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The Mana Farms Growing Process – Harvesting Hemp for CBD

As the scientific research behind cannabis and CBD continues to grow, we’re beginning to discover the staggering number of people whose health can benefit from the healing plant power of CBD oil. There’s never been a better time to introduce the plant into your daily wellness routine, but before choosing the right CBD oil it’s important to do your research and find the right grower.

Unfortunately, the growing demand for CBD means many products are distributed by money-hungry business owners who cut corners with cheap and poorly-sourced crops, dirty chemical extraction methods, and no quality standard or potency tests. (Spoiler alert: we do none of those things). This news is not so great for people wading through the many different manufacturers in search of a high-quality oil from a trustworthy company.

For this reason, we’ve compiled this guide to shed some light on what goes into our growing process and sets us apart from the competition; keeping our product both healthy as a shiitake mushroom.

Seed Selection

For many years, CBD-rich cannabis strains were difficult to come by as the demand for weed as high in THC as possible took the spotlight. Now that the health benefits of CBD are more well known and people are experiencing unmatched relief with it, it’s taken a bigger seat in the marijuana growing industry. All of the seeds we use are either our own or carefully selected clones, so we already know exactly what to expect before we plant it.

Every bottle of oil begins with an organic CDA-approved seed that is genetically disposed to contain CBD above 10% and THC below 0.3%, the threshold set by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. That’s a low enough level of THC to consume without experiencing any psychoactive effects, so you won’t run the risk of getting high if you consume CBD with your morning coffee.

Our seed selection process is ongoing as the industry grows and more CBD-rich strains are developed, so our growing specialists are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest strains known for high phytocannabinoid production.

Aside from giving us the freedom we desire in the quality of our products, this seed selection process also allows us the unique opportunity to work with customers to find specific strains with phytocannabinoids that are known to help with certain symptoms or illnesses. What works for an anxious patient is different than the needs of someone with chronic pain, and it’s our goal to accommodate everyone who can benefit from the power of cannabinoids.

The Mana Farms Hemp Growing Process

Seed selection is only the beginning of growing a bottle of Mana Farms CBD oil. While a CBD-rich strain is the foundation of any CBD product, the processes used to take that seed from its first sprout to extraction can make or break the potency, purity, and ingredients list without you, the customer, ever knowing. With all the science behind CBD, it should be easy to find a pure source with no residual solvents and that’s exactly what we provide at Mana Farms.

Once one of our seeds is planted, it’s tended to using only organic farming practices with no pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. While there’s nothing we can do to get a plant to produce more CBD, taking the best care of our plants and keeping them well-fed is how we help maximize the production of plant nutrition and phytocannabinoids present.

Around early October when the plant is about 16 weeks old, the flowers are ripe and full of seeds and the hemp is ready to harvest. The exact timeline to harvest can vary from one plant to another, so it’s important to have a close eye on the progress of each plant from day to day.

All of the Mana Farms industrial hemp plants are grown on a handful of our 68 acres. We prefer to keep it small to maximize the effects of our care and attention and keep a close eye come harvesting time. To top off the strict lifestyle our plants endure, we also conduct rigorous testing to ensure they’re continuing to produce the levels of cannabinoids we desire.

CBD Extraction Process

There are many methods of extracting phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Unfortunately, many of these processes require chemicals like petroleum, which reduces the purity of the product and can leave residue behind in the oil.

When it comes to purity, nothing beats the super-critical CO2 extraction method we use. This environmentally friendly process gasses off from the oil completely and leaves nothing but plant material behind. The fact that CO2 is the only foreign substance introduced throughout this whole process is a crucial part of how we keep our oils so clean and pollutant-free.

We also take a whole-plant approach to extraction, seeping every ounce of nutrients we can get out of the stems, stalks, and seeds. Aside from all the cannabinoids known for their miraculous medicinal benefits, each bottle also contains an abundance of healthful terpenes, sugars, and secondary cannabinoids for a whole-plant approach to cannabis nutrition. Consider a bottle of Mana Farms Full Spectrum Hemp Oil your daily cannabis vitamin for keeping pain, anxiety, and inflammation at bay.

We’ve put a lot of thought and research into what goes into a product with the Mana Farms name, which is how we’ve ended up testing and controlling every aspect of our hands-on production process. How do we know our process is so effective? A typical finished bottle of Mana Farms oil is rich with 70-80% cannabinoids, with little to no THC and no chemicals or pollutants.

