Join Date: Mar 2014
Dutch pilot experiment: LEGALLY growing organic female hemp flowers high in CBD
Dear International Cannagraphic members,
The aim of this tread is to share, ask questions and receive constructive feedback and tips in regards to this pilot experiment that a friend and I are setting up.
This experiment focuses on the legally
growing organic hemp on Dutch agricultural soil. Ultimatly this experiment is in service of the optimisation of human health and bringing more awareness to other uses for hemp besides the most commonly known fibre, seeds and oil.
The primary goal
is the production and supply of female hemp flowers with specific properties to support and optimise human health. The female hemp flowers will initially be processed and used as superfood and later possibly as food supplement and medicine (the two latter have a longer legal process). For now the most important property to be imparted in the female hemp flower is an as high as possible CBD concentration. In the future this may alter as deeper understanding of the various effects of cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids arise. Below you’ll find a brief description of CBD taken from the website www.ProjectCBD.org
‘Cannabidiol – CBD - is a compound in cannabis/hemp that has significant medical effects, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counter the psychoactivity of THC. The reduced psychoactivity of CBD-rich cannabis may make it an appealing treatment option for patients seeking anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and/or anti-spasm effects without disconcerting lethargy or dysphoria.
Scientific and clinical studies underscore CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere.’
Let it be clear that we don’t black list THC. On the contrary we see the medical benefits of using THC on its own or in combination with CBD. Both EU and Dutch legislation state that the hemp/cannabis plants may contain no more than 0,2% THC. Thus we focus on CBD hemp while patiently waiting for the inevitable rise of legislation that makes more sense.
From this point on the ‘female hemp flower(s)’ will be referred to as ‘flower(s)’.
Experiment setup, boundaries and questions
For this experiment we choose one or more varieties of hemp out of the 51 EU allowed cultivars. The EU hemp varieties can be divided into three types of plant reproductive morphologies, dioecious, monoecious and hybrids. Dioecious hemp has male flowers on one plant, and female flowers on another plant. Monoecious hemp has separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Hybrid hemp produces some plants that are dioecious and some that are monoecious. At the bottom of this post you’ll find the names and a link to the 51 EU allowed cultivars (appendix 2).
The plot of agricultural land available for this experiment is about 1/10th of a hectare (1000 square meters) and is used for the cultivation of organic food crops. The soil type is classified as ‘sandy to light clay’ (around 25% of the soil has a particle size smaller than 2 µm). The soil has a high organic content of around 4%. The soil is fertilised with manure from organic farm animals. In relation to clay soils this specific type of soil drains well. The local Dutch water board maintains a year round stable ground water level of about 1 meter below ground level. At the bottom of this post you’ll find the climatological data of the area we will be growing (appendix 1).
After having done quite some research into the different varieties and experiment boundaries we came up with the following setup, assumptions and questions.
- Does the pollination of the female hemp flower lower the percentage and/or amount of CBD in that flower? Am I correct in assuming that a part of what could have been flower material with high CBD content is transformed into seeds with very low CBD content? And so in pollinated flowers the total amount of CBD is lower as opposed to unpollinated?
- Am I correct in assuming that choosing for a dioecious variety enables more control over avoiding pollination as opposed to a monoecious variety? At the stage that sex differentiation takes place males can be taken out manually in a small scale agricultural setup. If female and male plants arise 50/50 ratio this results in sowing at for example 50 kg/ha. In doing this the targeted density of 25 kg/ha of female hemp flowers is reached.
- Could there be an advantage in choosing a monoecious variety with a high female predominance (e.g. > 85% female and < 15% monoecious and/or males). Some variety similar to the Canadian hemp variety Alyssa (though not EU certified…)? In that case only 15% or less of the plants have to be removed manually.
During this experiment we’ll most likely have to consort to more manual labour than is common in agricultural. Especially in regards to taking away the male hemp plants and the harvesting of the female flowers. This is due to the fact that there is no specialised equipment for harvesting the hemp plant parts.
One of the varieties of hemp out of the 51 EU allowed cultivars we choose for this experiment is Finola (www.finola.com
). This variety has a lot of properties that are attractive for our setup and goal. It’s dioecious, autoflowering, produces flowers in the climatological circumstances that we we will be growing in, remains relatively small (1,5 to 2,0 meters high), short maturation time, relative to other hemp varieties has a high CBD content (some sources report 2 - 4 %), proven crop, certified organic seeds available. Even though the flowers most likely will not contain CBD content of 15% to 20% which you’ll find here and there in the medical cannabis scene. The cultivation is still worthwhile, just means that a user has to consume more flowers to get the same cannabinoid blood plasma levels. Silvana may be another interesting variety for this experiment. Needs more research. Please feel free to give us constructive feedback on the choice of our (additional) varietie(s).
Data that will be monitored during experiment.
