Why Does CBD Flower Taste Bad? – How to Avoid This Issue

View from the top looking down on a hemp flower plant.

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If you’re wondering why CBD flower can have a terrible flavor or a bad smell and what to do to avoid this issue, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more. 

CBD flower can taste bad for a variety of reasons, including its terpene and flavonoid content, poor growing conditions, incorrect curing, and bad genetics. In order to mitigate these issues, you may want to look to higher quality sellers, especially ones who grow their CBD indoors. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what gives CBD its particular flavor, as well as the nuances of how CBD flower can be botched during the growing period, so that you’ll know what to look for when making a CBD purchase.

What gives CBD flower its flavor?

A variety of factors give CBD flower its unique taste. The primary factors are the plant’s physical makeup and the chemicals it produces as it grows, namely its terpenes and flavonoids. Both play a role in many of the plant’s biological processes while also granting hemp its signature taste and scent profile.

Terpenes

Terpenes are a major player in creating flavor in CBD flower, especially strain-specific tastes. Terpenes are oils produced by a variety of plants that grant them a distinct aroma and taste, and they often play a role as a building block for many essential oils in a variety of plants and flowers. Lavender plants, pine trees and conifers, and even citrus plants create terpenes, which helps them to smell distinct. 

To some individuals, unfortunately, the terpenes in cannabis plants are not quite as delicious as the ones found in many of the other plant species notable for their terpene-derived taste. The smell alone of CBD flower is often described as skunky and earthy, while the flavor itself is often called bitter. While smoking cannabis may have a lot to do with altering the taste, much of the unique CBD flower taste is the result of its specific blend of terpenes, some of which might be somewhat earthy and skunky. 

Every strain of CBD flower has a slightly different taste thanks to its terpene profile, as there are a huge number of extant terpenes that combine in different ways in lots of different plants. For instance, some CBD strains feature myrcene, a terpene found in bitter plants like hops, quite prominently, while other strains might feature a more fruity terpene like limonene for a more citrus-y flavor.

Macro shot of a purple hemp flower bud covered in trichomes and orange hairs.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are another component which grant different strains of CBD their flavor and scent. They’re a class of phytonutrient found in a wide variety of plants, helping to carry out a number of vital processes, from helping plants root, grow, and attract pollinators to giving them their signature colors.

They are also powerful antioxidants that are well-known for their health benefits for humans, as they contribute to fighting free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules that have unpaired electrons that can sometimes cause damage in the body by stealing electrons from things like DNA, RNA, lipids, and proteins. Flavonoids help in your body’s defenses against free radicals. 

Flavonoids themselves are diverse in chemical structure, and the distinct make-up of these nutrients within a particular CBD plant or CBD strain can impact the flavor. While the general “weed-y” flavor of CBD flower is relatively the same between plants, more or less of certain flavonoids can create unique taste and scent profiles.

Reasons for poorly flavored CBD flower

Mass produced and/or improperly grown

Cannabis plants are hardy and able to withstand harsher environments than many other crop plants, but their taste and quality can be massively impacted by improper growing conditions or careless cultivators. Mass production of cannabis products or even just simple incompetence by growers may be to blame for the unpleasant smoking experience you might have had with CBD flower. 

For one thing, hemp is quite sensitive to the soil that it’s grown in. Cannabis is actually well-known for its ability to absorb toxins and minerals from the soil it’s grown in at a much faster and more effective rate than other plants. In the realm of ethical ecology, this is what is known as a “phytoremediator,” and hemp is beginning to be used by teams of ecologists to absorb toxins from polluted soil in order to allow for cleaner crops, living conditions, and water. 

Other uncontrolled conditions like sun, wind, pests, and other growing issues may also impact the final flavor of the product. For this reason, it may be best to opt for smaller CBD flower brands that grow their plants indoors and charge the proper amount for their product. Otherwise, you might end up with poor quality CBD flower as a result of outdoor growing, careless cultivation practices, and cost-cutting measures.

Cured incorrectly

Properly curing your CBD flower is one of the most vital parts to creating really any CBD product while also being the easiest way to botch the flavor and aroma of the flower. There’s a reason most CBD flower distributors place an emphasis on their curing practices in their marketing — CBD flower that has been cured at the wrong temperature, in the wrong conditions, or for the wrong amount of time can taste unpleasantly bitter and earthy. 

Curing is the process of slowly drawing out moisture from trimmed hemp buds after they have already been through an initial drying process. It involves careful manipulation of the environment in which the hemp buds are cured in order to work properly. High temperatures can easily denature terpenes, which impacts potency and taste, and further make the smoking experience unpleasant and sharp rather than smooth. Environments that are too humid, too, may cause trimmed hemp buds to potentially grow bacteria and mold, making the final product taste bad (and potentially harmful to your health!).

A room filled with mesh netting trays hung from the ceiling filled with hemp flower that's drying.

Bad genetics

Much of the flavor profile comes from the actual strain of the plant and how it has been grown to taste. The strain’s particular combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids will contribute to the final taste of the product. Long-time skilled hemp growers will have an easier time producing a high-quality product, as they have both the know-how, the time, and the cultivated strains in order to produce a plant that tastes and smells as good as it can. However, some growers may not be able to produce high-quality strains with great flavor profiles, creating a final product that may be potent and properly cured, but may simply have poor genetic makeup.

How to find great tasting CBD flower

In order to find great tasting CBD flower, you should look to indoor-grown strains. Growing indoors allows you to artificially create the perfect environment for cannabis plants which increases their quality substantially. Hemp plants are sensitive to their environment, and can pick up undesirable tastes from their growing conditions, including the presence of pests, not enough or too much water, poor quality soil, and the wrong amount of sun. While CBD flower that’s grown indoors might fetch a higher dollar, the extra cost is worth it for the amount of work that goes into growing.

One of our favorite sellers of carefully grown indoor hemp is Secret Nature, which offers a huge variety of unique CBD rich strains to choose from. All of their CBD flower is organically grown indoors, creating a perfect environment with no pesticides whatsoever. They have over 20 years of experience in cultivating cannabis, which means they’ve worked out all of the kinks that might be involved in creating a high-quality strain.

If you’re looking for other venues from which to purchase CBD, consider browsing our directory of products. Here, we offer a list of brands and products our staff loves for your ease of purchasing. Every seller listed is a high-quality reputable CBD producer that has consumer welfare in mind.

Secret Nature Indoor CBD Flower

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Secret Nature Indoor CBD Flower

Review Breakdown

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Review Breakdown

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Price vs Value 
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Quality – 5/5
Flavor – 5/5
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Takeaway: Your CBD Flower Doesn’t Need to Taste Bad

Flavonoids and terpenes, which are both very common and healthy parts of many plants, are what give CBD flower its unique flavor. But when that flavor isn’t quite right, there are a few things that could be causing a bad taste and bad smell.

Your CBD flower may taste bad because it was poorly grown and poorly treated. For example, it may have pesticides, or it may have been cured incorrectly. This happens often when CBD flower is mass produced and proper care isn’t placed into each plant. Another possible reason is simply bad genetics, or a poorer quality plant. 

If you want CBD flower that tastes great, try buying indoor hemp that is clear of pesticides and poor-tasting water. We’ve assembled a directory of all the most trustworthy, great tasting brands on the CBD market. You can access it for free here.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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