Friend Leaf, though still a relative newcomer to the CBD hemp marketplace, has all the tools to establish themselves as one of the true competitors for having some of the best hemp flower and sustainable company standards. Born in March, 2020, Friend Leaf is headquartered in New York City but partnered with multiple organic hemp farmers throughout Oregon.
Quality over quantity is something that comes to mind with Friend Leaf; their product selection is limited to just five strains of flower but the quality of that flower is remarkable. Fresh buds, vibrant aromas, fruity tastes and noticeable effects all come together to form a truly distinct experience. Each strain is available as an eighth, quarter, or in a pack of three pre-rolls. The cost of Friend Leaf is its biggest deterrent, competitors like Botany Farms, Cannaflower and Plain Jane all have lower prices.
Sustainability is a popular term amongst brands these days, ultimately it means what a company is doing to leave a positive imprint on the environment. Friend Leaf, even being in their infancy stages as a company, already puts a genuine focus on sustainability. Their shipping pouches are made from 100% recycled paper, their flower and pre-rolls are packaged in glass jars with aluminum lids, their farmers all use organic and regenerative farming practices and, to put the cherry on top, Friend Leaf is partnered with 1% For the Planet which is an organization of businesses donating at least 1% of their annual profits to environmental causes. Friend Leaf’s high price point suddenly becomes easier to stomach when you see some of their money is going towards spending extra on cleaner farming, better recyclable shipping materials and donations to important causes.
For this review we tested eighths of their Elektra and Sour Space Candy strains, as well as packs of their Hawaiian Haze and Oregon Guava hemp pre-rolls. Compared to others in the CBD marketplace, Friend Leaf has a product that ranks in the upper echelon of aroma, taste and effects. Their Elektra strain instantly became my favorite hemp flower ever smoked.
Cannabis newbies and veterans alike will find peace on the other end of a Friend Leaf hemp joint. The moment you unscrew the lid to their eco-friendly glass jars the smell of each bud jumps through the air and enters your nose. The senses quickly recognize this brand has quality flower; each whiff acts like an appetizer for the main course about to come. The flower burns smooth and easy, newcomers to CBD can enjoy a taste that isn’t harsh but mostly fruity. Each strain delivers a unique flavor, none of which upset the taste buds. For effects, I found using the jars of flower and rolling my own joints to be a bit more potent than the slim joints that come in their vials of pre-rolls. Friend Leaf’s flower was the best CBD flower I’ve ever smoked. It was the first time I immediately rolled myself a second CBD joint, simply due to how great it tasted and felt. I did that for both jars of flower.
Friend Leaf is quality all around but nothing quite compared to their jar of Elektra flower. The smell, taste and upbeat results instantly topped the list as my favorite CBD flower of all time. The positive effects were so immediate that I found myself rolling a second joint, I knew the happiness had to be extended further. This is a must try for any CBD fans, it’ll be a quick contender for your favorite hemp.
Friend Leaf CBD Flower: Elektra
Boogie woogie, woogie, it’s Elektra. It was hard to decide which pun to go with, honestly all of them are a disservice to a strain this incredible. Just take one visit to Elektra avenue and next thing you know, you’re higher. At 18.8% CBD, this is Friend Leaf’s most potent strain. Expect to feel submerged in relaxation while simultaneously experiencing a mental clarity that uplifts the mind and body. All it took was one Raw cone full of Elektra to experience all these effects. This is a perfect all-day strain, equally beneficial for winding down and staying active. The only negative is Friend Leaf’s pricing. Each eighth costs $30.60 while a quarter costs $49.30. These are summer sale prices and still somehow come in higher than the majority of competitors.
This jar of CBD flower functions quite simply. Just unscrew the aluminum top from the glass jar and voila, a couple fresh nugs of citrus smelling piney goodness are revealed. Just toss it into a grinder, pack it into an apparatus of your choosing and enjoy. The taste matches the sweet, earthy smell. You get flavors of citrus, vanilla and so much more. Effects come on quickly, before I finished my joint I found a large chunk of anxiety being temporarily lifted. The presentation is equally fulfilling. The lettering gives off woodstock vibes, is easy to read, and each jar contains a direct QR code to detailed lab reports.