- Sowing conditions (Biodynamic consideration, soaked versus dry seed?)
- Plant development (pictures, physical measurements, cannabinoid content in later stages)
o agricultural management
o fertilisation (organic if any)
o pest control (organic if any)
o weed management (organic if any)
- Weather data (from local weather station)
- Ground water levels (from local Dutch water board)
After harvest the flowers will be trimmed minimally. Only the fan leaves will be removed. The sugar leaves (leaves with trichomes) will be left on. These leaves contain valuable phytocannabinoids and terpenes.
Depending on the goal of the user the flowers can be processed and administered
in multiple ways. The cannabinoids can be taken in carboxylated and/or decarboxylated form. More and more understanding is arriving on the uses of unprocessed/raw carboxylated cannabinoids. Heat and time are both factors in the decarboxylation process. But more research needs to be done in both fields. Every user will have to determine what will work best for their specific goal. Depending on how the flowers are processed the administration can be oral (oral mucosal and/or gastrointestinal tract), pulmonary (lungs) or dermal (skin). Other less common administration routes are rectal (anus), vaginal (vagina) and nasal mucosal (nose).
Below are some examples of how the flowers can be processed and administered. It doesn’t mean that we will be providing all of these processed versions. These examples are NOT intended as medical advice.
Cannabinoids mostly in carboxylated form.
Cannabinoids mostly in decarboxylated form
- Raw from the plant. Can be used straight or in for example a salad or smoothie (like Dr. William Courtney). Storage in fridge or freezer.
- Raw but dried at low temperature (≤ 40°C). Can be used straight or in for example a salad or smoothie. Storage in dark and dry place at room temperature or in freezer.
- Raw dissolved in oil. Blending raw flowers in vegetable oil (ratio 1 – 3 to 1 -10). An examples of suitable vegetable oil would be cold pressed hemp seed, olive and/or coconut oil. Administration can be oral and dermal. Dissolving the flowers in oil will most likely favour uptake in the body as the cannabinoids are fat soluble. Ideally the oil blend should contain an as wide range of oil types (saturated, mono- and polyunsaturated, ….) as possible. This aids in dissolving the widest range of cannabinoids, terpenes and other fat soluble compounds. If the oil is used dermally the blended plant matter is strained out. If the oil is used orally the plant matter is left in so the body can also process the plant matter and extract whatever compounds are still left. The vegetable oils can be added in ratios of 1-3 to 1-10.
- Oil processing. An example of this would be blending raw or dried flowers in vegetable oil that can withstand heating. Some examples of these vegetable oils are coconut oil and olive oil. The decarboxylation, drying and heating can be done on the stove or in the oven at 125°C for about 35 minutes. Desired oils that are more fragile (e.g. hemp seed oil, pumpkin seed oil) can be mixed in after the decarboxylation process when the blend has cooled down (≤ 40°C).
- Dry processing. Taking whole flowers and decarboxylating, drying and heating them in an oven at 125°C for about 35 minutes. Can be take straight or mixed into other foods. Storage in dark and dry place at room temperature or in freezer.
- Vaporising (strongly advised over smoking). Can be a good route of administration for some health situations (pulmonary diseases).
- Water. Some report making tea out of cannabis. This will decarboxylate only a part of the cannabinoid as the temperature is lower than optimal. Apart from that, cannabinoids are fat soluble and therefore uptake will be lower as opposed to oil based processing.
Even though making an extract of the flowers would be preferred for some applications (e.g. topical treatment of skin diseases), this will not be done by us because THC concentration of such products will more than likely be above the 0,2 % legal limit. Users can of course at their own risk use the raw or dried plant forms to make their own concentrates. From a legal standpoint we do NOT support such preparation and uses.
Some users may want to process and administer the flowers together with a THC containing cannabis bud to get the benefits of the synergistic effect of the cannabinoids. From a legal standpoint we do NOT support such preparation and uses.
The secondary goal
is to develop a way to harvest the leaves of the male and female hemp plant. Even though the cannabinoid content of the leaves is considerably lower than that of the flower, the leaves are still nutricious. Just as spinnach or kale these hemp leaves can be used raw or cooked. It remains to be seen if by the time the female hemp flowers are ready to be harvested the leaves are still palatable. Some research and experiential evidence points to possible health benefits of hemp roots. Conversely there may also be some concerns in regards to high concentration of heavy metals and other compounds. More research is needed!
The tertiary goal
is locally using the hemp fibres and leaves from a perspective of circular economy. Possible applications are animal bedding, animal feed and building material.
Like I said in the opening, the aim of this thread is to share, ask questions and receive constructive feedback and tips in regards to this project. One more note, stay on topic and communicate clearly (quote, explain, motivate). Thank you!
-------- Appendix ---------
Appendix 1: Climatological data of the area we will be growing
Appendix 2: List of the 51 approved EU varieties of hemp
In the list below I put all the approved EU varieties of hemp with their plant reproductive morphologies, country of origin and some basic info.
