How Are Hemp-Based CBD Products Different?

How Are Hemp-Based CBD Products Different?

Posted by Jeff Talbot on Feb 15th 2014

You wouldn’t use old-growth redwood for making paper plates. The same goes for hemp.

Just because hemp doesn’t contain high amounts of THC doesn’t mean it has high levels of CBD.

Hemp grown for fiber and oil doesn’t need to be high in cannabinoids.

But if you’re in the CBD business, strains matters. So how do you know your supplier is using the best hemp cultivar for your business?

Location, Location, Location

The USDA announced in April they are taking over the regulation of hemp. The DEA was responsible until hemp lost it’s controlled substance status in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Handing the baton from one government agency to the next isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Every reputable exporter of hemp seed, the majority of which are in Europe and Canada, required a DEA permit number before buying from them.

Permits are no longer needed, making it difficult for newcomers to the industry looking for quality CBD hemp seeds.

Some farmers are growing concerned they won’t have enough seeds and clones for a successful crop this year.

We Need Genuine Cultivars

Because hemp is still a fresh crop to so many farmers, the domestication process isn’t complete.

Red delicious apples always taste the same. So do yellow cavendish bananas. These are cultivars.

By breeding plants for only the traits we want farmers can worry less about the possible outcome of their crop.

Plant stressors, like wind, can cause THC levels to rise. When the limit is 0.3%, a tenth of a percent can mean the difference between a successful crop and a mountain of debt.

Inexperienced farmers are being hit hard by seed scams. These farmers paid a 40% premium over the average price of hemp seed.

At a time when farmers are scrambling to get their hands on hemp seed, even at a dollar per seed, they should have been able to make some profit.

They took the biggest bet of their lives and lost. The combined $86,000 worth of seed ended up being a useless batch of male seeds.

Why does this matter?

Male Vs Female Hemp Plants

Male hemp plants are useless. Their uses are limited to industrial purposes, like construction materials.

They don’t produce anywhere near the same amount of CBD female plants do. On top of that, rogue pollen from male plants can end up pollinating nearby CBD hemp crops.

This is when one farmer's problem becomes their neighbors’ problem too. Pollination causes a female plant to lose half of its weight and 30% of its cannabinoids.

The plant siphons off energy from growing CBD-full flowers to make seeds.

So these farmers not only lost millions from their own dud crop, they lost another $5 million from the damage their pollen caused surrounding crops.

Inexperience Hurts Everyone in the CBD Industry…

Another lawsuit in the same state for more than twice as much is being fought out in court right now.

The plaintiff is hemp manufacturer Big Bush Farms. Like many manufacturers, they provide farmers with seed and a contract stating how much they’ll buy the resulting crop for.

The defendant, Boones Berry Farms, didn’t have any experience growing hemp. Big Bush ended up with 4,300 lbs of the 108,000 lbs they were promised.

How "Organic" is Your Hemp?

Hemp grows fast. So fast it outgrows weeds. It’s resistant to pests and tolerates most soil as long as it has nutrients and good drainage.

These unique characteristics make hemp the perfect crop for organic farming.

Unlike fruits and vegetables which need constant hands-on labor to keep away bugs and harvest, hemp farming is easier to automate.

Hemp Growing Conditions

Hemp is a hearty plant capable of growing in many environments. But to get a great CBD yield it takes farmers more work to get the conditions right.

Light, sandy soil is best because hemp plants have long tap roots that bring water up like an elephant’s trunk.

Some strains can handle more acidic soil, but most do best with a pH of around 6. For comparison, the potting soil you get at the store has a neutral pH of around 7.

The main reason some land isn’t suitable for hemp is its clay content. Clay holds on to too much water for hemp saplings to take root.

When hemp sprouts are first coming up, their head is as fragile as a newborn’s. The top center leaves spearhead the plant’s growth.

If anything damages this small node the plant dies.

When to Plant Hemp Crops

Because many hemp farmers grow other crops as well, planting time is often described in reference to other crops.

For example, corn has an almost identical planting time as hemp. Both do well once the soil reaches around 60°F.

So for a crop that grows as fast as hemp, it’s more important the soil meets the right nutrient and temperature levels rather than what month it is.

Seedlings start to show themselves in as little as a week. If a farmer is raising them for fiber they’ll plant as early in the season as possible.

CBD farmers, on the other hand, wait a little longer so the trunks of the plants don’t overgrow.

The plant can use its energy to grow big or make lots of cannabinoids, not both. Farmers can grow low maintenance hemp for fiber but the profits don’t come close to growing more delicate CBD-heavy strains.

Hemp Crop and Product Harvesting

Harvesting can be the most fragile part of CBD production. It’s during this time plants can grow fungus and mold during the drying process.

Trichomes are the little crystals you see on the flower of the plant. Trichomes hold the highest concentration of cannabinoids, including CBD.

It’s time to harvest when the crystals pick up a milky-white color.

Farmers test their crops towards the end of the growth cycle because a single percent change in CBD content can mean thousands or even millions in lost profits.

These cannabinoid content tests can cost thousands. Is it really worth a farmer’s limited budget?

Yes. Harvesting an acre of hemp with 7% CBD makes 10 lbs more oil than harvesting when the plant is only at 6%.

The average price for CBD oil is around $5/gram. 10 lbs of CBD oil means a $20,000 difference in the value of a hemp crop.

Drying Hemp Flowers

Removing the flowers right away is important to protect all the trichomes. Hemp has to dry at a lower temperature than you would use for tobacco.

Hemp flowers are more fragile and need to dry out at a slower pace and lower temperatures to preserve their cannabinoids.

The best temperature range is cool, but not cold, around 60° - 70°F. Humidity needs to be around 60% so the flowers don’t turn brittle.

Why Make Us Your Wholesale CBD Partner?

One of the most common mistakes manufacturers make during this process is failing to remove the flowers.

Instead, they hang the entire plant upside down, making a “closed umbrella” shape. This makes it hard for air to pass through leading to moisture buildup and mold.

Manufacturers can avoid this by breaking off the branches and hanging them individually. However, this takes a lot of labor and cuts into a CBD manufacturer’s bottom line.

That’s why it’s important to work with a Wholesale CBD partner who doesn’t cut corners. Silver Sparrow has the labor and machinery to make the highest quality CBD products every time. Join us now and grow your CBD Business with pride and confidence.