The second best strain sent by Friend Leaf, and one of the most popular CBD strains around, is Sour Space Candy. It only falls short to Elektra in the potency category, yet still packs a punch of its own. This sungrow flower is another great all day option for sustained relaxation, increased euphoria and body-healing properties. All of their eighths are the same price, $30.60, which we noted earlier is on the higher end of CBD flower. You truly get what you pay for with Friend Leaf. To anyone who thinks CBD is a sham this would be the flower I recommend to help change their perspective.
Another simple glass jar containing unique smelling greens is how we’re introduced to Friend Leaf’s Sour Space Candy. The presentation and display contains funky lettering that brings disco tunes to mind but ultimately its simplicity and eco forward design shine through. The nugs grind easy and produce a fresh green flower that hits hard. The smell is zesty and gives way to a fruity flavor that crosses between apple, berries and lemongrass. While smoking a joint of this Sour Space Candy I was dealing with a bad stomach ache due to a long run and big lunch, before the joint finished burning all the stomach pain had subsided. My body truly felt stronger with this hemp in my system.
If one doesn’t want to buy an entire jar of Friend Leaf CBD flower they can opt for the pre-roll variations instead. Each joint contains 2/3 of a gram of pure hemp flower. One order comes with three prerolls, totaling two grams of flower. Much like their flower, these pre-rolls are perfect for quick all-day consumption. Already rolled for you, just spark them up and enjoy the calming effects while being surrounded with the smokey scents of a fruity Hawaii. The effects of the pre-rolls are far from intense, thus making them perfect for those new to the CBD landscape. Price is the only downfall for Friend Leaf. These glass vials of pre-rolls will cost you $22.10, in comparison Plain Jane offers a 3-pack of Hawaiian Haze joints for $13.99.
Pre-rolls are simplicity at its finest and arguably the easiest way to consume cannabis products. Friend Leaf’s CBD pre-rolls come in a medical looking glass vial, it’s easy to imagine a nurse drawing blood into each one. Or maybe that’s just my late night stoned mind. Regardless, Friend Leaf knocks the presentation out of the park. In a time where so many companies forgo quality aesthetic, Friend Leaf not only rises to the occasion but also does it in recyclable fashion. And when the cap twists off, the sweet candy-like scents of pineapple and mango greet your senses. Once smoked, they translate to even sweeter flavors which dance from the lungs to the mind and help slow down the racing thoughts of the day. One can expect an hour or so of enhanced relaxation.
Effects felt: Chill, pain relief, body buzz
Good for: Outdoor use, all hours of the day, calming down
Listed as an USDA certified organic flower, Friend Leaf’s Oregon Guava is clearly a strain they’re proud of. Oregon Guava is high in terpenes that are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, not only will your mind thank you, but your body will be pretty damn pleased as well. We sampled this strain in pre-roll form, each joint burned slowly and smoothly. Friend Leaf rolls their pre-rolls in the skinny Raw cones which is nice because I feel like a southern grandma smoking a Virginia Slim. I would say this strain was my least favorite of the bunch. It wasn’t bad, it’s just that all the others were that good. Plus, the high price of the pre-rolls at $22.10 has me favoring the $30 eighths instead. When you roll the joint yourself you’re not limited to the tiny boundaries of a slim Raw cone. You can pack it fatter and stronger, like a polish powerlifter.
I am a long running fan of the easy-to-use nature behind pre-rolls. I find them an incredible jumping point for those nervous about rolling their own joints. Friend Leaf is no different, all their products are easy to use, smoke and function on. Similar to the Hawaiian Haze, you get notes of tropical-type fruits and fresh zestiness. This strain was my least favorite tasting of the bunch but still came with no aftertaste and an overall pleasant smoking experience. Upon completing the joint in the morning, I felt some anxiety that I’d carried over from the night before completely dissipated. Some soreness in my knees from running also seemed to subside for the entirety of the buzz. It’s hard for me to recommend a strain outside of Elektra but Friend Leaf provided me with four quality products. I am thoroughly impressed with this New York City based brand and hope they can find a way to slightly get prices down. This is a company all should have the opportunity to try.