, and looks amazing, it can be called top-shelf. Nothing less is acceptable.

Exit mobile version