Growing Pains: How Hemp Farmers Help Make High-Quality CBD
CBD oil is made from hemp flowers and leaves. These are processed to extract the CBD and all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp.
Responsible hemp growers make sure they grow healthy plants that deliver all the wholesomeness of hemp. Crucially, they use hemp that is clean of heavy metals and chemicals.
These are not the only things a hemp grower considers when harvesting their buds and leaves, though. Just like for any other type of crop, the freshness and maturity of the plant is a decisive factor in the quality of the final product.
Countries that have legalised CBD flowers sell them over the counter. In the case of the United Kingdom, the sale of CBD flowers is still illegal, even if they are produced from industrial hemp that contains less than 0.2% of THC.
Even if CBD flowers can’t be sold in the UK, it’s good to know how hemp growers in the country and abroad make sure that we get the most potent CBD, brimming with helpful natural compounds.
Hemp flowers and hemp seeds: a big difference
There is some confusion when it comes to CBD oil and CBD seed oil. Technically speaking, producers shouldn’t speak of CBD seed oil because CBD is only produced from the flowers and leaves of hemp, where all cannabinoids and other botanical compounds are found.
Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is produced from the seeds of the hemp flower, as the name suggests. The hemp seeds are very much like sunflower seeds. They are pressed to produce an edible oil that can be used in salads.
Hemp seed oil has great antioxidant qualities and contains great quantities of Omega 3s and Omega 6s. It is also very moisturising, which is why it’s used in cosmetic products. However, hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any CBD because there are no cannabinoids in the hemp seeds.
When a hemp grower harvests the crop, they can harvest the flowers and leaves to produce CBD oil and press the seeds to make hemp seed oil.
CBD flower colour
The colour of the hemp flowers matters. Hemp flowers are green or have shades of purple. There is a small window of opportunity when the flower should be harvested, because they shouldn’t display red or brown hues.
The role of flavonoids
The colour should be vibrant and bright, not faded. Colour matters because the intensity of the CBD flower testifies to the presence of flavonoids. Flavonoids give fruit and flowers their colours. You may have heard that you should eat fruit and vegetables of different colours. The reason is that each colour comes from a different flavonoid.
Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds that help our body and mind stay young and disease-free. Flavonoids also combat free radicals which damage the body and are responsible for aging and various conditions and diseases. The more diverse flavonoids you consume, the more types of antioxidants your body is getting.
The hemp flowers the grower picks should have lively and vivid colours because that signifies that the CBD that will be produced will be packed with flavonoids and antioxidants.
CBD flower aromas
Most people who have tried CBD have associated it with the characteristic earthy, musky aroma of hemp. When you take CBD oil, however, you may discern other scents and aromas in the product as well.
When a hemp farmer picks the hemp flowers to turn them into CBD, the flowers should have strong aromas. CBD aromas matter because their presence is a tell-tale sign that there are terpenes in the oil.
Terpenes give all plants, fruits, and vegetables their characteristic aromas. Terpenes are categorized according to the aromas they deliver. Hemp flowers contain many terpenes, including myrcene, limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and others. Terpenes have been known to carry their own helpful potential and many have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties.
Terpenes work in tandem with cannabinoids and enhance each other’s potential. The more terpenes in the CBD, the stronger its beneficial effect. When freshly picked hemp flowers are aromatic, it means that the terpenes have had time to develop and the CBD oil produced will be more potent and beneficial.
CBD flower trichomes
If you look at a hemp flower from close by you will notice small hairs that are hanging around the flower. These hairs are called trichomes and typically look like they have a coat of dust or powdered sugar sprinkled on them.
Trichomes produce cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Therefore, you want them to be fully grown and matured at harvest so they have developed their full cannabinoid profile.
An experienced and caring hemp grower will harvest the flowers when the trichomes have turned milky instead of transparent but have not all gone yellowish amber-coloured. This is when they are at their best.
CBD flower structure
Another crucial aspect of quality hemp flowers is their shape. When hemp growers harvest the flowers, they should be tight and dense. Also, they shouldn’t have opened too much. When a flower has opened, it means that it is beyond maturation and may have lost some of its beneficial compounds.
Indoor or outdoor cultivation?
There are two ways to grow industrial hemp: outdoors in fields or indoors in a controlled environment.
Hemp grown outdoors
Hemp grown in fields is grown as an annual plant. It’s planted in spring and takes about three months to mature. Harvest is done in early autumn.
Outdoors hemp cultivation is more economical because there is no need for heating. The hemp plant takes in the minerals from the soil and photosynthesizes the sunlight.
This makes it the most affordable and environmentally responsible way to grow hemp. However, outdoor hemp cultivation can be uneven because soil and weather conditions can change. There is also the risk that extreme weather can damage the crop.
Hemp grown indoors
It’s feasible to grow hemp indoors under controlled conditions. Hemp production can be consecutive because light and temperature conditions can be adjusted to produce the right environment for a new crop of hemp every few months.
Hemp grown indoors offers a consistent crop because it’s much easier to control the growing environment and deliver the necessary nutrients, light, and water. Also, such growing methods can be implemented anywhere in the world.
However, indoors-grown hemp is more expensive and is not as responsible a choice from an environmental point of view.
You may hear claims that organic hemp is better than conventional hemp. This is because hemp is a bioremediator. It grows deep roots which suck heavy metals and chemicals from the soil.
Thanks to this, farmers have traditionally used hemp to remove pollutants from the soil and clean up their fields. No one wants to consume CBD produced from hemp that grew on land that contained arsenic, lead, mercury, or pesticides, and going organic is one way to ensure the CBD oil’s purity.
Responsible hemp growers
Hemp is a versatile plant that grows easily around the globe. You want the hemp used in your CBD product to be grown by responsible hemp growers. Industrial hemp cultivated in the United States, Canada, and the European Union is grown under strict legislation and according to excellent practices.
Hemp growers are licensed, keep track of their harvest, and follow stringent regulations. For example, when industrial hemp passes maturation, it can develop its THC content beyond the legal threshold. Responsible farmers check regularly the cannabinoid profile of their hemp crop before harvest to ensure that they will harvest hemp with the legal THC content.
Buy from responsible CBD producers
In the United Kingdom, hemp cultivation is not widespread. To add a further hurdle, hemp farmers are requested by law to discard the flowers and only keep the stalks and seeds of hemp. This means they are foregoing the potential to produce CBD, and all CBD products in the UK are produced from hemp grown outside the country.
This is an extra reason why you want to buy from responsible CBD producers who go to extra lengths to purchase hemp flowers from trustworthy and dedicated hemp farmers. Hemp growers who harvest the buds at the right time and under the best practices boost the quality of the final product.
Hemp growing should be done with care
Humanity has been growing hemp for millennia across the world. Hemp stalks were used to produce sails, ropes, and textiles long before cotton took hold. Industrial hemp only became rarer in the 20th century, after it was erroneously designated in the same category as marijuana.
It has only been in the last 30 years that hemp has started reclaiming its potential. Nowadays, growers harvest the buds for CBD products and the stalks for textiles and materials. As there is increasing concern about growing plants in the most responsible and reliable way, hemp growers are delivering excellent hemp for quality CBD products.
We hope to soon see a reversal of the disastrous policy that requires British farmers to destroy the most precious part of hemp when they could be producing worldwide-class CBD oil products from British-grown hemp.