For many years, the cultivation of cannabis has been something of an outlaw skill. However, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, everyone can get in on the action. There are all kinds of farmers that are looking to cash in on the CBD trend, but many of them don’t have the expertise required to grow this delicate plant. Because hemp has been illegal for so many years, official sources of hemp-growing knowledge are few and far between. For this reason, and for the fact that it requires meticulous effort, the cultivation of hemp flower with high CBD content is considered to be something of an art form.
There are no common standards when it comes to hemp production. It seems that nearly every producer has different methods, and no two are exactly alike. This isn’t necessarily wrong because (let’s not forget): Hemp is a weed, which means it is capable of growing in less-than-ideal conditions. So while there is more than one way to grow a hemp plant, there are preferred methods of growing, protecting, trimming, and even storing in order to be left with a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing bud.
Sex Separation Adds an Element of Skill
When you are growing hemp for CBD, you will discard all of your male plants. Most plants are asexual, but hemp is one of the exceptions. The males will fertilize the females, and this will cause all of the plants to produce large amounts of seed. These seeds will be produced within the flowers themselves, leading to a situation where you have “more seed than weed.” Hemp farmers have to figure out when to separate and how best to go about the process. This adds an element of skill and creativity to the endeavor.
Growers Cannot Take Shortcuts
Unlike many other farmers, hemp farmers can’t take a lot of shortcuts. Things like harsh chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc. are considered off-limits in the world of hemp production. The kinds of people who buy medicinal CBD are usually the kind of people who want a natural and wholesome product. Chances are, that’s what attracted them to CBD in the first place.
Because of this, hemp farmers have to get a lot more creative when it comes to pest control and fertilization. There are many alternatives to pesticides, but the jury is out on which of them is the best. Things like wood ash and diatomaceous earth offer great potential, but a perfect solution has not yet been found. Thus, everyone does things in the way that seems best to them.
Trimming Flowers Is Best Done by Hand
When the hemp flowers are first removed from the plant, each one will have a layer of outer leaves. You don’t want this, as the core of the flower (known as the “bud”) will contain most of the plant’s CBD. Thus, you have to trim away the outer leaves and discard them. Although complex machines have been invented to handle this task, hand-trimming is still the best way to do it, and it definitely qualifies as an art form.
If the trimming of shrubbery constitutes an art form (and it does), then the trimming of hemp buds should be considered an art as well. After all, it’s basically the same process on a miniature scale. You see, those buds are covered in little sticky structures called trichomes, and these are where the majority of the plant’s CBD is stored. If too many of these trichomes are knocked off, the result is a product that is less potent.
Hand-trimming hemp flower is often quite hard for new growers, but it is the best way to produce a usable product. When you put it through the trimming machine, the rougher action will get rid of too many trichomes. As a result, premium producers of CBD don’t even use these things. Thus, for now, the trimming of hemp buds will remain a stylized art form.
Methods of Storing May Differ Between Suppliers
Some say that the harvest phase is what separates the good product from the inferior product. But even if two crops of hemp are of roughly equal quality when first picked from the plant, their quality won’t necessarily hold through the preservation process if not stored and transported correctly. This has also become part of the artistic side of hemp flower cultivation.
There are a lot of people who just cut it down, hang it up to dry, and then sell it. However, high-end growers have found all sorts of ways to preserve more of the natural flavor and smell. These proprietary methods vary among growers and can sometimes be used to tell one grower’s product from another.
As with any skill, the cultivation of hemp requires deep knowledge of farming, protection, trimming, and storing of this queen of weeds.