Hemp, grown for fiber, seeds and oil, has traditionally been grown outdoors in a conventional agriculture setting, without much attention to plant quality or inputs used for cultivation. However, the recent explosive popularity of CBD use for medicinal treatments, healthcare products, flowers for smoking and more, has led cultivators to examine how they can improve their cultivation practices to grow the highest quality CBD producing hemp possible.
This requires utilizing standardized, high-quality inputs such as pure water and customized nutrients to improve cultivation practices, mirroring a similar transition that commercial cannabis has taken throughout the past few decades. Modern hemp growers have been tossing out the traditional agriculture approach and have been heading into the greenhouse and even indoors to take control over every aspect of the plant’s production to achieve higher quality, bigger harvest and the most concentrated CBD percentage possible.
Recent medical advancements proving the efficacy of CBD as a potent and powerful medicine has started to finally break a 90-year federal ban on hemp cultivation and research in the US. As the data emerges, demonstrating medical use for easing the complications from cancer, epilepsy, pain relief and more, high quality pharmaceutical-grade CBD is being grown to pharmaceutical standards.
The importance of the endocannabinoid system is only beginning to be discovered, and strains that target CBD (and even less commonly known cannabinoids such as THCv, CBDv, CBG, CBN) are being developed.
Hemp and Water Quality
Hemp is known to be an efficient bio-accumulator. It can detoxify contaminated soil or water by removing toxic substances and storing them in the tissues of the plant. If hemp is grown for ingestible CBD or medical applications, it is critical to filter out any toxic contaminants that exist in the irrigation water and soil.
Commercial Hydroponic Food Production
Reverse osmosis is common in commercial hydroponic food production wherever pure water is essential, such as cut flowers, orchids, hydroponic tomatoes, or mushroom farms. Increasingly, urban agriculture methods such as hydroponic food production or container farming rely on commercial reverse osmosis for a consistent, pure water base to mix nutrients with.
Holy City Farms, a hydroponic tomato farm on an island off South Carolina, had too much sodium and chloride in their water, inhibiting plant growth. After using a commercial reverse osmosis system, they were able to increase yields by removing all contaminants, starting with a pure water base. They were also able to conserve water by dumping wastewater less frequently and recirculating the nutrients for a longer amount of time.
Commercial Aquaponic and Aquaculture
Managing water quality for aquaponics and aquaculture is essential whenever cultivating any aquatic organisms like fish or coral. Important water quality parameters like pH, alkalinity, hardness, ammonia, and nitrates must be closely monitored so that fish can thrive. If any of these contaminants are too high in the source water, a commercial reverse osmosis system is required to lower the contaminants in the water used to fill and top off the system. It is always recommended to top off aquatic systems with RO water, so that the minerals do not build up in tanks due to water loss from evaporation.