When we talk about our hemp products, we refer to them as “From the Roots Up.” While we’re sure you understand what we’re talking about, we thought it would be enlightening to share our process with you, from start to finish. We want our customers to feel comfortable about the CBD products they choose to enhance their lives. What better way to do that than to take you behind the scenes and fill you in on our “hemproots” efforts?
It All Starts with Little Baby Hemp Plants
Well, before we have plants, we of course have seeds. At The Hemp Division, rather than plant our seeds directly in the fields, we plant them in trays to allow them to germinate, and then we transfer them to our field in Millerton, New York. Hemp plants can grow just about anywhere except extreme desert conditions. They are fairly easy to grow, requiring little in the way of supplemental nutrition and are fairly pest- and disease-resistant. Score a few points for hemp!
Female hemp plants contain the most CBD, so those are the plants we use. They need plenty of room to grow, so they’re spaced a few feet apart. For our first planting in 2019, we had 7,000 plants on four acres.
Those Suckers Grow Fast!
In the right conditions, hemp plants can grow three inches per day! By harvest time, they are generally around five feet tall. Weeding is not an issue as the plants grow faster than the weeds. (Which means the idiom “growing like a weed!” should change to “growing like a hemp plant!”)
As they grow and begin to develop buds, the plants are tested by state regulators to ensure they have the proper amounts of CBD and the mandated less-than 0.3% of THC. In order to grow hemp, you must have the proper licensing and testing mandated by each individual state where growing hemp is legal.
Harvesting the Hemp
Because of their rapid growth cycle of 108 to 120 days, tiny hemp plants planted in late spring are ready for harvest by early fall. Our hemp plants are harvested by hand so that the buds aren’t damaged. The buds are where all the CBD goodness lives!
Once harvested, the hemp has to dry. To do that, we hang the plants upside down. Thorough drying of the plants is important to ensure maximum CBD yield and product safety. And while it may smell like we’re up to some kind of Cheech and Chong no good in there, trust us that our hemp has less than 0.3% THC as mandated by law and examined by authorities. It can’t help it that it smells like its nefarious cousin.
After they’re dry, the buds are removed by hand. If you’ve ever wondered why CBD products carry the cost that they do, perhaps you’ll start to understand that much of the process is carefully done by hand. It’s kinda like buying furniture from IKEA versus a handcrafted artisan coffee table. Also, it takes a lot of hemp flowers to create CBD extract!
Speaking of CBD extract… the extraction process is the next step. The two most common methods are ethanol and supercritical CO2. We use the ethanol method of extraction, as it has many benefits, is FDA-classified as safe and allows us to obtain a full-spectrum extract. Ethanol can be recirculated through the hemp flower multiple times, which allows for maximum extraction of the CBD properties. All-natural and made from plants, ethanol evaporates and leaves no trace in the CBD extract. We find this method of extraction to have the most benefit, allowing us to create CBD products of the highest caliber.
During the extraction process, a crude extract or biomass is created, which is the first step in transforming these plant compounds into the final product that goes into our teas, tinctures, lotions and more. In general, during extraction a solvent-- in our case, ethanol-- is passed through the buds to separate the active compounds from the others. Those active compounds can be processed into small granules, powder or liquid. Those are carefully measured and put into our products.
Isolate and Full-Spectrum: What’s Up?
During the extraction process, you can choose to create either a single-molecule CBD isolate or a full-spectrum cannabinoid compound. What’s the difference? In short, a CBD isolate is comprised of 99%+ cannabidiol. All other cannabinoids, terpenes, plant materials and chlorophylls are removed, leaving a CBD extract that is free of all other materials, including even trace amounts of THC. A broad- or full-spectrum CBD includes those plant materials listed above that are removed in creating an isolate. When combined, these elements create what is called an “entourage effect,” meaning they have synergistic interactions that have something of a boomerang effect on each other.
While it is thought that full-spectrum CBD is more effective, there are benefits to both. That’s why The Hemp Division utilizes both isolate and full-spectrum CBD in its products, although generally more of the latter. For instance, ourtinctures andlotion are made with full-spectrum CBD, while ourGolden Milk utilizes CBD isolate that works in perfect harmony with this product’s other active ingredients.
And Now for the Fun Part
After we have extracted the CBD into crystals or oils, we use them to create our from-the-roots-up products! Whether it’s ourcold drinks,hot teas orsundries, we’ve been very intentional about creating products that are all-natural and beneficial to your health and well-being. We vary the levels of CBD in our products so that you can mix and match or dial into the exact dosage that’s right for you. We bottle and bag our teas at our plant in Millerton, New York and Hudson, New York.
We’ve loved bringing our experience as master tea brewers at Harney & Sons Fine Teas to a whole new level with The Hemp Division. This is an extension of our love and care for our planet, bringing a new aspect of Mother Nature into our all-natural THD products. Dial into your CBD groove with one of our homegrown, farm-to-you wellness additions to your day.