If you’ve grown high-THC cannabis plants, you may be curious about how similar the process is to developing high-CBD plants. CBD has remarkable properties that help to reduce pain and anxiety amongst other potential health benefits.
The major difference between high-THC, high-CBD and even hemp plants is the concentration of cannabinoids that they contain. Each strain of the cannabis plant is slightly different and has its own characteristics. Looking at high-CBD plants growing near potent THC strains, there may not be much difference visible to the eye.
Hemp and Marijuana
When it comes to cannabis, the U.S. government differentiates between hemp and marijuana. The type of cannabis that the federal government considers to be hemp, and therefore legal, is any plant that has less than 0.3% THC. Even if the strains look the same, the only thing that matters as far as federal legality is THC content. Hemp is legal on a federal level, while marijuana is only legal in some states.
Industrial hemp doesn’t need to be used exclusively for industrial purposes, so long as it doesn’t contain a THC concentration of more than 0.3%. If your cannabis plant exceeds that level of THC, however, it is considered marijuana and excluded from the definition of hemp. Historically, hemp plants are used to harvest fiber, produce fabric and a variety of health products, including seeds and oils.
Growing High-CBD Plants
If you want to grow your own CBD-heavy cannabis, you’ll need to start with the right type of strain. Genetics determines how much THC and CBD your plant will have, so be sure to select a strain that’s bred for high levels of CBD. Many popular strains of cannabis for recreational use have high THC levels and less than 1% CBD, making them poor choices for a CBD-focused yield.
If you’re looking to grow hemp, make sure your high-CBD strain has less than 0.3% THC. Also, be sure to buy your seeds from a trustworthy seed source, as to avoid bad batches and questionable customer service.
In most cases, you’ll grow your CBD plants just like other cannabis. If you’re growing outside, a few factors are associated with higher CBD levels, including:
- Warmer soil temperatures
- Warmer air
- Lower amounts of rain
If you are an indoor cannabis grower, you’ll want to keep the area warm and above 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results.
Harvesting and Extracting CBD
Make sure to harvest when your plants are ripe. If you let the cannabis continue to mature beyond the early harvest window, CBD can degrade, as can THC. However, some enjoy the high Cannabinol content (aka CBN) that comes with late-harvested buds. When you’re growing cannabis for yourself, you can test different harvest times to get the results you prefer.
When trimming your buds, you should also consider holding on to the leaves of a high-CBD crop. While their potency is much lower than that of the buds, the leaves can work well in CBD creams, oils and tinctures.