CBD and Sustainability

CBD and Sustainability
CBD and Sustainability | CBD4Beginners - all about the UK CBD market

How to be an ethical CBD consumer with an eye on sustainability

There is an increasing trend towards being ethical, informed, and responsible consumers—a tendency that affects our attitude towards CBD as well. While most of us are aware of Fairtrade products like coffee and chocolate that help growers get paid a fair wage for their crops, there are no similar global approaches for CBD. So, what can you do to ensure that you’re consuming CBD products that are grown following ethical practices?

This matters for more than ethical reasons: hemp is used for bioremediation—the process of cleaning up dirty soil by soaking up any pollutants from the ground. The last thing you want is for your CBD product to be made from hemp that’s laden with heavy metals and pesticides!

The CBD market is largely unsupervised, so it’s up to consumers to make the right choice and select a brand that delivers quality products while adhering to ethical growing processes. Read on to find out how to pick the right CBD product for you!

Growing CBD in a sustainable and responsible way

CBD is grown from industrial hemp. It is then processed into CBD oil and products. Just like other crops, CBD cultivation can be responsible and sustainable. By its nature, hemp is not a demanding crop and new varieties are displaying drought-resistant properties. Hemp requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides than other crops, which makes it a more manageable crop. As a whole, industrial hemp is less damaging to the environment, particularly if growers follow sustainable growing practices.

The major CBD growers in the world are Canada, the United States, China, and the European Union, with France being the leader in European industrial hemp production.

Growing industrial hemp is a promising industry but, like any other crop, it requires resources like water and fertilizers.

Water Usage

Hemp cultivation can be water-intensive, especially in regions with limited water resources. Unsustainable water use can strain local ecosystems and lead to water scarcity issues.

While hemp needs water to grow, it is far less water-demanding than cotton. This makes it a good substitute for cotton growers to limit the impact on water resources and aquifers. Hemp grown in areas with plenty of rainfall is better because it impacts less the water level and is a more sustainable crop.

As water shortages and drought are becoming more common, growers are looking into drought-resistant hemp varieties. Research shows that industrial hemp has “several drought resistance traits that allow it to thrive under water deficit, including deep roots and effective stomatal regulation.”

If drought-resistant hemp proves to be viable, it would mean that it could be grown in more marginal areas without endangering already fragile water environments. Industrial hemp production could also spread across more lands. This would lower the cost of cultivating it and, ultimately, the cost of producing CBD products.

Pesticides and chemicals

Like other crops, hemp benefits from rich soils but generally requires fewer chemicals and pesticides than other crops. When comparing growing industrial hemp and cotton, hemp is more environmentally friendly and needs fewer fertilizers.

Interestingly, industrial hemp has been categorized as a bioremediating crop. Thanks to its deep roots, hemp sucks chemicals and heavy metals from the ground such as mercury and arsenic, and traps them in its roots. Since hemp is an annual crop, it is pulled off the ground, which means that the harmful chemicals and heavy metals are thus removed from the soil.

Industrial hemp is often used as a natural way to clean up dirty soil after heavy pesticide use, as successive hemp crops can make the soil healthier and less harmful. Its bioremediating properties are so great that it was used after the Chornobyl nuclear disaster to remove soil contaminants and radiation.  

All that is good and great, until some unscrupulous CBD producer buys polluted hemp at a sharp discount and uses it for their CBD products. To avoid buying such products, choose sustainable and healthy CBD products from well-known brands (check out our reviews of the best CBD brands in the UK here).

You may also opt for organically grown hemp. Nobody wants their CBD to come from soil that was contaminated with chemicals and other harmful compounds that were sucked into the crop’s roots. Organic farming practices eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which helps promote soil health and reduces the ecological impact of growing crops.

Industrial hemp’s other uses

CBD is made from the flowers and leaves of industrial hemp. On the other hand, hemp seed oil is produced from the flower seeds. The rest of the plant can be used for other purposes, which limits how much of the plant is discarded. The less waste, the better it is for the environment.

According to the European Commission, industrial hemp is perfect for the textile industry and well suited to making textiles and ropes. It is considered a greener and more sustainable option than cotton or other fibres.

