Do I Need a Grinder for CBD Flower?

Published December 05, 2022
Do I Need a Grinder for CBD Flower? - Secret Nature

You know that CBD flower isn’t exactly like weed, so does that mean you can also smoke it without grinding it first? Equally unfortunately for both veteran cannabis smokers who were hoping to ditch their grinders and newbie hemp users who’ve never ground buds before, you still need a grinder when you smoke CBD flower — even though you won’t get high.

Find out why you need a grinder for CBD flower in this guide, and learn the basics of grinding any type of cannabis bud. At the end, we’ll conclusively answer the question of the hour: Should I grind my CBD buds?

What is a grinder?

Herb grinders or just “grinders” are toothed devices used to break plant matter down into tiny pieces that are easy to handle and shape together. Most tea bags, as an example, contain leaves that have gone through a grinder, and grinders are also used to make cannabis and hemp easier and more rewarding to smoke.

Is CBD flower the same as weed?

Even though they contain different cannabinoids and offer considerably different effects, CBD flower and other forms of cannabis are the same in at least one capacity — they’re indistinguishable from each other by your unaided senses. Only with lab testing can you tell if a cannabis bud contains CBD, THC, or another cannabinoid entirely.

When it comes to handling and smoking, CBD flower and conventional cannabis are exactly the same. Regardless of the dominant cannabinoid your cannabis contains, you’ll need to grind your buds to enjoy them properly.

Do you need to grind CBD flower before you smoke it?

Yes, the fact that the THC in your cannabis has been replaced with CBD does not change the reality that you have to grind CBD flower — or any other kind of cannabis flower — before you smoke it. That is, if you want to smoke it effectively and avoid waste.

Not only do ground buds burn more evenly, but they also fit the shape of your bowl better, preventing spills. Even more importantly, grinding your buds increases the total surface area that can be touched by flame while also allowing better airflow during your draw, overall providing a more potent and smoother experience that won’t leave behind crusty little burnt “nuglets” at the bottom of your bowl.

How do you grind CBD flowers?

The best way to grind CBD flower is with a grinder. The types of grinders used for cannabis commonly range between $10 and $50, but you can find cheap acrylic grinders for as little as $2 or gold-plated options that cost thousands. Whichever tier of grinder you buy, you’ll follow the same basic steps, starting with assembling your grinder and understanding its parts:

  • All grinders except cheap acrylic options generally feature top, middle, and bottom sections along with a screw-off tray on the very bottom that catches trichomes that fall through as you grind.
  • The top and middle sections have interlocking teeth and usually clasp together magnetically for transportation and storage. On the interior surface of the middle section are a series of holes that allow ground flower to pass through into a chamber below.
  • This bottom chamber features a mesh floor that your buds will be sitting atop when you open the grinder to retrieve them. It’s through this mesh that dislodged trichomes pass, becoming “kief” as they layer on the metal tray at the very bottom of the grinder.

Now that you know what everything does, it’s time to learn what to do with your grinder for CBD flower:

  1. Attach the magnetic top to the middle section of the grinder.
  2. Screw the attached top and middle sections to the bottom section.
  3. Make sure the bottom section has its lower tray screwed on.
  4. Without unscrewing any of the other sections, pull the magnetic top off the grinder.
  5. You may need to break your nugs into a few smaller pieces by hand to fit them into the teeth of the grinder.
  6. Disperse your buds throughout the teeth of the grinder, leaving some empty space.
  7. Lightly rest the top of the grinder on the middle and lower sections, and gently press down while slowly starting to turn the top section.
  8. As the top of the grinder compresses down on its middle section, turn the top section back and forth more vigorously, engaging the blades within and allowing the ground flower to fall into the lower catchment section.
  9. Periodically pull the top of the grinder off and check the chamber. When the chamber is entirely empty, unscrew the middle section from the bottom section.
  10. Remove as much ground flower from the catchment area as you need to fill your bowl.
  11. Every few grinderfuls of flower, check the lowermost section to see how much kief has accumulated. Once you have a reasonable amount, use the provided tool to collect it, and use it to top your bowl for a super-powered smoking experience.

What kind of grinders for CBD flower are there?

There are two main kinds of grinders for CBD flower on the market: Those with kief trays and those without. If your grinder doesn’t have a kief tray, it will become very sticky over time, and it’s a sign your grinder is low-quality anyway.

Grinders without trays are usually made from acrylic plastic while those with trays are composed of aluminum or steel. The build quality of grinders varies considerably from model to model despite most options following the same basic design methodology.

Keep in mind that grinders for CBD flower are no different than grinders for other forms of cannabis. If you get desperate, you might be able to use a kitchen herb grinder in a pinch, but CBD flower is just as deserving of high-quality grinding as cannabis containing other cannabinoids.

Pros and cons of grinding CBD flower

Still not sure whether or not it’s worth it to grind your hemp flower? Let’s summarize the situation into a quick list of pros and cons:


  • Makes flower easier to smoke
  • Makes flower taste better
  • Less wasteful
  • Makes it easier to fill bowls
  • Pretty much impossible to roll joints without grinding


  • Takes a minute or two to do properly
  • You can lose your grinder
  • Grinders need to be cleaned occasionally

You’ll notice that there’s no merit to smoking CBD buds that haven’t been ground. The only benefit of not grinding your hemp is that there are fewer steps involved.

The bottom line: Should I grind my CBD buds?

Yes, if you don’t mind taking a minute out of your busy schedule and you want to have the best cannabis-smoking experience possible, you should certainly grind your CBD buds. While doing so requires keeping a grinder on hand whenever you want to smoke and cleaning it occasionally, we’re confident you’ll find that the benefits of properly grinding CBD flower far outweigh the costs.

Grinding CBD flower FAQ

Become an even greater expert at grinding CBD buds below:

1. How can you tell if a grinder is for CBD?

You don’t need a special grinder to grind CBD flower. Any grinder intended for use with cannabis will do the trick. Even though they contain a different cannabinoid, CBD buds have the same texture and consistency as conventional cannabis.

2. How do you grind CBD flowers without a grinder?

There are a few different ways you can grind CBD flowers even if you don’t have a grinder, and the first option is simply ripping the buds apart with your fingers. This approach ends up transferring a lot of cannabinoids to your hands while compressing the buds, leading to reduced potency and a less-efficient burn.

One approach that might work a bit better is taking an empty pill bottle and putting a quarter inside with your weed (make sure to wash the quarter first!). Then, shake the pill bottle for a minute or two.

When you open it up, the buds inside should be relatively cleanly broken up — though still nothing compared to what a real grinder can do. Some cannabis smokers even use coffee grinders to break up their buds, but again, the results are mixed.

3. Is hand-grinding better than a grinder for CBD flowers?

No, hand-grinding is certainly not superior to using a grinder for CBD flower or any other kind of cannabis. Grinders provide more consistent results and tastier smoke, and in the end, they actually reduce the amount of labor you have to put out.

4. Can you get kief from CBD flower?

Yes, grinding CBD flower produces kief just like grinding any other form of cannabis. The type of kief you can derive from CBD flower, however, won’t get you high.

5. Why is a grinder so important?

As a cannabis user, grinders are important to keep on hand since they make it more convenient and less wasteful to use cannabis while also improving the overall quality of your experience. Without a good grinder, you’ll be perpetually frustrated as you try to pick buds apart and pack them haphazardly into bowls. And, if you don’t have a grinder, don’t even try to roll a joint!

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