Obviously, seed lives matter. You’re going to want to plant a different cultivar if you’re growing hemp for fiber rather than seeds or flower for CBD. But even for hemp CBD, different parts of the country should require different seed strains depending on your microclimate’s humidity and other factors. Certified seeds have been validated by the Department of Ag as low, stable THC all the way to harvest. Various seed cultivars can be used to suit preferences and distinguish your harvest.
Being a farmer
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers can cultivate hemp with licensing and other regulations under their own state, or can apply to the USDA directly if their state does not have a license. Hemp acreage has tripled in each of the last two years; in 2018 it hit 80,000 acres, about 65k of which was grown for CBD. What does 2019 portend? As an example, Kentucky—a top 5 growing state—planted 6,700 acres in 2018, and has licensed 65,000 acres for 2019. If you’re a farmer, you should probably stick to farming, and leave the extracting to extractors (despite the dollars signs in your eyes at the prospect of going as vertical as you can).
Extracting it right
Extractions remove undesirable compounds and preserve the active terpenes and cannabinoids of the original plant. The science behind cannabis extraction has matured significantly, from age-old ethanol to clean supercritical CO2 methods and high-tech nanotech and liposomal means to deliver the active compounds more efficiently. Different solvents and deliverability methods can offer brands a variety of hemp products for different consumer demands.
Terpenes are hydrocarbon molecules that are responsible for the aromatics of fruits, flowers and spices. Pinene, limonene, myrcene, linalool and caryophyllene are just a few of the terps found in different concentrations in hemp chemovars that have been scientifically attributed to having anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, sleep-inducing, and mood-boosting therapeutic properties. Different process controls and other protocols in extraction and processing can help assure that the terpenes are not destroyed or compromised in every batch.
Learning about the endocannabinoid system
The ECS is a bodily system alongside the more well-known ones like the reproductive, respiratory or digestive systems. The ECS, though, is microscopically small, existing as locks and keys on the surface of cells. A network of locks (what scientists call receptors) respond to cannabis plant components – specifically THC and CBD. Cells respond to these two cannabinoids. In the case of THC, the brain gets buzzed. With CBD, the body gets re-centered (what scientists call homeostasis). And the endocannabinoid system responds to more than just cannabinoids. Omega-3 fatty acids, meditation and aromatherapy also seem to work
Finding a testing lab
Everybody needs to hire a third-party testing lab and test the material both when it comes into your possession and again when it leaves. This is especially true in a time of concerns over product integrity. Potenty testing, terpene profile testing, contaminants and toxins that may be present, microbiology concerns—and, of course, THC and CBD content—are all de rigeur items to be tested. Find a good lab, then do your downstream consumer a favor by implementing transparency practices by posting Certificate of Analysis results. Retailers, shoppers and vendors will be impressed, even if they can’t really make heads or tails of all those numbers.
Accessing the financial system
Banking is here for hemp, but only under some conditions. As for THC in the many states where it is legal in either medical or recreational spheres, those conditions are still unclear. Credit card processing is here on a limited, high-risk basis, and is more tenuous than banking. One of the benefits of the farm bill is that hemp farmers will now be able to apply for insurance. The Farm Bill’s December 2018 passage also led to a shift in the financial industry: At the end of the last quarter of 2018, there were 438 banks and 113 credit unions actively servicing cannabis businesses. By March 2019, those numbers grew to 493 and 140, respectively.
Teaching about hemp’s superfood status
Unlike marijuana and CBD products, the benefit from hemp as a superfood is derived from the seed, not the flower. Hemp is a great source of protein and omega-3s
Growing hemp to certified USDA organic standards will not only fetch farmers a premium but will also make this new U.S. commodity crop into an organic juggernaut—the way crops are supposed to be grown. Retailers can also use hemp CBD to reinforce the organic message. Consumers, of course, should certainly resonate with the organic way that hemp is grown, making this plant good for all and everything.
Identifying safe and reliable products
Every retailer should ask where the hemp is grown, growing practices, extraction methods, testing results. Retailers should also ask how brands can support a store, from education and samples to what the brand’s labels and website looks like. Not to be overlooked, retailers should check in with potential manufacturer brands to see if this new applicant has a savvy story to tell—something that makes them interesting