A Quick History Of Smokable Hemp Flower In The UK

I’m blown away by the quality of CBD flower these days. Four years ago when I started High & Polite, the idea of smoking hemp buds for their CBD content had only just appeared in the collective zeitgeist. 

There was this dude called Wholesale Henry who used to sell dry and flaky Finola buds with about 6% CBD. 

I remember trying these for the first time and thinking, “this is pretty crap, but there is potential here”. I imagined a time when low-THC hemp could be expertly grown with high levels of CBD and terpenes. I imagined hemp buds looking dense and frosty, and smelling as good as high-THC weed. 

Finola hemp bud

High-grade hemp

Well, it’s now 2021 and my dreams have come true. While a number of vendors have faced visits from the police and trips to court over the years, a number have continued selling online and in physical stores. Some even seem to have received the blessing to operate from their local authorities.

Having been out of the country for the best part of the last year, I decided to see how the market had progressed by ordering a few strains of CBD flower from the top dogs in the industry. And I’m so impressed. 

First up, I ordered a few flavours from The Goods via HempElf. And what can I say? Their new strains have floored me with how good they are. Sweet Peach in particular looks as good as anything I’ve had THC-wise. And Shangri-la tastes divine. 

Sweet Peach by The Goods/Hemp Elf

Next, my buddy Mike from Hemp Hash offered to send me some samples of his Rochanna hemp tea collection. I received Limocello and Harlequin, and wow, they are the highest of high-grade. Harlequin looks 10/10 and Harlequin smells 10/10. 

Harlequin from Hemphash

There are a few other shops which have also caught my eye – most notably Aunt Mary’s Flowers, Natural Strains, Herbaleyes, and Paradise CBD. 

White Widow from Natural Strains

Overall, the quality of the hemp flower I’ve tried is top, top notch. Looks, smell and taste all on point. I’ll admit, the smell of THC flower still seems to have a danker, more piercing aroma, but these CBD varieties aren’t far off.

I also love the effects. I feel slightly buzzed yet still so clear minded. Body high without the racing mind.

US hemp

While most high-grade smokable hemp flower found in the UK is grown predominately in Switzerland and Italy, the Americans are also doing amazing things when it comes to CBD flower. Thanks to their 2018 Farm Bill, which legalises hemp across the board, the hemp flower industry over there has blossomed into the best in the world.

I’ve got some Pre 98 Bubba Kush from Herbal Arrangements and it’s simply phenomenal. It’s just as good, if not slightly better, than most of the strains available in the UK, largely thanks to the fact that US growers can have higher levels of THC in their plants. 

Pre 98 Bubba Kush from Herbal Arrangements in the US

Having a 0.2% THC limit makes it hard to get CBD levels higher than about 13% or so naturally – so I’m told by EU growers. US hemp is also generally a lot cheaper. I’ve ordered a few times from the US and had no problems with customs, although I am sure seizures happen occasionally. 

UK regulation

Considering the fact that smokable hemp flower is a very grey area when it comes to legality in the UK, I am excited for when/if it gets legally regulated. A few EU countries and the United States are leading the way when it comes to cultivation and we are seeing a significant and fast-growing demand for “cannabis light”. 

Limoncello from Hemphash

There is no reason for hemp and hemp flower to be restricted in any way. It has been used by our ancestors for generations and for many different reasons, including for food, industry and medicine. I have faith that a rational, common sense approach will prevail in due course. 


Hemp flower is a remarkable product. I find it more effective than CBD oil, as well as being very versatile. It helps people quit or reduce tobacco, THC, and other drugs. It can relive pain, anxiety and inflammation. It even reduces the anxiety and paranoia that THC commonly produces. It can also be smoked, vaped, brewed in tea, cooked with, or made into topicals and cosmetics. 

Sweet Peach from The Goods/Hemp Elf

The cannabis plant has been an incredibly useful ally to the human race for thousands and thousands of years. We may have outlawed it for the last few decades, but this is just a blip on the timeline, in my opinion. 

There is no sense in not making use of such a valuable tool. And, fortunately, there is somewhat of a renaissance underway in terms of appreciation for plant medicine that will only further highlight how much cannabis can benefit us. 

Shangri-La from The Goods/Hemp Elf

So, I say don’t wait until the government gives you permission to use it. If you don’t like the idea of getting high on THC, get yourself some hemp flower and see how it can help you.

Nature is the greatest healer and the cannabis plant is one of her most useful healing tools. Embrace it and you’ll enhance your life, and the world.

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