The historic use of hemp can be traced back thousands of years. Once considered one of the most helpful, versatile, and useful crops, what we use to make CBD was once used primarily for the production of rope, paper, fiber, fuel, and even fabric. With a history dating back to 8000 B.C. in Mesopotamian Turkey, hemp continues to thrive in today’s modern world albeit in a slightly different form: harvestable cannabidiol.
Let’s explore the wonderful world of CBD, cannabis seeds, and indoor / outdoor cultivation. Our goal today will be to properly understand how to cultivate, harvest, and enjoy it from the comfort of our home garden.
What Exactly Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found within the cannabis plant. As one of 113 presently identified compounds, cannabidiol is known for its potency and importance to the overall consumption experience. Hemp works alongside THC to make up nearly 40 percent of the plant’s total extract, helping relieve users from symptoms pertaining to pain, anxiety, and even inflammation, in some studies.
Cannabidiol has been used historically to provide relief to individuals across continents and eras. In China, the Sung dynasty (500 A.D.) turned to the harvesting of the material for the production of cloth. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Shen Nung embraced cannabis tea as a source of relief for ailments including gout, memory problems, malaria, and rheumatism.
The medicinal use of marijuana would spread throughout Asia as its cultivation and harvesting became more commonplace, eventually spreading throughout the world.
How Does CBD Benefit the Human Body?
Cannabidiol is found within cannabis as a compound that accounts for up to 40 percent of its total bodily extract. Known for helping individuals with symptoms pertaining to pain and anxiety, clinical trials have been constant and abundant over the past 10 to 15 years.
One human trial showcased 60 men who received CBD orally as well as a placebo for its secondary control group. The results show that 300mg of cannabidiol is effective in significantly reducing the overall anxiety levels of speakers during the event one hour later. The placebo from the control group had little to no effect on any of the controlled test subjects.
Further clinical trials showed that larger doses of cannabidiol can reduce the resting blood pressure in men, an outcome furthered by stress tests.
While there is still much to learn about the overall efficacy of cannabidiol in treating conditions, preliminary studies show positive results.
When Is the Best Time to Harvest CBD?
Hemp is considered an annual plant, which means that it should grow from seed to blossom within 120 days before dying off to be planted again the next season. Impacted by seasonal and environmental fluctuations, your plants will stop growing upward as the days begin to shorten, and instead, they will begin focusing on the production of buds.
This all begins with a successful germination process, typically causing seeds to sprout within 12 to 36 hours.
As a result of the general timelines of the seasons, most outdoor growers will be looking to harvest their hemp at some point in October, also known as Croptober. Indoor farmers can enjoy Croptober around the year by manually adjusting their lighting, moisture, and planting cycles.
How Can I Harvest Smokable Hemp?
In 2014, the United States Senate passed the Farm Bill, which would end up permitting farmers to grow hemp crops for research. A few years later, the 2018 Farm Bill was introduced to expand the law, making the cultivation of hemp legal as long as farmers comply with rules set by their state of origin.
To make sure that you receive an acceptable final product, address the following parameters before harvest.
- Correct pH: Without the correct pH balance of your water and soil, your plants will not grow properly. Soil that is too alkaline or acidic will cause the plant to be deficient in nutrition.
- Water Levels: When grown outdoors, a cultivation expert will feed their plant up to 20 inches of rainfall throughout its life cycle.
- Proper Environment: Hemp thrives when grown in a semi-humid environment with temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Harvest by Hand
It is possible, albeit time-consuming, to collect by hand. For the purposes of growing smokable flowers or CBD extraction, chopping plants by hand may be the best way to ensure the integrity of each plant. A small farm or a lack of machinery may make working by hand one of the better ways to approach your harvest. Make sure to wear gloves while utilizing proper trimming and cutting tools to ensure clean separation from the plant. Once harvested, make sure to carefully transport the buds to their final destination for drying and ultimately curing.
Harvesting by hand can be an up-close, sticky, and time-consuming process, but it is also wildly effective. Hand-harvesting allows farmers to get closer to their crops as well to analyze the results of their work.
Harvest by Combine
For larger harvests, embrace the use of a combine. Combines can cut swaths through fields up to 40 feet wide and can make a commercial operation operate like a well-oiled machine. With that said, heavy machinery brings about its risks to the harvesting equation as it can shatter seeds, cause microbial contamination, or even flatten your plants in the ground. When considering the use of a combine to cultivate cannabidiol, consult with a professional to see if your field is fit for swathing potential.
Tips and Tricks
When harvesting by hand, it is important to begin in the area of your grow where the flowers are the largest and most dense. Traditionally, plants spend the most time and energy developing resin and trichome production on larger buds to create better and more powerful effects.
It is advised that growers aim to harvest their plants by hand in 1- to 2-foot sections, primarily targeting the upper flowers. According to the labor force at Swan Lake Farms, 15 people could harvest up to 6 acres of hemp flowers per day.