Climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases is a matter of global concern. One of the largest contributors to this is agriculture, which includes the production of cannabis. A variety of cannabis, known simply as hemp, contains a compound called CBD.
CBD possesses many interesting medicinal properties which have made it a popular product in recent years. This means that the production of hemp plants has increased considerably to meet the demand for the products that use CBD as an ingredient.
So, before we answer the question as to whether or not CBD is eco-friendly, let’s look into what CBD is and how it is manufactured.
What Is CBD?
The chemical compound called CBD is the shortened form of the word Cannabidiol. It is present in both hemp and marijuana however, one is legal and the other is not. Here’s the confusing part, and this may be where a lot of people mix up marijuana and CBD thinking they are the same thing: hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis plant family but are two different plants.
CBD that comes from hemp is legal where CBD from marijuana is not.
Hemp also contains THC, the compound that has psychoactive side effects. But the level of THC in hemp is very low but in marijuana, the THC level is much higher and is responsible for the ‘high’ one feels when using marijuana products. That ‘high’ does not exist in hemp.
Now that we have established that hemp and marijuana are two completely different things, let’s explore how hemp is produced.
How Hemp Is Grown
In marijuana production, most grow operations are indoors. This permits control of all aspects of the growing conditions from soil nutrient content to water, light, and heat. This means that for such a controlled environment to be successful, an HVAC system is required to regulate temperature. What happens is that more energy is required to grow marijuana in an indoor setting than in an uncontrolled outdoor setting.
Hemp, on the other hand, is very different in the growing requirements. In addition to being an ancient plant that has been grown for centuries, hemp is very easy to cultivate. It is a hardy crop that is simple to grow and is suitable for small family farms. Hemp is also typically grown outdoors to quickly maximize the size of the plant. It also requires far less water than most traditional ground crops.
Hemp Carbon Footprint
Although the difference in growing conditions is like night and day when comparing hemp to marijuana, there are also harsh realities that point to impacts on the carbon footprint of each. As stated, the energy required to properly cultivate marijuana moves the product further away from the eco-friendly end of the scale.
However, the amount of hemp required to produce CBD is massive. Although hemp is relatively easy to grow and requires far less energy and attention than marijuana, there is still a rather major hurdle hemp has to get over. Because it takes many hemp plants to produce enough CBD to be profitable, hemp plants take up a much larger growing space than marijuana.
You could say that in most cases, hemp production is inefficient and expensive as a result. On a business level, the return on investment – or the amount of CBD produced versus plants required – is low. That makes the cultivation of hemp sound a lot like a bad investment for farmers who are already suffering crop losses annually.
The Other Side of The Coin
It is safe to say that the carbon footprint produced by CBD is still being corrected simply due to the demand for the product. In fact, with the recent interest in the medicinal properties contained in CBD, there exists a great potential of hemp production becoming a sustainable industry according to Healthcare Weekly Magazine. Once that hurdle is crossed, the product will quickly slide over to the eco-friendly side of the scale.
Currently, to push CBD into that direction, there are producers of hemp products who are using accountable and transparent sources for the CBD. So, in reality, consumers are already being faced with environmentally friendly options when seeking CBD products for whatever they need them for.
A Little About How CBD Works
First off, CBD is not a medicine. According to Kyro, it is an alternative treatment used by many who find relief without the need for medication. CBD interacts with the body’s cannabinoid system which controls most of your bodily functions. CBD has become an effective tool used in pain management and also assists in treating such issues as arthritic pain, inflammation, sleep disorders, anxiety, and cognitive function.
Is CBD Eco-Friendly?
There is no doubt that the CBD industry is heading towards becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. You should already be able to locate CBD products near where you live in various forms and concentrations. You’ll also notice that the CBD products are currently available from hundreds of different companies. Expect this to continue to grow where new product lines become available from newer companies.
What should stand out for you when you take a hard look at the existing products and the companies currently producing them are three key points. According to CBDMag, this includes:
- the methods used to source the CBD,
- the eco-friendly methods of packaging and
- the sustainability of the company producing them
Hemp and marijuana both come from the same plant family but are two completely different plant varieties. While both contain some of the same compounds, CBD is highly concentrated in hemp and THC is highly concentrated in marijuana. CBD also contains several different medicinal properties that have made it an alternative treatment for pain management and other ailments.
What makes CBD so interesting as far as environmental friendliness is concerned is that it takes far less energy but much more space for hemp to grow versus marijuana. However, with the continual growth of the CBD industry, more sustainable methods of producing the product will likely become commonplace as it continues to grow in popularity.