At least 50 percent of hemp grown in the U.S. is used for its CBD content, according to Eric Steenstra of Vote Hemp, a hemp advocacy organization. What’s so special about CBD and what makes hemp such a good source of it?
While marijuana and hemp are both members of the Cannabis sativa family, they have different chemical makeups. They both contain a psychoactive called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces a “high” feeling, and a compound called cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive. However, hemp’s level of THC is often less than 0.3 percent, whereas marijuana’s THC content often exceeds 5 percent.
Here’s the tradeoff: Hemp has a higher level of CBD.
CBD might not give you that “high” sensation you experience thanks to THC, but it has its own unique effects that make it just as – if not more – desirable than a psychoactive. Whether in the form of CBD gummies or oils, the compound might have the following benefits:
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Reduces pain
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Treats acne
CBD’s benefits and its negative side effects are still being researched. Nevertheless, the potential benefits have led many people to consider growing hemp themselves.
Here are a Few Things to Consider Before Growing Hemp:
Make sure you are in the legality
Be sure to check local laws when it comes to growing hemp. Even in areas that legally allow you to grow this plant, you might need a license or to undergo a background check.
Growth Cycle of Hemp
Hemp tends to have a growth cycle of 108 to 120 days, which is a little longer than marijuana’s growth cycle. Hemp is also more flexible when it comes to its preferred climate.
Male versus Female Plants
Rather than getting started with seeds, it is often best to plant clones of non-pollinated female cannabis. These tend to have higher CBD levels than males and fertilized female plants. If necessary, you can start with seeds, but it can be difficult to find the right ones to ensure high CBD results.
Indoors or Outdoors?
Growing hemp outdoors allows you to produce more plants at a time, but pollination with nearby male hemp plants can keep you from your goal of high CBD results. Growing plants indoors, such as in a greenhouse, allows you to continue working on your plants despite seasonal challenges.
Hemp THC Levels
Finally, when it comes to legal hemp, THC levels shouldn’t exceed 0.3 percent. If THC levels are too high, the plant could be classified as marijuana, and you might be required to destroy it, depending on local laws.
Growing hemp can be a challenge, especially if you have space limitations. However, with some precautions and tips from hemp experts, you just might get this plant to work for you.