Marijuana vs Hemp: It’s Why Hemp Manufacturing is so Complicated

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If you were to walk into a factory floor at a Hemp manufacturer’s office, you’d probably think you’d found a marijuana crop.

It’s because the two are next to indistinguishable to the average person. It’s this uncanniness that has gotten hemp into so much trouble over the years.

Challenges in Hemp Manufacturing

By now you know all about hemp in the construction industry. You’ve seen hemp Manufacturer’s rope at your local home improvement store. The art store in the mall even carries hemp canvas.

But what about all those hemp oil supplements? Some of them have Hemp-Based CBD, is that safe?

Hemp manufacturing has all sorts of industrial applications but what about eating it? Can something from a plant related to marijuana have health benefits without getting you high?

Absolutely! Hemp seeds have a rare trait among plants. Most plant-based protein sources aren’t complete.

Out of the nine amino acids we need for a healthy diet, most plant proteins have a few.

Hemp seeds are a complete vegan protein. Not only that, but compared to the resources it takes to get the equivalent in beef, hemp could literally save the world.

The Endocannabinoids System

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Why does THC cause euphoria while CBD oil doesn’t?

Relax. It’s not because your Hemp Manufacturer is short-changing you on the effects of CBD Oil. Think of our endocannabinoid system as a long hallway of locked doors. Cannabinoids act as the keys to different biological processes.

most people don’t know that our bodies actually produce their own cannabinoids.

That’s how foreign cannabinoids, like CBD, are able to have an effect on us. Not only can our endocannabinoid system receive our own native produced cannabinoids, but there is also a whole set of external cannabinoids to play with.

The receptors for these cannabinoids can be found all over the body, but there are higher concentrations in certain organs, like:

  • Hippocampus, regulates memory
  • Cerebral cortex, involved in processing thoughts
  • Cerebellum, controls movement and coordination
  • Basal ganglia, also involved in movement
  • Hypothalamus, controls feelings of hunger
  • Amygdala, controls emotions

Every animal species, even sea sponges, have an endocannabinoid system. The two main types of receptors in the human body are CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors inhabit your central nervous system, connective tissues, and glands while CB2 receptors cover places like your heart and spleen.

Dr. Dustin Sulak of Healer.com sums up the purpose of our endocannabinoid system:

“In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks,” Dr. Sulak explains, “but the goal is always the same: homeostasis.”

So, he’s saying that the endocannabinoid’s sole purpose is to keep our bodies in balance.That’s what that “Homeostatis” word means.

Male vs Female Hemp Plants

It’s a common misconception that hemp comes from male cannabis plants and marijuana from females.

Hemp plants have male and female counterparts just like marijuana plants. Female plants are often prized over male plants because they tend to contain higher concentrations of cannabinoids.

Hemp manufacturers often keep male plants away from female plants because pollinated females will start producing seed. This takes away from the cannabinoid production because the plant’s energy is now being focused on seed production.

That batch of seeds is a mixed bag of males and females, which is why most hemp manufacturing experts grow plants from cuttings of existing plants. This way, farmers end up with an exact “clone” of the parent plant instead of gambling on a new one. But any hemp manufacturer will tell you that the male hemp plants aren’t just for mulch.

Hemp Manufacturing Creams and Lotions

University of Connecticut researchers found a way to ensure all seeds from a pollinated hemp plant result in female seeds.

How?

Through an interesting process is known as “masculinization”. By forcing female plants to produce male flowers, the resulting pollen only contains the genetic information to create female seeds.

Where Does it Come From?

You already know hemp and marijuana are two different strains of the same plant, cannabis.

But how does that happen? How can the same plant produce intoxicating flowers full of THC while others contain next to none of the same chemical?

It all starts with trichomes. Trichomes are tiny little hair-like structures that grow all over the flower and other parts of the cannabis plant.

Trichomes can act as delivery systems for all kinds of cannabis compounds, called cannabinoids.

Smart Hemp Manufacturers know that some trichomes contain lots of THC, others hold CBD, and all plants have some mixture of the two, just like how all people have both testosterone and estrogen, just in different amounts.

Trichomes are broken down into two groups: those that produce resin containing cannabinoids and non-glandular hairs which serve no practical purpose.

Hemp Manufacturers Know the Difference

So how does a HEMP manufacturer know how much of each cannabinoid a plant has? Remember, Federal law limits industrial hemp to species with no more than 0.3% THC.

To do this we have to calculate the phenotype ratio. This is critical to a successful hemp crop because a phenotype with too much THC can’t be used in Hemp-Based CBD only products.

The good thing is there is a simple equation to figuring out the genetic makeup of a cannabis plant.

While there are many cannabinoids, to figure out the phenotype ratio we only need to focus on three of them: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabidiol (CBD).

By adding the percentage of THC and CBN and dividing by the amount of CBD, we get what is known as a phenotype ratio.

