Hemp oil or CBD oil has become very popular and it is not something that very few have heard of. It already has an important place in the wellness industry. Derived from hemp plants, hemp oil has various applications in medicine, skincare and fitness.
If the term hemp oil makes some of you mistake it for hemp seed oil, know that they aren’t the same. Although both are extracted from hemp plants, hemp oil is extracted from the cannabinoid rich parts of the plant while hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of hemp that lack any cannabinoids.
Organic Farming Of Hemp
If you were to compare the quality of hemp oil derived from organically produced hemp and non-organically produced hemp, the former would undoubtedly be the one with better quality. The primary reason why organic farming of hemp is highly recommended is that the plant is a hyperaccumulator. It readily absorbs undesirable chemicals and metal toxins in the soil.
Here are the important steps in organic hemp farming.
Except for high mountain regions and desert climates, hemp is known to survive in almost every environment. However, warm-weather environments with well drained and fertile soils are generally regarded as ideal for hemp farming.
Avoid areas with extremely wet climates, as heavy rains can saturate the soil after rainfall. High fertility and low weed pressure are desirable soil features. Before you begin cultivation, get the soil tested for essential elements like potassium, sulfur and rock phosphate.
Sowing The Seeds
To ensure uniformity in seeding depths, prepare a shallow bed of soil. The soil has to be tilled well before planting the seeds. Choose the time of the year after the final frost for planting hemp so that the seeds germinate at the quickest pace and grow into plants with high yield potential.
The relative distance between the seeds can range up to four inches, depending on the yield you desire and the area of the field. The seeding depths should be between 1/2 and 3/4 inch. After the seeds are planted, roll and pack the soil.
Tending The Crops
Do not skip on irrigating the plants especially during the first six weeks because the plants are more drought-sensitive during the early days.
Organic farming practices necessitate the nutrition source of the crops to be organic. No chemical fertilizers or pesticides have to be used in the organic farming of hemp.
Hemp Oil Extraction
After the hemp plants have reached a stage of maturity with the optimum level of cannabinoids, they can be harvested for making hemp oil. There are different methods available for hemp oil extraction and each of them varies in terms of the extracting agents used and final purity level they guarantee. Take a look at some commonly used hemp oil extraction methods.
Owing to the high quality and purity level it guarantees, reputable manufacturers usually use CO2 extraction to derive hemp oil. Depending on the state of CO2 used in the process, CO2 extraction is of three types, namely supercritical, mid-critical and subcritical extraction. As for now, let us limit our discussion to supercritical extraction.
In supercritical CO2 extraction, CO2 is converted to a supercritical state (state between liquid and gas) to be used as an extraction agent. In commercial CO2 extraction, liquid CO2 acts as the starting point of the extraction. Gaseous CO2 is initially converted into a liquid by subjecting it to high pressure and low temperature. This liquid CO2 is then converted to a supercritical state by increasing pressure and temperature.
Hemp oil is extracted from plant matter by passing supercritical CO2 through it. The extreme conditions characteristic of supercritical CO2 extraction pull out all compounds from the plant matter including fats and waxes. They are removed by winterizing the crude hemp oil.
Ethanol extraction is another popular hemp oil extraction technique. Because it uses grain alcohol as the extracting solvent, traces of solvent remains in the hemp oil; although undesirable, it does not make the oil toxic. However, with some extraction techniques like butane extraction and propane extraction, things are different. The solvent traces in the hemp oil will make the oil toxic.
Ethanol extraction is of two types, room temperature and supercooled extraction. The former is more efficient than the latter although it will extract more waxes and pigments, thereby requiring de-waxing and clarification techniques.
The flammable nature of ethanol and the longer time required for the completion of extraction are the downsides of the process. While performing ethanol extraction at room pressure, you have to ensure that the temperature is tightly controlled.
Because alcohol is a polar solvent, it will extract alkaloids, chlorophyll and other water-soluble compounds. In order to avoid this scenario, dry plant matter is used in ethanol extraction of plants. The extraction does not require high pressure unlike butane extraction and CO2 extraction.
Every single process starting from hemp farming to hemp oil packaging is crucial in deciding oil quality. Deriving hemp oil from crops grown in polluted soils will affect the purity of hemp oil and adversely affect the health of the users. This is the primary reason why organically farmed hemp products are in high demand.