CBD Flowers vs CBD Oil – What’s the difference?

CBD Flowers vs CBD Oil – What’s the difference?

  • CBD flowers are the buds of female hemp plants.
  • CBD oil and CBD flowers both derive from hemp and are sources of beneficial CBD.
  • CBD oil is legal, subject to regulatory constraints.
  • Naturecan does not sell CBD flowers or source its CBD from this part of the hemp plant.

CBD or cannabidiol is a natural plant compound that has disrupted the health and wellness landscape in recent years. It’s growing in popularity among people looking for a natural way to support wellbeing, and by 2025, the UK CBD market is expected to be worth almost £1 billion.

CBD oil and CBD flowers are both sources of CBD. CBD oil is made from hemp plant extracts and is legal in the UK. Contrastingly, CBD flowers are the unprocessed, whole buds of the hemp plant and are illegal.

The information surrounding CBD oil and CBD flowers is often unclear. So in this article, we’ll explore what these hemp products are and the laws surrounding their sale and use.

What are CBD flowers?

CBD flowers are the buds of female hemp plants. Their function is to allow hemp plants to reproduce through the production of seeds.

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that contains over 500 compounds, of which over 100 are cannabinoids. It’s particularly rich in the cannabinoid CBD. This non-intoxicating compound is garnering attention for its potential therapeutic benefits.

In the UK, hemp is legal, providing it contains less than 0.2% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the cannabinoid found primarily in marijuana that causes a ‘high’ sensation. While THC can significantly alter mood and perception, CBD cannot.

CBD flowers are a rich source of CBD. The flowers of hemp plants are typically sticky, dense and covered in hair-like structures called trichomes. These appendages are a primary area of cannabinoid and terpene production, although manufacturers can also extract CBD from the stalk, stems and leaves of the hemp plant.

People typically reap the benefits of CBD flowers through smoking or vaping.

Do CBD flowers make you high?

No, there is no potential for intoxication when using CBD flowers or any other CBD products.

However, some people may experience a wave of relaxation and calm, while others may feel uplifted and focused.

Is CBD flower legal?

No, CBD flowers are not legal. However, it’s legal to buy CBD oil and other products on the high street and online because they’re finished retail goods. The legal issues with CBD flowers are due to the laws and restrictions surrounding the cultivation of hemp plants.

In the UK, cultivation requires a licence that only permits fibre and seeds to be processed for commercial use. Therefore, the remaining parts of the hemp plant, including CBD flowers, must be destroyed, and none can leave the site.

Extracting CBD from CBD flowers and buds is illegal regardless of its THC content. 

CBD flowers effectively fall under the generic term of ‘cannabis’ and are therefore within the scope of the Misuse of Drugs Act along with other controlled substances. A reason for this is that because CBD flowers resemble those of illegal marijuana, it wouldn’t be possible for the police or other law enforcement agency to differentiate between them.

That said, it’s still possible to find CBD flowers for sale. Although it’s illegal, authorities are likely without the necessary resources to impose the law on these sellers. Furthermore, because of the massive expansion of the CBD markets in recent years, they may not be able to keep up with the ever-growing number of online and offline retailers.

Additionally, because CBD flowers are available on international websites, it may be challenging for local authorities to prevent their sale and importation.

Unlike in the UK, in many parts of Europe and some states in the USA, CBD flowers are legal. For example, in Switzerland, CBD flowers and other CBD products are widely sold and legal, providing they contain less than 1% THC. While in countries, including Albania, Belarus and Serbia, all CBD products including flowers, are illegal.

Likewise, in the USA, the law can be confusing. Federal and state laws require that industrial hemp has a THC concentration of less than 0.3%. Hemp, CBD flowers and CBD products are legal at the federal level, but legality varies by state. Not all states have passed laws permitting their use, and in some places, smoking or possessing hemp or CBD flowers could be illegal.