- Antal is ??? – Czech, no hits on Google.
- Armanca is dioecious – Romania, seed crop, virtually no info on this variety, probably for warm regions.
- Asso is dioecious – Italy, fibre crop, probably for warm regions.
- Beniko is monoecious – Poland, fibre crop.
- Bialobrzeskie is monoecious – Poland, fibre crop.
- CannaKomp is dioecious – Hungary, fibre crop, virtually no info on this variety, probably for warm regions.
- Carma is monoecious – Italy, fibre crop, probably for warm regions.
- Carmagnola is dioecious – Italy, fibre crop, high CBD content, tall plant that grows in warm regions.
- Chamaeleon is dioecious – Netherlands, specific fibre crop, female predominant.
- Codimono is monoecious – Italy, fibre crop.
- 'CS' or 'Carmagnola Selezionata' is dioecious – Italy, fibre crop, high CBD content, tall plant that grows in warm regions.
- Dacia Secuieni is monoecious – Romania, fibre crop, probably for warm regions.
- Delta Ilosa is monoecious – Spain, fibre crop.
- Delta 405 is monoecious – Spain, fibre crop.
- Denise is monoecious – Romania, fibre and seed crop.
- Diana is monoecious – Romania, fibre and seed crop.
- Dioica 88 is dioecious – France, fibre crop, virtually no info on this variety, late maturity
- Epsilon 68 is monoecious – France, fibre crop.
- Fedora 17 is monoecious hybrid – France, fibre crop, according to Only Ornamental 50% female and 50% monoecious plants.
- Felina 32 is monoecious hybrid – France, fibre crop, according to Only Ornamental 50% female and 50% monoecious plants, medium THC/CBD, optimal vegetative phase temperature of ~13°C
- Ferimon/Férimon is monoecious – France, fibre crop.
- Fibranova is dioecious – Italian, fibre crop, optimal temperature in vegetative phase ~23°C, CBD rich.
- Fibrimor is dioecious – Italian, fibre crop, optimal temperature in vegetative phase ~23°C, CBD rich
- Fibrol is monoecious – Hungary, seed crop, probably for warm regions.
- Finola is dioecious – Finland, seed crop, autoflowering, short maturation time, continental and temperate regions, particularly between latitudes 45° – 60°, ideal soil temperature 10-15°C, easy to handle because of low height
- Futura 75 is monoecious – France, fibre crop.
- Ivory is monoecious (according to Only Ornamental) – Netherlands, no hits on Google
- KC Dora monoecious (according to Only Ornamental) – Hungary, no hits on Google
- KC Virtus – Hungary, No hits on Google
- KC Zuzana – Hungary, No hits on Google
- Kompolti is dioecious – Hungary, fibre crop, 1 to 2 % CBD, low seed yield, long maturation time (~155 d)
- Kompolti Hybrid TC is monoecious hybrid – Hungary, fibre crop, 1 to 2 % CBD, 60-65% female
- Lipko is monoecious – Romania, virtually no info on this variety.
- Marcello monoecious – Netherlands, virtually no info on this variety.
- Markant monoecious – Netherlands, virtually no info on this variety.
- Monoica monoecious – Czech, Hungary, virtually no info on this variety.
- Santhica 23 is monoecious – France, fibre crop.
- Santhica 27 is monoecious – France, fibre crop.
- Santhica 70 is monoecious – France, fibre crop.
- Secuieni Jubileu is monoecious – Romania, seed crop, probably for warmer regions..
- Silvana (LV. 200) is dioecious – Romania, seed crop, probably for warmer regions. MORE RESEARCH
- Szarvasi is monoecious (according to Only Ornamental) – Hungary, no hits on Google
- Tiborszállási is dioecious – Italy, Hungary, fibre and seed crop, for seeds it reaches 4 – 5 meters high, it has much more stem and fibre yield in Northern countries but it cannot be produced for seed there.
- Tisza is monoecious (according to Only Ornamental) – Hungary, no hits on Google
- Tygra is monoecious – Poland, fibre and seed crop, it is characterized by the shortest vegetation period among all Polish cultivars.
- Uniko B is dioecious and some sources report hybrid – Hungary, fibre and seed crop, high seed yield (1500kg/ha). Plant height is similar to Kompolti's height. General difference from other varieties is the sexual ratio. Females are dominant in the F1 generation, and partly dominant in the F2 generation. Presence of monoecious plants in F1 is common.
- Uso-31 is monoecious – Netherlands and Ukrain, fibre and seed crop.
- Wielkopolskie is monoecious – Poland
- Wojko – most likely monoecious as it is Polish, no hits on Google.
- Zenit is monoecious – Romania, fibre and seed crop.
EU document, 32nd complete edition of the ‘Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species’ (page 211 to 213)