Testing your hemp crop is an inherently nerve-wracking proposition. Combine the words ‘testing’ and ‘labs’ and ‘government’ and that’s enough to keep many farmers awake at night.
But as serious farmers know…knowledge is power. In the case of hemp grown for CBD oil production, there are four things to consider when it comes to testing:
#1) Making sure your hemp crop doesn’t go over the federally accepted levels for THC.
#2) Getting the highest CBD percentage out of your crop.
#3) Using trusted labs and understanding the results of your test
#4) Setting up a testing regime and taking the knowledge you learned from you tests to improve your practices for next year
You test for THC because you have too! The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as…
“…the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol is what we call THC.
Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, simply different cultivars bred for different characteristics. Marijuana packs the THC punch, hemp doesn’t (but can produce minimal amounts of THC). Both plants will express a higher percentage of THC as they move through the growing process toward harvest.
It is possible for an ill-managed hemp crop to suddenly cross that magic .3 percent threshold and suddenly become ‘hot’ or essentially, seen as marijuana under the auspices of the (current) Farm Bill definition of hemp. Nobody wants that!
(This is also why you want to by certified hemp seed from a trusted seed dealer. Some strains of hemp are more likely to cross that THC level than others. More about that later!)
The THC Levels of your Hemp Crop Tells You When to Harvest
This is where your testing comes into play. Watching your THC levels (and knowing WHAT cannabinoids to watch – as there are numerous that are tested for) throughout the growing process is KEY to knowing when to harvest.
Done correctly, and frequently, testing creates a baseline of information, so you know when to harvest to make sure to avoid a ‘hot’ crop.
But…THC isn’t the only cannabinoid that is increasing during the life-cycle of your hemp crop, CBD is too. And THAT’S where testing can really make a difference in your bottom line.
Read all about that in Part Two of this series.
To get started testing your hemp crop, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
HempLogic, America’s largest vertically integrated company, started in 2015 with a belief in putting farmers and customers first. We provide ethical, trust-worthy and no-nonsense partnership to committed hemp farmers and industry partners. HempLogic offers certified hemp seeds, hemp farming education, contract, business and legal consulting, testing services, biomass brokering and drying capabilities.