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July 17, 2021
 min read

Awesome guide that will teach you how to grow CBD

how to grow cbd
 Anthony Clement
Written by  
Anthony Clement
July 12, 2021

table of Contents

Learning how to grow CBD is not that easy. The process usually takes several crops to master, and a hefty initial investment.

The hemp plant has become extremely popular, so there are a lot of people who want to learn how to grow CBD.

First off, industrial hemp is an extremely versatile plant. You can use it for so many things, from producing ropes and textiles to using it as a wellness product. Nevertheless, the majority of farmers grow it for smokable hemp production.

Nowadays, modern hemp strains are usually hybrids. Companies combine numerous hemp and marijuana plants to create interesting combinations. One of the main reasons for this is so they can create hybrids with a high CBD concentration. These high CBD strains are often used for their wellness oils, but they might also be utilized for their hemp fibers and hemp seeds.

Regardless of the plant’s amazing properties, hemp farming is not that easy. Cannabis cultivation for CBD rich cannabis requires a lot of sacrificess. The plant can be very expensive, especially when we use it as a wellness product. Companies have to buy costly equipment to extract and distill CBD oil and to create other CBD products.

Differences between hemp and marijuana

Hemp, or Cannabis Sativa, is a plant renowned for its health and wellness properties. It is full of cannabinoids and terpenes, among which CBD is the most notable one. Unlike marijuana, hemp products shouldn't cause psychoactive episodes.

As mentioned before, most cannabis plants nowadays are hybrids. They are often created by mixing hemp and marijuana, which is why it is often hard to distinguish one from another.

Generally, companies classify hemp as any cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% THC concentration. THC is a psychoactive substance that gets us high. According to the same classification, everything above that is considered marijuana. The distinction is important because higher THC quantities can cause psychoactive effects, while a lower quantity of the substances shouldn't alter your consciousness.

Hemp and marijuana laws vary from country to country. Today, most governments allow the production and sales of CBD hemp plants. But, the laws are not as favorable when it comes to the marijuana plant. In many parts of the world, this is still regarded as a dangerous, psychoactive drug.

Difference between male and female plants

Before we even get into agricultural nuances, it is very important to mention some differences between male and female plants.

When it comes to hemp growing, male plants are highly undesirable. This plant is dioecious, which means there are male plants with male hemp flowers and female plants with female CBD flowers. During germination, half of the plants will grow to be males, and half will be females.

Every hemp company relies on hemp buds as the main part of the plant. Once the plant produces hemp buds, they will be dried, cured, and packed in baggies. Then, you can use them for smoking hemp flowers. Alternatively, flowers, leaves, and stalks will be used for the extraction of CBD oil, which is then used for all other cannabidiol products.

Hemp growers always use feminized seeds. That way, they can control the growth of crops. If there was even one male plant on the farm, it would start pollinating female plants. This is something that cannabis growers cannot allow.

Another common problem is the appearance of hermaphrodites. These are plants that have both male and female characteristics, in other words, male and female flowers. They appear as a result of environmental stressors. Like male plants, they are not an ideal type of hemp crop. As a way of preventing the appearance of hermaphrodites, farmers can try and reduce the environmental stress during the flowering phase.

What is a photoperiod?

You should also learn more about the plant’s photoperiod.

Hemp is a photoperiodic plant that has a flowering stage and a vegetative stage. During each one of these periods, the plant will have variable sunlight requirements.

CBD plants will start flowering naturally when the night photoperiod reaches 12 hours. If this period is shorter than 12 hours, it will return to its vegetative stage. This is precisely why you should try and grow hemp in a closed environment. By having your plants indoors, you can control all the environmental factors. Although the plants will not grow as big, you will have a guaranteed yield during every crop.

What are the best growing conditions for CBD plants?

If you wish to become a grower or a hemp processor, you will need to find an ideal plot of land. While it is possible to grow a plant in almost any climate, there are still some areas that give better hemp crops.

Warm climates with moderate rain are great for this species. You should also find soil that is properly drained. If you grow outdoor plants, you will need to place the cannabis seeds directly into the soil. On the other hand, indoor plants are transferred into pots.

The hemp plant is very resilient. It can tolerate warm weather with little humidity. However, you will need to water seedlings during the first 6 weeks, or they simply won't be able to progress.

What are the biggest challenges?

Governments of the world have started stimulating hemp farmers. Among others, this is because hemp is able to reduce agricultural pollution. You can grow the plant on almost any soil with minimal investment and water. But, things are not as simple as they might seem.

While growing isn’t that expensive, the processing is a completely different story. In order to get a hemp extract, such as CBD oil, you need to spend a lot of money on CO2 equipment. Furthermore, hemp farmers often choose indoor growing methods that require massive initial investments.

Here are some of the main challenges they have to face with the hemp plant:

Outdoor growing requires a lot of land

If you decide to go with outdoor growing, you will have to prepare for heavy initial investment. Generally speaking, you will need at least 50 acres to make money off of hemp. This is one of the reasons why some people simply buy a growing tent and start planting hemp into pots.

