All hemp is not created equal.
When it comes to purchasing CBD products, we can’t stress enough how important it truly is to make sure what you’re buying is organic.
The importance of organically grown hemp is unprecedented. Here we’ll take a look at exactly why.
What Is Organically Grown Hemp?
Organically grown hemp is that which is cultivated using organic growing practices. According to the USDA, “organic” is a labeling term that specifies that food or other agricultural products are produced through approved methods.
And while hemp hasn’t yet been approved to get the USDA organic stamp of approval, organic hemp farming practices would follow the same general guideline as that which the USDA has established.
In general, organic hemp operations need to show that they’re using only non-chemical nutrients, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides and demonstrate that they’re following sustainable farming practices, protecting our natural resources and conserving biodiversity.
The rise in popularity of CBD has led to countless individuals becoming interested in hemp farming. And while organic hemp is preferable to non-organic hemp (which we’ll get into in a moment), the increasing demand for CBD can make it difficult for hemp farmers to grow large crops without using GMO seeds, chemicals or plant growth regulators. This isn’t to say it’s impossible. It just means that not every hemp farm is committed to organic farming.
Why Organically Grown Hemp Is So Important
As we all well know, most CBD products available on the market today are derived from hemp. And while not everyone is concerned with what they put in their body, there are plenty of people out there who have no interest in consuming food products that have been saturated in toxic chemicals.
Think about it like this. Would you rather put CBD that has been sourced from naturally grown hemp under your tongue or CBD sourced from hemp that has been grown with harmful chemicals?
For us, the answer is clear. We don’t call our company Joy “Organics” for nothing.
In order to ensure a successful harvest, crops of any kind will only thrive when given nutrients. And without the use of pesticides and insecticides, they become food for unwanted garden pests. This includes hemp.
Let’s take a closer look at why organically growing the hemp that’s used to source CBD is truly so important.
The Problem with Pesticides
In order to ensure that a hemp crop isn’t taken over by bugs and insects, farmers must use pesticides that either repel or kill these unwanted intruders. These pesticides can also help prevent disease, which is vital if one wishes not to lose their entire crop. Basically, when it comes to hemp farming (and farming in general), pesticides are a fundamental part of the process.
Why exactly are some pesticides such a problem? There are a few reasons. Check it out.
Pesticides and the Environment
While pesticides are ultimately used on land, it’s possible for them to contaminate nearby water sources such as the ocean, rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. For instance, if a hemp farm is planted near a stream or river and there is runoff into the stream or river, the pesticides used can ultimately contaminate the water. In turn, this can negatively impact fish and other animals, causing them to become sick or even die.
Another way that pesticides used in hemp farming can have a potential negative impact on the environment is through a process known as volatilization. This happens after a pesticide has been sprayed and it turns into a vapor or gas, which then makes its way through the air where it can distribute to different land areas (a process known as vapor drift) and potentially harm various wildlife species.
Pesticides and Your Health
Some pesticides can be detrimental to human health. Have you ever visited an agricultural area and seen farmers in biohazard suits wearing masks? This is so they aren’t harmed while using toxic pesticides when spraying their crops.
In a 2016 review, it was highlighted that “numerous negative health effects have been associated with chemical pesticides.” Some of the most common include:
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Neurological damage
- Reproductive problems
- Endocrine disruption
While things are set to change with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp production for CBD has so far been a largely unregulated area. This means that when it comes to growing hemp, pretty much anything goes…including the use of whatever pesticides growers see fit.
Even in Colorado, where hemp and marijuana are both legal, the list of approved pesticides for cannabis production contains several chemicals that are known to be dangerous to human health. Some of these include EDTA, phosphorous acid and more.
But with industrial hemp production, it’s a different story. Anything can be used because there are no regulations set in place. This means that toxic pesticides that can be potentially damaging to human health could be used to cultivate the hemp from which your CBD is sourced. Seeing that CBD is used to benefit health, using products sourced from potentially contaminated hemp products seems to be quite a contradiction.
Phytoremediation (and What it Has to Do with Organically Grown Hemp)
Here’s something you might not be aware of that’s of paramount importance when it comes to hemp cultivation — hemp is a plant that soaks up whatever is present in the soil in which it’s cultivated.
This process is known as phytoremediation and is an all-natural “clean-up” process in which some plants pull solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, crude oil, toxins and more out of the soil wherever they are grown. Basically, phytoremediation is nature’s way of removing contaminants from the earth.
Hemp isn’t the only plant responsible for phytoremediation, but it is one of the best. Other plants responsible for phytoremediation include sunflowers, poplar trees, weeping willow trees, Indian mustard and Indian grass.
On April 26, 1989, Chernobyl, Ukraine experienced the worst nuclear disaster in the world to date. The nuclear reactor explosion was undoubtedly one of the biggest catastrophes in history. Not only were 120,000 people evacuated from the area, but many experienced severe health consequences.
And while the region today is widely known as one of the world’s most unique wildlife sanctuaries, according to LiveScience, the area won’t be safe for human habitation for another 20,000 years.
What does this have to do with hemp?
Quite a bit, actually. In 1998, an effort was begun by a company called Phyotech to plant hemp at the Chernobyl disaster site to remove the nuclear contamination still present in the soil. As it turns out, phytoremediation is excellent for removing radioactive elements from soil and water, as well as other harmful compounds.
“Hemp,” said Phyotech research scientist, Slavik Dushenkov, in 1998, “is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find.”
Hemp isn’t just used for its phytoremediation abilities at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. Sheep farmers in Italy have also turned to hemp farming to clean up land contaminated with the toxic chemical dioxin.
In a 2017 interview with CBS, sheep farmer Vincenzo Fornaro explained that he’s trying hemp to clean up the land that’s been in his family for generations that was unfortunately contaminated by contaminants spewing from Europe’s largest steel plants. He’s planted hemp to try to leach the high levels of dioxin our of his soil. When asked if he thought hemp was the future of his farm, Fornaro replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
Knowing that hemp is so adept at phytoremediation, it becomes a bit more clear as to why it is so important that it’s organically grown. It’s going to soak up whatever is present in the soil it’s planted in. Contaminants in the soil mean contaminants in the mature hemp plant. And seeing that CBD oil is extracted from mature hemp, any contaminants present in the plant are also going to be present in the CBD.
Don’t Settle for Less Than Organically Grown
At Joy Organics, we take organic hemp farming very seriously. This is because we’re well aware of the health effects and environmental impact of non-organic farming practices. We’re adamant about offering a product that is not only beneficial for our customers, but for the environment as well.
We’re passionate about our products, which wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of those committed to sustainable growing practices and organic farming techniques. If you have any questions about the importance of organically grown hemp, please contact us at any time. We’re always here to help!