When it comes to making quality CBD oil, hemp cultivation matters. How hemp is grown impacts the therapeutic quality, cost, and social impact of the final CBD product in ways that might surprise you. Understanding the pros and cons of different growing methods can help new farmers decide how they will grow their hemp, business owners choose the best sources of high-quality CBD oil, and consumers find the best CBD products.
In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of the three primary hemp cultivation methods.
1. Outdoor Field-Grown Hemp
When most of us imaging growing crops, we envision rows upon rows of plants swaying in the wind, taking in the sunshine as they grow outdoors. Outdoor hemp crops are a good option when it comes to:
- Cost: With low overhead costs, field-grown hemp is the most economical option.
- Mass Production: More hemp can be grown at one time outdoors.
Yet field-grown hemp does come with a variety of drawbacks. These include:
- Single Growing Season: When grown outdoors, hemp only has one growing season each year.
- Uncontrolled Variability: Soil quality and PH, temperature, rain, and more can impact both the crop yield and the production of healthful plant compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenolic compounds. This leaves the farmer with little control over the final product.
- Heavy Metal and Toxin Contamination: Hemp cleans the soils in which it’s grown, absorbing heavy metals and toxins that are present there. These contaminants can remain in extracted CBD hemp oil.
- Lack of Strain Control: Different strains of hemp produce higher quantities of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients. Hemp plants grown outdoors must be those that do well in said environment, and these aren’t necessarily the ones that produce the highest quality resin for CBD extraction.
- Mold: If harvesting is not handled properly, mold can be introduced into the hemp plant.
2. Growing Hemp Indoors with Artificial Lights
Cannabis plants of both the marijuana and hemp varieties can be grown indoors using artificial lights. This type of cultivation offers certain benefits, including:
- Optimized Quality and Yield: Growing hemp indoors allows for the selection of strains that produce a cannabinoid-dense resin, as well as control over lighting, temperature, humidity, and other factors that can influence hemp quality.
- Multiple Strains: Farmers can grow multiple strains of hemp throughout the year.
- Year-Round Cultivation: Because indoor growing conditions are constant, hemp can be grown year-round.
When it comes to the drawbacks, you will find that indoor cultivation is:
- Expensive: This is the most expensive growing method.
- Labor Intensive: To ensure stable growing conditions, continual labor is necessary.
- Bad for the Environment: Lighting, temperature, and humidity is controlled using electricity, which is not environmentally friendly.
- Possibly Unsafe for Workers: Workers are exposed to wavelengths of light that have not been thoroughly studied in regard to long-term health effects.
- Molds and Pests: Indoor growth has the potential for pest and mold introduction.
3. Controlled Environment Hemp Growing in Greenhouses
Greenhouses are an exceedingly common way to cultivate cannabis. This popularity is thanks to similar benefits as indoor hemp cultivation with fewer drawbacks. Just like with indoor cultivation, greenhouses allow for:
- Optimized Quality and Yield
- Multiple Strains
- Year-Round Cultivation
Additionally, when compared to hemp grown indoors, growing hemp in greenhouses has the added benefits of:
- Moderate Overhead: While more expensive than field grown hemp, less labor and reduced electricity needs lead to lower costs than hemp grown indoors.
- Safe Working Conditions: Without the need to use as much artificial light as indoor cultivation, workers are not exposed to wavelengths of light whose safety is unknown.
- Less Energy Use: Less artificial light and heating is needed thanks to harnessing the energy from the sun.
The drawbacks of this type of cultivation include:
- Molds and Pests: Just as with indoor cultivation, mold and pests can be introduced.
- More Costly and Energy Intensive than Growing Outdoors: With the need for more equipment and climate control, greenhouse cultivation is more costly and uses more energy than does growing outdoors.
Which Cultivation Style is Best for Producing CBD Hemp Oil?
When producing CBD hemp oil for therapeutic purposes, it is important to take into consideration the quality of the hemp extract, the cost of the hemp production, and the social impact. When considering these three factors, controlled environment hemp grown in a greenhouse is the best option.
Hemp grown in greenhouses tends to result in a moderately priced, high-quality full spectrum hemp extract. Additionally, it is more environmentally friendly than that grown with indoor cultivation.