Evidently the legalities of CBD are somewhat convoluted. But, even if you can buy illegal CBD flowers in the UK, it’s not worth the risk as the consequences could be serious. Instead, you can experience the benefits of CBD through countless legal products, including CBD oil, capsules, edibles and topical creams.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is a blend of CBD and a carrier oil such as organic MCT oil. The market is flooded with a multitude of options, but finding a quality product isn’t always easy.

Broad-spectrum CBD oils are preferential products. They contain a broad range of beneficial hemp compounds, including CBD, terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids, but with only trace levels of THC. As a result, you’ll benefit from whole plant goodness and the entourage effect.

Research suggests that cannabinoids such as CBD might have favourable health benefits. If you’re experiencing issues with pain, inflammation or sleeping issues, you might find CBD oil a valuable addition to your daily routine. Likewise, people with anxiety could find it beneficial.

CBD exerts its positive effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoids system (ECS). This network of receptors and neurotransmitters helps regulate many essential functions, including stress, mood, pain and sleep.

Furthermore, CBD has no potential for addiction and is an all-natural way to enhance wellbeing.

Besides CBD oil, you can also find CBD in various forms, including topicals, capsules, edibles and gummies.

When searching for products, look for a third-party Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a certified laboratory that states the level of cannabinoids in the product. Any company committed to stringent testing, and quality standards should openly display this information.

Avoid any CBD oil brand that doesn’t provide this information as they could be selling inferior, low-quality products.

CBD flowers vs CBD oil: What’s the difference?

CBD flowers and CBD oil are both derived from the hemp plant. However, CBD flowers are taken directly from the hemp plant and are unprocessed, while CBD oil is extracted and illegal THC is eliminated, so that it is non-detectable.

CBD oil contains CBD extracted from the hemp plant, other important phytochemicals, flavonoids, terpenes and carrier oil. It may also contain flavourings and other ingredients. To deliver a superior product, the best CBD brands employ processes to remove any impurities from the finished CBD oil.

The cannabinoid isolation process means that CBD oil is a concentrated source of CBD — products may contain 40% CBD or more. In comparison, even CBD-dominant flowers contain only 5 to 15% CBD.

Both CBD flowers and CBD oil may act comparably in the body. No matter the source of the CBD, it interacts with the ECS to support correct cellular responses. Nevertheless, because the products are consumed differently, their benefits may take effect at varying speeds.

Ultimately, both products provide the therapeutic benefits of CBD, but CBD oil is the legal option.


CBD flowers are the buds of female hemp plants. Although hemp is legal in the UK, providing it contains less than 0.2% THC, CBD flowers are not. Therefore, even though CBD flowers are rich in CBD, manufacturers must extract the cannabinoid from other parts of the hemp plant to make CBD oil.

CBD oil is a finished product that’s legal in the UK. It’s a potent source of CBD that can help support health and wellbeing goals.

If you’d like to experience the multiple benefits of CBD oil, be sure to purchase from a reputable source that provides third-party lab testing results. Your health is an investment and selecting a quality CBD oil guarantees you the best results.

Why Naturecan doesn’t sell CBD flowers

As explained above, CBD flowers are classified as “cannabis” and fall within the scope of the Misuse of Drugs Act. This is in part because CBD flowers are similar in appearance to marijuana flowers, making it almost impossible for the police or other law enforcement agencies to distinguish between the two. As a result, CBD flowers are illegal in the UK and many European countries, regardless of their THC content. Furthermore, in the UK, it is also illegal to extract CBD from CBD flowers.

Naturecan is committed to producing safe, compliant and legal CBD products, and therefore does not sell CBD flowers or source CBD from this part of the hemp plant.

Disclaimer: There is currently insufficient evidence to support the use of CBD in the condition(s) mentioned above and this text by no means reflects recommended uses. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you are taking prescribed medication or are thinking of using CBD for your condition.

Written by Zia Sherrell and reviewed by our qualified expert, Moyra Cosgrove, Head of Nutrition at Naturecan, SENR Registered Nutritionist and DProf candidate at LJMU



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