Hemp Manufacturing and Phenotypes

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Cannabis phenotypes are often broken down into four groups:

  • PHENOTYPE I: HEAVY AMOUNTS OF THC.
  • PHENOTYPE II: EQUAL AMOUNTS OF THC AND CBD
  • PHENOTYPE III: MORE CBD THAN THC WITH TRACE AMOUNTS OF CANNABICHROMENE (CBC).
  • PHENOTYPE III: MORE CBD THAN THC WITH TRACE AMOUNTS OF CANNABICHROMENE (CBC)

Technically, these aren’t things you need to know unless you’re an official Hemp Manufacturing Business. Consumers useing Hemp-Based CBD products have become more and more interested in these details with all the confusion between hemp and marijuana based products.

What is Cannabichromene (CBC)?

So both THC and CBD heavy strains contain this little-talked about compound CBC. What in the world is that?

It’s important for a hemp manufacturing expert to study these lesser-known cannabinoids in order to understand how to make the best Hemp-Based CBD supplements.

It’s why many products are labeled as “broad-spectrum” rather than selling CBD isolate. This combined effect of several cannabinoids interacting with each other is called the “entourage effect.

Hemp Manufacturing and CBC

When Cannabigerol (CBG) interacts with your internal endocannabinoid system, you get CBC.

As far back as 1980 scientists were aware of CBC’s potential as a less toxic alternative to phenylbutazone (PBX).

PBX is only used in veterinary medicine today because it can cause severe white blood cell damage in humans.

But at the time PBX was still prescribed to people as a remedy for painful joint problems, like arthritis and gout.

CBC was found to be just as effective as PBX. Not only that, since CBC lacks the toxicity PBX brings to the table, CBC can be prescribed in larger amounts.

Hemp Manufacturing and Terpenes

All cannabis strains, including hemp, contain terpenes.

What are those?

Terpenes come from the same glands on the plant that produces CBD. They’re oily and give hemp plants their unique smells and tastes.

Hemp Manufacturers know thatmost plants have some terpenes, so they’re not exclusive to cannabis. It’s why some strains might smell like lemon or other fruits.

Limonene is a common terpene among both cannabis and citrus. So that whiff of freshly zested lemon you smell from some cannabis really is the same smell as a fresh lemon.

And just like cannabinoids, hemp manufacturers add terpenes to alter the effects and taste of a CBD supplement.

In Nature, Terpenes serve two functions: keep away predators and welcome pollinators.

Cannabis Subspecies

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Hemp Manufacturers know that Cannabis strains high in psychoactive THC come in two groups: indica and sativa.

But there is a third subspecies of cannabis you don’t often hear of. It is more similar to industrial hemp in that it often has negligible amounts of THC.

So what is this mysterious strain of cannabis?

It’s cannabis ruderalis.

Ruderalis comes from the word ruderal. a ruderalis hemp plant can can survive in otherwise uninhabitable.

Think of the tulips in your flower bed. Without just the right amount of nutrients, water and sunlight they whither away fast.

But if you happened to grow a ruderal strain of tulips they’d keep growing regardless of the weather, like an unwanted weed.

Ruderalis is the same way. hemp manufacturing plants and hemp farmers are learning they can breed their crops with ruderalis to give their cannabis unique characteristics.

Cannabis ruderalis blooms faster than it takes to get through a line at the DMV. Within about 30 days of planting, ruderalis have their first bloom.

The stems are thick and sturdy and stay short, usually no more than 2-feet in height. a hemp or cannabis crop can inherit these traits with a little crossbreeding.

One of the most desirable traits hemp manufacturers raise ruderalis for is its ability to “autoflower”. That is, it begins flowering according to how far along in its life cycle it is.

Indica and sativa strains without this trait don’t flower until their light intake is adjusted. In nature, they’d be getting upwards of 14 hours a day of sunlight, which continues to shorten in anticipation of fall.

With the reduced sun time, strains of indica and sativa get their cue to begin flowering. It’s why these strains tend to grow much taller than ruderalis. They continue to grow until the amount of light they get triggers them to stop.

Why is CBD Getting so Much Attention?

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Now to the good stuff.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is without a doubt one of the most talked-about supplements at the moment.

From muffins to smoothies, you can find CBD added to just about anything these days.

even ancient people understood the benefits of cannabis. So, why does hemp manufacturing and cbd product use seem so new?

The 2018 Farm Bill lessened the restrictions on industrial hemp manufacturers and gave hemp the distinction of being a separate crop than marijuana.

This is good news if you’re a hemp manufacturer or another business in the CBD industry. It’s also good if you’re curious about incorporating CBD into your health regimen.

Why?

Industrial hemp has negligible amounts of THC and, depending on the seeds and strain, high amounts of CBD.

So we can get all the benefits of CBD without stripping the plant of all its other naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Why is this important? We mentioned the entourage effect earlier, but how do cannabinoids work together to provide a more potent effect?

One example is CBD’s soothing effects on the unfortunate paranoid side effect THC can have on patients.

Hemp Manufacturing and Cannabis Extraction

There are several ways to extract cannabinoids from hemp. It starts with picking the right strain of cannabis.

Fedora 17 is one of the most popular hemp strains because of it’s near non-existent THC levels while containing a significant amount of CBD.

