Farming is most definitely a labor-intensive profession. Even if you’re not putting the seeds into the ground yourself. Even with all the automation and machinery out there today. Growing a crop requires a lot of work, and the worst thing that can happen to a farmer is to lose that crop.
Hemp is particularly volatile for those who aren’t careful. There’s the same risks all crops face, but additionally, hemp can grow hot. This occurs when THC levels within the crop exceed the 0.3 percent that’s considered legal.
It would be terrible to grow a hemp crop only to lose it because it got hot.
While we can’t control every variable that may increase the risk of hemp getting hot, there are both environmental and genetic factors worth taking into account that can help.
The environment’s role in hot hemp
Certain environmental factors are already known to raise THC levels in hemp, but whether or not they cause hemp to go hot is still uncertain. Regardless, it’s best to know what outside influences can change the chemical makeup of your hemp crop. These include:
- Flood conditions
- Exposure to ethephon, an artificial plant growth regulator
- Powdery mildew
- Physically wounding plants
Not only do these environmental factors have a chance of impacting THC levels, they can also raise CBD levels. More testing and research is still necessary, but as of now, these conditions don’t necessarily take THC levels past the 0.3 percent that keep a crop classified as hemp.
Basically, and this is good news, hemp plants don’t end up hot from environmental factors alone.
The link between CBD and THC levels
What poses a special challenge when it comes to managing THC levels in hemp is the cannabinoid’s direct link to its brother and sister compounds, like CBD. To raise CBD levels in a plant, THC levels must alway go up. However, if you want lower THC levels, what will that do to your CBD quantities?
It’s challenging to find the right balance, especially when there’s a chance so many different factors can influence output. The trick is in the ratio. You need to know what CBD:THC ratio will produce the highest possible CBD levels without raising THC levels so high the hemp goes hot. A hot crop is most likely one you lose.
Hemp genetics is where we should look
Potentially, the real indicator of your plant’s risk of getting hot is its genetics. Certain strains are already known for being high in cannabinoids like CBD, but low in THC. The opposite can also be true, but we don’t always know what we’re getting into when buying new strains whose genetics haven’t had time to reveal themselves.
The work happening at Cornell University under Jacob Toth may change that. Toth and his team have developed a molecular marker for hemp. It identifies genes that produce CBD in hemp and THC in cannabis. It shows which strains produce more CBD genes and those that produce more THC genes. Even those with a combination of both can get studied to see which direction they lean.
This information could prove extremely valuable in evaluating which hemp strains are low in THC and have the least risk of growing hot, even with volatile environmental factors.
It’s also worth mentioning that the quality of the seeds or seedlings farmers use also plays into the equation of keeping hemp from growing hot. Knowing you have high-quality starters, with pure genetics that aren’t potentially corrupted by THC-producing genes, can greatly impact the cannabinoid content of a crop.
Buy the best from the best
If genetics are where it’s at when it comes to keeping hemp crops safe, finding the right wholesaler to buy seeds, seedlings, or clones from is essential. At Arbor Vita8, we not only offer superior starters, but also work closely with our partner scientists to study genetics. This allows us to select only the best hemp strains to cultivate.
When you’re ready to start a hemp crop, and want to make sure you’ve got a low risk for your hemp to turn hot, contact Arbor Vita8. Our track record in quality speaks for itself.