Let’s hear it for hemp! Undoubtedly one of the most useful and versatile crops ever planted, humans have used it and it’s byproducts for thousands of years as everything from food in seed form to some of the strongest ropes and cordage. Hemp has been cherished as a sturdy and reliable crop that is both good for the soil it grows in and wind pollinated. It can be used to make oil for lamps and flower and oils for CBD industry. Overall hemp has had over 25,000 different uses. Hemp is a truly remarkable plant! Here are some hemp farming facts to explain the nature of this revitalized and booming crop.
History of Hemp At a Glance
The first evidence that we have today of hemp being used by earlier humans is a piece of hemp cloth discovered in Mesopotamia (in the Middle East in present-day Iraq and Iran) and is dated to 8,000 BC!
Farmers in ancient China were among the first to cultivate the crop on a larger scale. As far back as 2,700 BC, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung had decreed that his people plant and grow the crop. The Chinese, as we remember, also invented paper using the woody part of the fiber mixed with bark and water. Here’s a brief timeline of hemp in human History.
- 8,000 BC Humans are processing hemp to create cloth
- 2700 BC China begins producing hemp on an empirical scale
- 1200 BC Hemp finds its way to mainland Europe
- 150 BC Chinese start making paper from hemp
- 1100 to 1400 Hemp is used to make sails for ships (the word canvas derives from cannabis
- 1553 AD Henry VIII forces all landowners of England to devote 1/4 acre to hemp cultivation
- 1620 the Puritan Pilgrims of the Mayflower land on Plymouth Rock and bring hemp cultivation to North America
- 1937 Hemp is taxed and burdened in the U.S. and Canada by the rise of the cotton gin and the association of hemp with marijuana
- 1970 the United States passes the Controlled Substances Act effectively eliminating the ability for a farmer to grow hemp for any purpose
- 2018 the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump signs the Farm Bill into law, allowing for the ban on hemp farming to end and ushering in a new age in hemp farming
Hemp Farming Facts: CBD From Farm to Bottle
When it comes to hemp farming, it obviously all starts with the seeds. This is particularly important as the seeds need to have been bred to contain less than %.03 percent of THC (the psychoactive property found in marijuana) in order to be allowed under the law for hemp growers. Seed availability is probably the biggest hurdle at the moment seeing as though the cultivation of such seeds has only been happening for a handful of years and the trend is to produce plants with 0.0 % THC.
The seed bottleneck has not, so far, prevented the industry from taking off in many states with heavy investments already being made everywhere from New York to Oregon and many states between.
Growing Plants for CBD Products
When planting hemp for CBD (Cannabidiol) products, the focus is on extracting CBD from the female plant for use in oils, salves, and tinctures. Anywhere from 1,100 to 1,600 individual plants can coexist on each acre that is planted. This is a far cry from the nearly 400,000 plants/acre of hemp grown for industrial purposes like cordage and bioplastics. However, the health market for CBD as absolutely exploded and it seems that with each passing year, new studies expand our knowledge of CBD and its uses.
Seeds for CBD plants are often started in a greenhouse, insuring that any other hemp plants don’t offer cross-pollination issues resulting in fewer female plants. Because of this concern, sowing technologies for harvesting plants once they are mature have not totally caught up to the needs of this industry. Cuttings from plants, on the other hand, offer greater gender and quality control while sacrificing plant size and overall yields.
Turning Hemp Flower into CBD Oil
Once the hemp plants have been cultivated and have reached maturity, the whole plants are harvested and processed in a variety of ways. Soaking the plants in an alcohol solvent is still one of the most common methods. Once the plant has been soaked the CBD leaches into the solvent which, upon evaporation, leaves only the precious CBD oil behind.
Alternatively, some newer techniques have been tested as the industry still attempts to define the most efficient and productive methods for CBD extraction. The Roto-Vap method utilizes reusable ethanol as a solvent and heats it up to further speed the extraction process.
CO2 extraction has recently found its way into the industry as well. This involves physically forcing CO2 through the mature plant to expel the CBD oil.
These are the types of methods used to create Roselli Farms Pet Tincture, for example.
What’s next for the CBD industry?
All of the data points to a continued renaissance in the hemp farming and increased popularity of CBD oils specifically. As banks and other institutions begin to soften their fears of this new, regulated industry we expect to see hemp and hemp product sales continue their fast climb. If you haven’t ever tried CBD products, check out our shop and see for yourself!