Hemp is a plant that has been used by humans for thousands of years. Its numerous uses are well-documented and with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill (an other similar bills in other countries), this usage will continue. Currently, hemp is being particularly tapped for fiber, cannabidiol (CBD) and grain. But what’s the difference between plants grown for these three products?
First of all, it must be noted that regardless of why it’s grown, all hemp in the United States is regulated under the same federal standards. In a nutshell, all hemp grown, processed distributed and sold must contain less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or it is considered marijuana.
Hemp cultivation for fiber and grain are similar. Growers plant them at a density of approximately 750,000 seeds per acre. With spacing like this, there is no room for weeds to survive. Also, the seeds are planted directly into the ground.
On the other hand, hemp grown for CBD is planted at a density of between 5,000 and 10,000 seeds per acre. Additionally, these seeds are usually started in a greenhouse and then transplanted into the ground after germination and a period of growth.
Another difference between CBD hemp and fiber/grain hemp is the seed pricing. CBD seeds fetch a higher price than hemp seeds because CBD seeds purportedly have a higher CBD content than fiber/grain seeds. However, CBD hemp seeds are more likely to produce crops that test over the .3% THC limit, which would require the farmer to destroy the entire crop or face marijuana criminal charges.
Because hemp is strongly associated with and often confused with marijuana, a stigma still remains around hemp production, even when the end product is destined for the grain and feed industries. In time, however, and with further legislation and regulation, this association with weed may one day disappear.
Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Industrialhemp.jpg