Industrial hemp is also used for construction as it has great insulating properties. It is also used in concrete.

Hemp can also be used to make hemp flour, which comes with its own uses and health benefits.

Finally, hemp is used in the paper industry: the stalks require less bleaching and chemical processing compared to wood. Novel uses of hemp include car manufacturing, railway, aviation, and even aerospace.

All these uses matter because, thanks to research and new applications, we can utilize the whole hemp crop with minimal waste.

Consumer Awareness and Demand

CBD manufacturers and producers can help improve the CBD market by adopting friendlier processing and packaging processes. They can choose growers who are responsible, make sure their packaging is recyclable, and run third-party lab tests to check the final product and maximize consumer safety.

At the same time, consumers can encourage manufacturers to make these choices by demanding sustainably produced CBD products. This is already happening, as people become increasingly eco-conscious. As a result, CBD producers are gradually adopting more environmentally friendly practices and reaching out to industrial hemp growers who maximize the benefits of growing this crop.

One of the most impactful ways consumers can support sustainability is by making informed choices. The tips below explain how to do so.

Research Brands

There are so many CBD brands out there, that it’s easy to find hemp growers and CBD manufacturers that go the extra length to produce quality CBD products. Look for brands that openly share information about their sustainability and ethical sourcing practices.

For example, a hemp producer can give the hemp flowers and leaves to a CBD manufacturer and then sell the stalks to the paper industry. This person makes the best use of the whole crop and doesn’t waste anything. Also, an organic grower who cultivates hemp in a sustainable way is maximizing the benefits of hemp and CBD while doing their bit to help the environment. 

It’s good to research brands and find responsible and trustworthy hemp growers and CBD manufacturers who make excellent products with an eye to environmental responsibility and sustainability.

Ask Questions

Consumers have the right to know about the CBD product they choose to buy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to companies with questions about their supply chain and environmental commitments. Reputable brands will be transparent and willing to engage with concerned consumers.

You can ask them about their third-party lab tests and where you can check the batch and the relevant tests. Trustworthy brands upload their tests online according to the batch number.

Third-party lab tests are good for two reasons. Firstly, you know that the product is clean and free of chemicals and other harmful compounds. The other major reason is that a test gives you a clear picture of how much CBD and other cannabinoids are found in the product. It will also verify that THC is below the legal threshold of 0.2%. This will put your mind at ease that you won’t fail a drug test.  

Influence Industry Standards

By choosing sustainable and ethical CBD products and shopping at the best CBD stores in the UK, you contribute to the demand for higher industry standards. Over time, this demand can lead to industry-wide improvements in sourcing and production practices.

When a brand is doing well because it cares about how and where it sources its industrial hemp, similar brands will follow suit. Excellence attracts followers, making this the best way to help the CBD market become better self-regulated and more transparent.

Sustainable Consumption

Beyond CBD, adopt a sustainable lifestyle in general. As responsible consumers, we can reduce waste and conserve resources. When you buy a CBD product, store it in a dark and dry place and consume it within the recommended date.

If you already know the brand and CBD product type that best matches your expectations, purchase the quantity you need, and don’t buy any new CBD oil until you have finished your previous order. That way you are wasting very little.

Most CBD product packaging, including glass or plastic jars, is recyclable, which is another way to promote sustainability. You can also wash and repurpose CBD bottles or jars—reusing is even better than recycling.

Being responsible CBD consumers

Our role as responsible consumers is to drive change within the CBD industry and choose brands and producers that follow sustainable practices.

By its nature, industrial hemp is a crop that’s easy to grow and doesn’t require immense quantities of fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals. With new varieties being less water-intensive, there is real scope for industrial hemp to become a major crop that gives us CBD but is also used for many other purposes. This means that there is less impact on the environment and the soil, and we use most of the crop, thus reducing waste.

Responsible consumers prioritize sustainability to support responsible businesses and contribute to a healthier planet. Industrial hemp is a highly promising crop that could easily replace more demanding crops like cotton. Thanks to its wonderful properties, hemp can be used in many industries and still give us plenty of CBD.

All that’s left is for you to make the right choices and find the right CBD product for you!

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