Once you have your hemp, the cannabinoids can be extracted with one of the four materials:

  • Carbon dioxide (C02) 
  • Olive oil
  • Dry ice
  • Solvents

C02 extraction is by far the most preferred method of extracting CBD.

Why?

C02 doesn’t leave behind any chemical residue as solvents can. You can get the purest product and the highest yield using C02.

So how does it work?

A little about C02. We breathe out C02 in its gas form every time we inhale. We’re used to C02 in its gaseous form. but when you heat it and pressurize it!, that same C02 picks up superpowers!

By putting C02 in its supercritical form, meaning somewhere between gas and liquid, we can actually use it as a solvent.

When C02 is supercritical, it will expand to fill a container like a gas, but remain dense like a liquid.

Passing our hemp through this supercritical C02 all our CBD and other cannabinoids get sucked out of the plant like a vacuum pulling off just the parts we want.

C02 is what industrial hemp manufacturers, like Spring Creek Labs, use for processing large amounts of plant matter all at once.

It’s actually more cost-effective for a new company to work with a manufacturer like this because the startup costs are substantial.

A small setup can cost around $40,000. You’ll be way behind manufacturers with more than 10 times your max productivity.

So is there any way for a hemp enthusiast like yourself to experiment with extraction at home.

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Olive Oil Extraction

Yes, you can! While the olive oil extraction method isn’t efficient enough to be scalable for a large business, anyone with access to raw hemp plant can use this method.

It starts with a process called decarboxylation. Most cannabinoids are inactive in their natural state.

When it first comes out of the plant you have cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). By exposing this compound to heat, we get CBD.

When you heat hemp up to about 270℉, one of the plant’s carboxyl groups is removed, releasing carbon dioxide.

If CBD were an orange, CBDA would be its peel. Without removing it we can’t really enjoy the CBD underneath.

Once you’ve activated your cannabinoids your hemp is ready for the oil. Any high-fat oil will work olive, coconut, even sesame.

You can mix and match for different purposes, like using savory sesame oil for your CBD stir fry.

The mixture needs to be heated again, up to about 212℉ for several hours to extract as many cannabinoids as possible.

Dry Ice Extraction

This is another extraction method meant for small batches at home rather than industrial-sized runs.

It’s even easier than the olive oil method. You don’t even have to worry about decarboxylation.

You’d start by chopping up your hemp into small pieces. This is ready to go into the bucket with some chunks of dry ice.

All it takes is shaking the mixture for a few minutes to freeze the trichomes and knock them off the plant.

By turning the bucket over with a mesh bag over the top all the frozen trichomes come falling out.

They can then be collected and stored as a fine, sticky powder.

Solvents

Solvents provide an effective method of extraction but can leave traces behind. Butane is one of the most common contaminates in hemp products that used solvents during the extraction process.

Either ethanol or butane gets poured all over the plant matter to extract everything down to the chlorophyll.

Once the solvent has leached everything out of the hemp plant, it can be heated to evaporate all the solvent.

Only work with hemp manufacturers that don’t use solvents.

Experiments With Hemp Manufacturing Products

CBD Benefits Research

Researchers wanted to find out if CBD could be a viable alternative to more conventional medicines. In a trial of 120 children and young adults, participants were given either given a dose of CBD or a placebo.

you’ll have to read the results for yourself and see what happened.

When researchers first found endocannabinoid receptors for THC, they were dumbfounded.

Why would we have a receptor for a chemical our body doesn’t naturally produce?

It turns out we produce a molecule very similar to THC. This molecule is called anandamide.

Anandamide earned the nickname the “bliss molecule” because of its ability to bind to the same receptors as THC.

But anandamide is responsible for much more than feeling happy. Anandamide is in part responsible for memory, motivation, and processing complex thought patterns.

So it’s no surprise researchers have found low anandamide levels to coincide with psychotic symptoms.

More anandamide means more nerve cells being created. Nerve cell regeneration is known to help in reducing anxiety and experiments depression in patients.

Dr. Gary L Wenk, a psychologist at Oregon State University, believes the large concentration of anandamide receptors in our bodies is proof our bodies were meant to interact with cannabinoids like CBD.

Hemp Manufacturing Around the World

Since countries like the Netherlands have been far more relaxed about cannabis and hemp laws for longer than the U.S., the hemp Manufacturing industry there is a bit more advanced.

In 2012 the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) conducted what is still one of the most thorough investigations into hemp manufacturers.

Hemp was legalized in most of the EU members around 1993 – 1996 with the rest following suit later. Members of the EU were quick to realize hemp was as low maintenance as crops come.

They could be grown on non-organic fields but don’t require any pesticides or weed killers to keep them healthy.

Small Production volumens have stunted Europe’s hemp industry so far. Because hemp manufacturing was such a niche fiber for so many years, the only established market for hemp paper through the 90s was cigarette paper.

Over 90% of hemp production in the EU still goes towards making cigarette papers. Insulation for the construction of homes is the next biggest use. What you can be certain of, is that Hemp Manufacturing demand is only going to increase over the next few decades. If you want to get into this business, now is a good time.

We’d love to talk to you about this. Just contact us for a custom quote today. We can get you started in this exciting industry for a reasonable price and with a top-shelf product.