How Environmentally Sustainable is the CBD Industry? An Impact Analysis of Hemp Farming

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In light of the growing abundance of scientific literature around climate change, the global community has placed responsibility on world governments to orient their policies toward ecological sustainability. There’s been a palpable shift in the habits of consumers as well, with millions opting toward renewable energy solutions in housing, electric motor vehicles, and sustainable meat and dairy alternatives.

Major industries are also making changes, albeit much more slowly. Fortunately, consumer trends are the driving factor in shaping industrial policy — incentivizing environmentally friendly sourcing, manufacturing, and logistical practices with conscientious spending and patronage.

The burgeoning cannabidiol (CBD) industry is a standout in the ongoing environmental revolution because of its natural compatibility with the change in priorities of legislators and individuals. In this post, we go over how CBD is sourced, its place in sustainable agriculture, and why eco-friendly consumers are embracing it not only as a health supplement but as a viable industry for investment and entrepreneurship.

Where Does CBD Come From?

CBD is a non-psychoactive primary cannabinoid sourced from cannabis and hemp. While the number of states that have legalized medical and recreational cannabis use is growing rapidly, it’s still technically federally illegal due to the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in virtually all of its strains. Unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive, earning it a Schedule 1 classification under the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Controlled Substances Act.

In order to avoid federal red tape and ensure legal distribution nationwide, most major CBD companies source their products from high-quality industrial hemp. Aside from being the practical choice from a business perspective, hemp farms are considerably more environmentally friendly than their weed counterparts.

Industrial Hemp, Utility and Wastage

It’s worth noting that CBD doesn’t just come as an isolate or distillate. In fact, the second most popular iteration of CBD in the market today is in full-spectrum products. Full-spectrum CBD hemp oil makes use of secondary cannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG), as well as naturally-occurring flavonoids and terpenes to produce beneficial entourage effects without the psychoactivity of THC.

Outside of CBD production, hemp produces no wastage due to the range of utility in practically all aspects of the plant. Its seeds, for instance, are chock full of healthy omega fatty acids which can be refined into other products such as carrier oils. Its fibrous byproduct can be used in the manufacture of fully biodegradable plastic, paper, and textile alternatives.

The remaining hemp biomass that can’t be utilized in production makes a natural fertilizer brimming with nutrients, setting up an ideal environment for the next round of crops while simultaneously reducing demand for landfills.

Let’s go beyond the use of hemp in creating CBD, and look at how industrial hemp farming benefits the environment even before the harvesting phase of the crop rotation cycle.

Hemp Farming & The Environment

One of the main features attracting veterans and budding farmers alike to hemp is its rapid rate of growth. Due to its quick turnaround time, a significant rate of production can be attained even from a small plot of land.

Hemp requires less than half the water and fertilizer used in the farming of cotton or timber. It requires very little tending during its growth process, virtually no use of machinery, and is unattractive to insects — translating to little or no use of pesticides.

As a naturally tall plant, hemp grows long taproots that run deep into the soil underneath, producing a number of desirable effects for farming. These taproots minimize soil damage and displacement by providing stability against erosion, heavy rains, strong winds, and even droughts.

The deep roots of the hemp plant are also able to tap into water and nutrients trapped under several layers of dirt — bringing them up to nourish the topsoil after damage from regular machine tilling and other agricultural operations. This makes hemp ideal for planting at strategic intervals in rotation with other crops, to maintain healthy soil for as many months out of the year as possible.

How CBD & Carbon Sequestration Help in Fighting Climate Change

It’s no longer up for debate that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are the single biggest risk factor in producing irreversible climate change. This is another area where hemp shines, as it processes approximately 1.6 tons of CO2 per ton of hemp grown in a process called “carbon sequestration.” This is scientifically proven to be more CO2 captured per hectare than any forest or commercial crop, meaning hemp farms double as incredibly effective carbon sinks.

Hemp plants naturally return nutrients — along with sequestered carbon — back into the soil, setting up the next round of crops with an ideal growing environment. The significant amount of carbon remaining in the hemp plants’ fibrous biomass makes it a very good choice in creating green biofuels. If it’s used to manufacture fiber products such as rope or textiles, the resulting durable goods keep carbon trapped and out of circulation for a very long time.

The multi-billion-dollar CBD industry is the single most notable avenue to profitability in prospective hemp farming in the eyes of entrepreneurs, investors, and financial speculators. By directly incentivizing the creation of hemp farms, the CBD industry has a major role in both the emergence and viability of sustainable agriculture. This makes CBD a force for good not only in medical science and the pharmaceutical industry but in environmental sustainability as well.

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