Whether you’re a regular consumer of CBD oil products or would like to give it a try for the first time, we welcome you to look around, read through our guides, and discover the healing power of cannabis. We’re proud to offer CBD as it should be – clean, potent, and pure.

The Mana Farms Growing Process – Harvesting Hemp for CBD As the scientific research behind cannabis and CBD continues to grow, we’re beginning to discover the staggering number of people whose

How to Harvest and Dry Hemp for CBD Production

There is a lot of interest in growing industrial hemp for CBD production, especially since hemp was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Take a look at some of my previous articles regarding the potential risks and rewards in the CBD market as well as agronomic considerations for successful industrial hemp production.

Fresh cut hemp drying. Whole plants hung in this fashion during the drying phase may have humidity trapped in the center due to the ‘closed umbrella’ shape that an entire plant takes on. Breaking off and hanging individual branches is recommended. Photo by George Place.

CBD oil extraction process. Photo by George Place

Harvesting hemp is a critical stage for CBD production. The presence of molds and mildews will lower the value of hemp floral biomass so a timely harvest is essential. There are visual clues on the hemp bud that growers should monitor. When trichomes on the hemp bud shift from white to milky white it may be time to harvest.

Weekly testing of CBD content can inform the grower of when harvest should be initiated. This is in addition to the required THC test with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. While some of the tests for CBD, cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticide residue, mold, and heavy metals can cost as much as $300 the return on investment can be significant. For example, if 1000 lbs of biomass will be harvested on one acre the difference between harvesting when the crop is at 6% CBD versus when the crop is at 7%CBD is equivalent to 10 pounds of CBD oil. Current prices for CBD oil are $5 per gram. With 454 grams per pound, a 1% discrepancy in CBD content on one acre can be a $20,000 crop value difference. Growers need to test frequently to make the right decision regarding harvest timing.

Weather will also be a key factor in determining when to pull the harvest trigger. Harvest time for hemp coincides with the hurricane season. Growers will have an easier time drying and curing their hemp floral biomass if they can bring it in before the arrival of a storm. This is the time when adequate labor is crucial. The vast majority of hemp growers for the CBD market are relying on labor to cut the stalk (the machete is the current tool of choice) and load the biomass. This takes a lot of time and physical exertion. I have heard reports of growers that had an excellent crop of hemp floral biomass but suffered massive losses because they could not harvest it in time (their two-person harvest team was not adequate). The importance of measuring the labor requirement is a big reason why we recommend that first-year hemp growers for the CBD market start with 1 acre or less. Growers need to keep track of the amount of man and woman hours that it takes to bring in the harvest. Maintaining sharp tools during the harvest process will also save time and effort.

Drying and Curing Hemp

Hemp biomass made from chipping the entire hemp plant. This biomass is low quality and will receive a reduced price. Photo by George Place

Once hemp is harvested growers should immediately move the floral biomass to the drying facility. This could be a simple structure like a barn. The facility should be under roof, out of direct sunlight, and well ventilated. Growers need to set up several fans and have them blowing continuously. Significant ventilation is crucial! Ideal temperatures for drying and curing are 60 to 70 degrees F at 60% humidity. Some processors say that hemp growers should not dry their floral biomass at the same temperatures as flu-cured tobacco. Those temps are too high and dry the hemp too quickly. A slow drying with high airflow will cure the hemp, produce a higher quality end product (better cannabinoid and terpene spectrum), and fetch a higher price.

It is difficult to estimate the square footage of drying space needed per plant. Using a flu-cured tobacco with 800 square feet a grower was able to dry 1 acre worth of plants (approximately 1350 plants) in 3 days. Another grower was able to dry approximately 1.5 acres worth of hemp (plant number not stated) in a 2500 square foot barn.

Hanging entire plants upside down on wires in the drying barn is a common practice. Unfortunately, as those plants dry the branches droop down in the formation of a closing umbrella. That closing umbrella shape results in less airflow to the center of that entire hemp plant. Thus more mold and mildew will grow in that center portion. We advise growers to break off the individual branches from the hemp plant and hang branches on the drying wire, not whole plants. This step is more labor intensive but will help minimize mold and mildew.

Dry and shucked (stem removed) hemp flower biomass. Photo by George Place

Dry hemp biomass still on the stem, referred to as unshucked. Photo by George Place

There is a lot of interest in growing industrial hemp for CBD production, especially since hemp was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Take a look at some of my previous articles regarding the potential risks and rewards in the CBD market as well as agronomic considerations for successful industrial hemp production. Hemp Production – Keeping …