Shopping for hemp in virtual stores can be a confusing and intimidating process. You may be lost entirely on what’s a reasonable price, how to know which strains are ideal, and more. To help you out, here’s a definitive guide on what to expect as you learn how to buy hemp flower online.
How to identify high-quality hemp flower
First thing’s first: When shopping for hemp anywhere, whether online or in-person, you need to know how to tell if you’re looking at high-quality flower or cannabis derivatives.
While you can look for visual quality cues, eyeballing it isn’t the most reliable method for buying on the web. Although you can look for the following characteristics in the available product photos:
- Bud structure: The cannabis flowers’ density will vary, depending on the cultivar. For example, hemp plants are also organized into Sativa and Indica categories. Generally, Indicas will be somewhat densely packed. On the other hand, Sativas have more pistils (female flowers’ reproductive parts) and are relatively fluffy.
- Color: While you shouldn’t expect a bright, vibrant green, since the plant is dead, your hemp flower should not be drab and dull-looking. That’s a sign that it’s low-quality because of missteps in the cultivation or drying process (or both). Ideally, buds should be green – not brown. Other colors to avoid include:
One major thing to look for when shopping for hemp products online is a lab test. Suppliers offering only the highest-quality strains should have no problem providing a Certificate of Analysis that primarily outlines the flower’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and safety.
This is more crucial than you might realize. A readily available certificate ensures that you know what went into your hemp flower’s growth and development and confirms that your product is free of harmful substances like residual pesticides or hazardous bacteria.
The terms the dispensary uses for the products indicate quality as well. For instance, the following terms will let you know straight away if your chosen product is top-tier:
(Note that these are more often used for marijuana, which has 0.3% THC or more. You might not see these terms often used to describe hemp flower, but it’s helpful to know them nonetheless.)
When you finally pick up your buds (or have them delivered), note whether the flower is dry or coated in a healthy amount of resin. It should be slightly sticky, a rich green (can be light, dark, or in-between), and have a potent smell. That’s how you know it’s good stuff!
Cannabis product prices and weights
When learning how to shop for hemp online, one of the first things you’ll need to get the hang of is the price tags. What’s reasonable and what’s not?
It’s best to do some comparing and contrasting before diving into a purchase. This way, you won’t end up buying the high-end stuff at an astronomical price when you could’ve gotten an equally tasty and useful strain at a fraction of the cost. Luckily, hemp flower is usually significantly cheaper than marijuana – still, retailers vary greatly in price.
The usual weights and corresponding prices you’ll see when buying legal, THC-free cannabis products online include:
- 1 g: Normally, these range from about $5-15. This is the perfect amount for those looking to make one or two pre-rolls.
- ⅛ oz (about 3.5 g): You can reasonably expect these to be between $25-60, getting more expensive as you head eastward. An eighth of hemp flower is usually about two or three bud.
- Note: This is a good go-to weight. If you’ve never smoked or otherwise consumed hemp flower before, it’s a very beginner-friendly amount and perfect for those who want to microdose over a long period or who smoke a few times a day but don’t want to commit too much to a specific strain.
- ¼ oz (about 7 g): The usual rate for this weight is about $50-80.
Unless you’re planning on making homemade edibles or concentrates, there’s really no reason for you to buy more than 7 g of hemp flower. Steer clear unless you’ve got big plans to cook or share with your friends.
Keep in mind that pricing will change depending on where you are in the country. For instance, if you’re living in California, you might enjoy lower prices than in Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, or South Dakota, where hemp production is still illegal.
The hemp product’s brand might make it more or less expensive, too. Higher-end strains will definitely cost more than others, so be mindful of labels! The same goes for the strain. Some are more potent than others, and you might see a rise in price with a higher CBD concentration.
Risks of buying hemp online
Be very careful when shopping for hemp online. Although you and the vendor know you’re not doing anything illegal, mail carriers don’t always know the same right away. Hemp products are seized far too often when delivered via mail after online purchases, and some carriers won’t deliver them whatsoever.
In 2019, the New York Police Department seized over 106 lbs of legal hemp flower, claiming that it was marijuana, even though it only consisted of 0.14% THC, lower than the legal maximum. They even made an arrest for the supposed “bust.”
For this reason, some cannabis professionals suggest that consumers get their hemp flower and similar products shipped through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Their staff cannot open mail without probable cause, ensuring your legal security with every online purchase.
A few critical things to keep in mind when you’re shopping online for hemp flower are as follows:
- First, remember, you can buy hemp (cannabis strains with primarily cannabidiol, not THC) online, but not marijuana (which has more than 0.3% THC).
- Buying from reputable delivery networks. Look for past customer reviews, shipping practices (e.g., discrete shipping options), and other signs to verify good service.
- Consult platforms like Weedmaps to find out which dispensaries offer online ordering before pickup or delivery. Keep in mind that CBD shops might not show up on Weedmaps, since many people use this app for marijuana products.
Tips for buying and consuming CBD-rich hemp flower
Buying cannabis products online can get a little confusing if you don’t know what to expect. Here are some tips to get you up to speed and help you shop wisely.
How to scale hemp flower without a scale?
Weighing hemp flower without using a scale is very difficult and is not recommended. If you or your supplier is familiar with the specific strain you’re buying, you may be able to eyeball it based on the size of the flowers.
Still, each strain differs in flower size, and some may be denser than others. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be getting the exact amount you’re paying for.
Is it safe to ingest CBD or is it best used topically?
You can use CBD both as a topical and by consuming it in oil, capsule, or another concentrate form.
Researchers have found that using CBD in these ways typically results in fewer side effects than standard medications, and is great for the treatment of psychological disorders and pain.
Despite how scary and intimidating a venture may seem, shopping for hemp flower online may very well be one of the safest ways to purchase your herb.
Just make sure to read every detail in the product description and look for that Certificate of Analysis to ensure your cannabis experience is safe and positive.