Cannabis isn’t nearly as new as it may seem with the growing industry. It has been cultivated by humans for over 12,000 years. Now that the government is loosening its reigns on the plant, America is excited to join the movement and grow these incredible plants.
While Americans are consuming now legal CBD products at an alarming rate, farmers are greatly intrigued by the potential profits. Here are four important factors to how CBD is grown.
1. Know Your Hemp Seeds
Like most things, better quality resources will result in better quality products. Good hemp seeds are most comfortably native throughout Europe and Canada. As the business keeps booming, farmers are testing whether the seeds can acclimate well to America. It’s been prohibited in America for close to 100 years so hemp is still making its way back into the mainstream, including seeds.
For pollination reasons, there is a preference for female plants. Therefore, wholesalers often sell feminized CBD hemp seeds. They produce higher levels of cannabinoids and steer away from THC. Naturally more expensive, these pre-sexed seeds will have a 99.9% chance of producing only female plants.
Another factor to keep in mind as you research is that CBD isn’t the only way to utilize industrial hemp crops. The three primary uses are for oil, seed, and fiber. The prohibition of hemp in the United States has been most eagerly challenged mainly for its use for oil, hence cannabidiol.
Cultivation for oil also happens to be the most difficult to farm and the most labor intensive. The balance between THC and CBD fluctuates and must be well monitored. More on this in Fact #4.
2. Perfect Conditions
Luckily for farmers and home-growers, the cannabis plant grows like a weed. To check if your agricultural options are good ground for growing, you can buy a soil test to test levels. Hemp thrives in soil with a pH of 6 – 7.5. The ideal time to plants seeds is after the remaining danger of frost has passed in early to mid-Spring.
More sun equals happy hemp. It can grow in as little as six hours of sunlight a day but more is always better with this plant. It also needs at least 20 – 30 inches of rainfall during its growth cycle. Once you establish your crop, it’s not a bad idea to do a crop rotation every four years to prevent disease build-up.
It’s been about four months and your plants are thriving. You’re ready to start making some money from it. For CBD extraction, hemp is best harvested in early to mid-Fall because the cannabinoid levels are at their highest. Both marijuana and hemp flowers are best when ripe and fully blossomed.
3. Your Hemp Plant’s Worth
Hemp farming profit per acre widely ranges because so many factors can affect your CBD yield. Cultivating agronomically uses methods and tools familiar to industrial farmers and ends up being cheaper with less risk. However, the horticultural method yields higher levels of CBD per acre and will make a better profit. Depending on your cultivation method and other various factors, a CBD crop could generate you somewhere between the huge range of $2,500 – $75,000 per acre.
On average, you can make about $25 – $35 per pound and each plant offers about one pound of CBD oil. For instance, if you can plant the average of 2,500 plants per acre, you’ll likely make around $60,000 per acre before all the monitoring, testing, and resources.
When farmers have a hemp farm that is 10, 20, 50, or more acres, the profit is quite significant. The greatest effect on that will be the purity of hemp (CBD) plants versus plants that have increased THC levels (marijuana). Some strains have upwards of 12 to 15 percent CBD by weight. CBD Companies are supposed to list the levels of CBD and THC of their products on Certificate of Analysis (COA) lab sheets, and evolutionCBD.com is known in the industry for accurately showcasing the purity of their products, for example.
The CBD industry is continuing to grow as the stigma around it dissipates. By 2022, reports show that this industry will be worth around $22 billion.
4. CBD Products are Legal (but not all the time)…
Marijuana (most known for producing weed) is the plant that states can’t agree on legalizing. It contains a mind-altering compound called THC, well-known for getting you “high.” CBD (cannabidiol) is the legal substance from cannabis that is exponentially filling everyday stores. It’s from a similar strand of cannabis called hemp, which contains no more than 0.3% of THC.
Grow a marijuana plant and hemp plant and farmers have both options, right? It’s not that cut and dry. Hemp plants can actually transform into THC-producing marijuana plants under the right circumstances.
Hemp plants can produce a hermaphrodite plant which is where male counterparts come in. When these two start mating, there is a much higher chance of generating THC and tainting the purity of the farm. Farmers must keep a close eye on emerging male plants and remove them before their pollen sacs burst and begin the process of pollination.
Imagine that cannabinoids (what CBD is primarily comprised of) are like sugar within the plant. They all hitchhike around the plants’ enzymes. Well, sometimes on that ride it reaches an opportunity to take its connecting ride from another enzyme: THC-a synthase or CBD-a synthase. The first route can genetically become THC while the other continues the route to CBD. This can naturally turn a hemp plant into a marijuana-like plant.
This can cause a serious detriment to farmers harvesting CBD because if a hemp plant produces more than 0.3% THC. This makes selling CBD to manufacturers nearly impossible to do legally without including traces of THC.
Depending on whether you grow your plants indoors or outdoors can determine the purity of your crops. Indoors, you can control your collection by growing only female hemp plants and creating more plants from a mother plant. Hemp is unlike most flowering plants and is produced as either male or female. A combination of parenting plants can activate dormant genes (such as those that produce THC) and recreate your offspring plant. Therefore, a farm of only female hemp plants is the safest way to sustain an almost entirely pure hemp harvest. They produce the highest quantities of cannabinoids and without pollination will stay that way. Once you grow them outdoors, pollination is a likely occurrence. A gust of wind has the power to spread those THC genes and transform plants into marijuana.
The United States is still in the process of learning how to work this industry. The CBD craze is budding quickly, and demand is high. Research is discovering many medicinal and recreational benefits from this plant. With such a profitable margin, it’s no wonder farmers are pouncing on the chance to produce these plants.