How to best grow Hemp for CBD

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So you're thinking of growing hemp for CBD and now need to determine how to get started? A rational farmer might assume that if you want to start growing plants, then the process will begin with a seed. But just like there are still some traditionally farmed crops that do not originate from seed, you may not want to use seed for your hemp CBD grow either. 

Cannabis is a dioecious plant which means that its flowers are either male or female and usually not both (more on the alternative monecious characteristics in upcoming blogs). CBD is primarily stored in trichomes which are abundant in unpollinated female cannabis flowers. Alternatively, males produce no flower and females that have been fertilized by pollen will produce 50% or less of the normal cannabinoid value achieved in a female flower-only plant.  This is because the fertilized female plant will produce seed production, consuming the plants energy normally used in flower production. If you plant seeds instead of planting female clones, then approximately half of your crop will likely produce males; the average male to female ration in seed.  Since male plants do not produce flower, those male plants will contain insufficient cannabinoid value to extract.  The additional pollination of the female plants from male pollen would further reduce the cannabinoid yield and likely ruin your chances for a successful, high CBD harvest.

With any high CBD harvest comes the risk of THC production in your crop. The legal limit is 0.3% THC for hemp. Any higher and the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) or regulatory authority over most any United States Agricultural / Industrial Hemp program will consider it marijuana. Marijuana, though legal in Colorado and some other US states, requires different licensing and paperwork. In Colorado for instance, Marijuana is regulated by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). Your Hemp regulatory authority may / will require samples of your crop for testing.  If the test result is over 0.3% THC by weight, then that sample has failed (also referred to as “hot”) and the farmer is legally required to destroy the crop. The CDA kept records of all the varieties that went “hot” and presented their data in their “Industrial Hemp Year in Review presentation 2017” video uploaded to the Colorado Department of Agriculture YouTube Channel. (see screenshot – link: https://youtu.be/SKo06xyNCTw)

There were 769 failed acres in Colorado in 2017. That is 769 acres of loss that did not need to occur.  In addition to starting with the proper input, this is also why Greenhouse Growing System (GGS) offers laboratory testing to hemp farmers.  We test (and encourage others to test) all of our crops (indoor and outdoor) throughout the later stages of flowering to ensure THC levels are not elevating unexpectedly.  We will discuss in further blogs some of the many factors that can impact cannabinoid production in the plant, and specifically THC.  This is also why GGS offers FREE* potency testing for all clients who purchase in excess of 500 rooted units.

If you want your varieties to be tested before harvest, before cloning or any other time in your grow process, then we’re ready to help.