Potential governmental issues and licensing

The whole CBD industry is very young. There aren't many growers out there, partially because it takes so much money to get started. Many states and countries limit how many growers are allowed on the market. They often have lotteries that decide who can get the license. Even if you win the lottery, you will have to pay enormous fees for licensing.

If that wasn’t enough, your plants will be regularly tested for THC content. Given that many farmers rely on hybrids, it isn’t unimaginable there will be plants with excessive THC concentration. If regulatory bodies find such strains on your hemp farm, you will have to destroy all the crops.

Buying suitable machinery

A hemp farmer will also need to invest in machinery and other equipment. You might need to add modifications that would prevent clogging. Some of this equipment might not be available in a particular state or country, which would force you to import it from abroad. By doing so, your costs will quickly ramp up.

How to grow hemp indoors?

Growing cannabis requires a lot of preparation. For starters, an industrial hemp grower should get a hemp license that would allow CBD extraction.

Whether you decide to grow hemp indoors or outdoors on a hemp farm, you need to be prepared to invest some money. Needless to say, indoor hemp growing will cost you much more as you will have to invest in equipment such as lighting.

During growing, the hemp plant will go through numerous stages, including germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering.

Germination phase

Germination is usually the same for most plants. In that sense, if you have any prior agricultural experience, this stage will be relatively easy for you. Here is what you need to do:

1.    Start by presoaking the hemp seed for 9 to 11 hours. This should improve the results during germination.

2.    The best temperature for germination is somewhere between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.    You need to put your seeds one inch deep into the seed starting mix.

4.     By utilizing a heat mat, as well as a thermostat, you will be able to manage soil temperature. If you notice any change, you will have to address it immediately.

5.    When farming hemp, you will need to pay lots of attention to humidity. Buying a humidity dome is a great way to manage moisture levels during the process.

Seedlings phase

During the seedling phase, things will get even more complicated. A hemp grower will have to consider numerous factors and optimize environmental conditions:

1.    The temperature for seedlings is a bit higher compared to the germination phase. Here, you will need to maintain a constant temperature of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.    Your seedlings should be kept at 70% humidity. Make sure to keep the humidity dome during the first week of hemp cultivation in order to control moisture levels.

3.    You will need to keep the lights for almost the whole day. If hemp seedlings start stretching, you should put lamps closer to the plants in order to increase their light cycle and exposure. A timer can help you automate this process.

4.    A grower can utilize high output LEDs to provide enough light to seedlings. Whichever lighting setting you decide to go with, you should put it several inches above the seedlings.

5.    You need to maintain a 3 to 1 to 2 NPK ratio throughout the seedling phase. Make sure that the fertilizer has enough nitrogen and that it is water soluble.

Transplanting seedlings

Now, you will have to transplant seedlings and prepare them for the vegetative stage:

1.       During the first transplant, you will need to root seedlings to the sides and the bottom of a rooting cell. By using a transplant mix, you should transfer them into a 5 inch container.

2.       During the second phase, you will need to move the seedlings to an even bigger container or fabric grow bag. You will have to utilize a potting mix that is based on compost.

Vegetative phase

During the vegetative phase, you will have to provide enough water to the CBD plant. They will also need lots of light but without triggering the flowering stage. Here is what you need to do:

1.    Keep the humidity at between 40 to 70%.

2.    CBD hemp plants require a temperature between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will vary based on hemp's age. For example, younger transplants will grow better at 70 to 85 degrees.

3.    In order to grow, seedlings and transplants need a moist environment. However, you should be careful so that the ground doesn't turn soggy.

4.    Like with the previous stage, the plants will need 18 to 24 hours of lighting every day. This is the best way to stimulate the growth of bigger leaves. As the plants grow upwards, make sure to adjust the lighting position so that it follows the leaves. 

5.    Again, you will have to use a natural fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. And again, it should have a 3:1:2 NPK ratio. You should use fertilizer once a week.

Growing phase

Lastly, we have the growing phase. Here are some of the main things you need to pay attention to:

1.       During the last stage, you will need to reduce humidity levels to 40% to 50%.

2.       Matura hemp will require a temperature between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.       You should use even less water during the growing phase compared to the vegetative phase. However, make sure that your hemp plants do not dry out.

4.    You will also need to invest in ventilation. Having a good air conditioning system will help you deal with pests and diseases. It can also help cool the plants that will require a cooler environment during this phase. If you're growing hemp in a tent, using a ventilation system with a temperature control feature would be amazing for the plants.

5.    At this point, you will have to change the fertilizer a bit. Your liquid fertilizer should have an NPK ratio of 1 to 3 to 4. During this stage, plants will require more potassium and phosphorus with a lower nitrogen amount. Feeding is done weekly.

6.    You should trigger flowering with lighting. Make sure to change the photoperiod by putting 12 hours of a dark period and 12 hours of a light period.

Yang, R., Berthold, E., McCurdy, C., da Silva Benevenute, S., Brym, Z., Freeman, J., (2020), Development of Cannabinoids in Flowers of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.): A Pilot Study, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry


Spitzer-Rimon, B., Duchin, S., Bernstein, N., Kamenetsky, R., (2019), Architecture and Florogenesis in Female Cannabis sativa Plants, Frontiers in Plant Science