Not only for agriculture hemp is a great possibility, but also for cosmetics, food industry and the wellness industry hemp can be very useful, because you can use many plant components. However, legal hemp cultivation is a rocky road with strict requirements, applications and controls.

So there are a few hurdles to overcome if you as a farmer decide to give hemp cultivation a chance. Not only do you have to consider that there are different varieties of commercial hemp, but you also have to make sure that the hemp plant gets the care it needs to develop its valuable components.

Therefore, we want to explain to you today how such a hemp plant actually grows.

Table of Contents:

Is it legal to grow hemp?

How is hemp grown?

What is organic hemp farming?

Hemp cultivation at ALPINOLS

Hemp harvest

Is it legal to grow hemp?

Hemp seeds, hemp oil, CBD oil: Hemp and CBD are becoming more and more popular, but is hemp cultivation legal?

One of the conditions for legal hemp cultivation is that the hemp variety must come from the EU's commercial hemp catalogue. There, all hemp varieties certified by the EU are listed, whose cultivation is allowed in the EU for commercial purposes. Currently, more than 70 varieties are listed. The catalogue is always updated on 15 March of the current year and can be extended. If a hemp variety exceeds the permissible THC value two years in a row, it is also possible that it will be removed from the EU commercial hemp varieties catalogue and cannot be legally cultivated.

Not everyone is allowed to grow hemp. Only farmers who officially act as such have the possibility to grow hemp. The farmer who decides to legally grow hemp must use special seeds, which he must submit to the competent state authority. In Germany, the hemp varieties approved for cultivation must have a THC content of less than 2%. This establishes that the hemp varieties are not suitable for the production of illegal cannabis. It is thus further ensured that the psychoactive THC is not contained in the plant in excessive amounts.

If scientific institutes want to cultivate hemp for research purposes, they first have to apply to the Federal Opium Agency, even though the THC content of the specified commercial hemp varieties is below 2%. This way, hemp cultivation can be better controlled and regulated.

Hemp cultivation in Germany is controlled by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE). There, one can also find, for example, the EU useful hemp variety catalogue with all approved varieties for hemp cultivation. If a farmer decides to cultivate hemp, he has to register this with the BLE by July 1st of the cultivation year at the latest. In doing so, he must state which hemp variety he is using and have it approved. Extensive documentation is also required. As soon as the hemp seedlings enter the flowering phase, this must also be reported to the authority.

To ensure that the hemp does not exceed the THC limit, samples are taken in the field. If then the THC content does not exceed the limit, harvesting is allowed!

In Switzerland, hemp is no longer subject to agricultural seed legislation. This makes it possible for seeds and plants of CBD hemp varieties to be produced and sold. In addition, a THC limit of less than 1% applies to commercial hemp in Switzerland. The cultivation of cannabis that exceeds the THC limit is still not allowed.

Organic hemp cultivation

How is hemp grown?

At the beginning, of course, is the seed. It is important to determine what the hemp will be grown for. Here it can be to harvest the seeds or fibers, or to produce CBD oil. Depending on this, the commercial hemp variety is selected and the time at which the seeds are sown.

The cuttings are then planted in the field in spring. Hemp is sensitive to frost. The planting time should therefore be no earlier than April or May, so that temperatures do not drop below 0 degrees if possible.

We grow our hemp either outdoors or in a greenhouse. The difference between these ways of growing hemp and indoor growing is that both greenhouse and outdoor are very natural ways of growing. In the greenhouse, the plants are planted in the field, but they are surrounded by a protective roof. This way, they are protected and can draw all the good nutrients from the soil.

The soil in which the cannabis plant is grown must be kept free of weeds. This is done by hoeing or by covering the plants with a foil. In addition, hemp takes very deep roots. This would allow the hemp plant to get enough water from deeper soil layers even during drought. However, it can also absorb harmful substances in the soil if it has not been cultivated organically for long enough.

In nature, the hemp plant forms its inflorescences after the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year (usually 20 June to 22 June). In the greenhouse can be helped a little by the change of darkening and light. This makes it possible to harvest several times a year.

Harvesting then takes place in autumn, when the flowers are ripe, or when the time has been simulated in the greenhouse. For harvesting, the flowers and leaves are then separated from the stem. For our CBD oil, only the trim is used, which is the fine leaf edge around the flowers. To harvest this as gently as possible, our hemp is harvested by hand.

The trim is then further processed and goes into an oven where the finely chopped leaves are dried at over 200 degrees. This allows the CBD, which is still present in the plant as CBDa, to be converted to CBD. This is also called decarboxylation.

Roland at the hemp harvest

What is organic hemp farming?

Hemp is a deep rooter. The roots grow very deep into the earth. The hemp plant could thus get enough water from deeper soil layers even during drought. However, it can also absorb harmful substances in the soil if it has not been cultivated organically for long enough.

But what does "organic CBD" actually mean in hemp cultivation?

At ALPINOLS we grow our hemp according to the Bio Suisse guidelines. Bio Suisse is the leading organisation in Switzerland that awards organic certificates. The umbrella organization was founded back in 1981 and awards a so-called "Knospe" to member farms. The Knospe stands for a holistic approach, which means that the entire farm and the entire production must be organic. Biodiversity is also an important point. Plants and animals should be able to retain their diverse habitats. Naturally, Bio Suisse also ensures that no synthetic chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used. The soil and the earth in which the hemp plants are grown should be as natural as possible.

The hemp plants must be able to take root in the grown soil in order to be cultivated according to Bio-Suisse guidelines. This means that growing hemp in pots or indoors is not considered "organic".

Also, for growing the cuttings, do not use artificial substrate for rooting the cuttings. This means that the hemp cuttings spend their first days in a pressed ball of earth on a table. And also the time at which the hemp plants may be in the ground or in the greenhouse is fixed. Only from March at temperatures above 5 degrees the cuttings should get out of their pots. Organic hemp is therefore only grown between March and October.

Bio Suisse also prescribes as fertilizers substances that occur naturally. These organic fertilizers are, for example, compost, manure, rock or feather meal. If pests want to make themselves at home in the hemp field, organic hemp cultivation does not use synthetic chemicals. Instead, the natural defenses of the hemp plants are promoted. A healthy soil and the right care can work wonders!

Hemp cultivation at ALPINOLS

Our hemp is grown in Switzerland and spread over a greenhouse and various outdoor fields. With more than 15 years of experience in cannabis cultivation and over 25 years in organic farming, we have learned that plants are very similar to humans.

The more care and love they get, the better they grow. That's why we harvest every leaf for our CBD oils by hand, don't use any foreign substances and analyse our products in-house as well as with an independent laboratory - so we guarantee consistency, transparency and the highest quality.

At ALPINOLS, we offer high-quality CBD products that comply with the THC limit. With us, hemp cultivation is kept as transparent as possible. However, food and dietary supplements that are enriched with CBD fall under the Novel Food Regulation in the EU. They can only be placed on the market with a successful Novel Food registration. Our CBD oils are cosmetics, which are declared accordingly.