Many hemp genetics companies advertise COAs with very high CBD percentages and total THC less than 0.3%. We find this concerning for multiple reasons.
Many farmers are new at or have never grown any type of Cannabis before, or have not grown at scale. They may not realize some of the nuances of the plant which can influence cannabinoid levels. Plants with COAs claiming very high CBD numbers and very low THC (less than 0.3%) are not typical for a finished flower, especially at scale. Harvesting early to remain in compliance can result in major loss of yield, as plants can gain a large amount of weight in the final weeks of their lives. Rather than growing varieties that have the potential to reach a high level of Cbd but may not result in compliance or much yield, we prefer varieties that end in a moderate, consistent amount of CBD, with premium finished flowers, rich in resins and terpenes, while maintaining compliance.
We also know that many of these inflated COA numbers are not realistic for a large crop grown in a field with possibly less than perfect conditions, since any form of stress on the plants can cause a spike in THC levels. Expecting genetics reaching very high levels of CBD (15-20%) to not go up above 0.3% THC is a big gamble. Several factors may contribute to the cannabinoid expression of the plant including the quality and integrity of the soil, environmental conditions, planting times, pest pressure, drought or flood, overfeeding and being capable of harvesting the whole crop in the perfect window of time. All of these factors would need to be at optimal in order to possibly achieve those types of results.
We at Cascade Collective have sought out and pheno hunted varieties that have: excellent flower structure and terpenes, a high yield potential, a finishing time of 7-8 weeks, and capability of staying low in THC at full term.
Allowing the plants to fully finish helps ensure the highest terpene and resin production possible. For most of our genetic offerings, this looks like CBD in the 6-12 percentile range and total THC staying close to 0.3%. We have seen the 6-12 percentage of CBD to be much more realistic for full term/finished compliant varieties. This translates to a CBD to THC ratio of 20:1 and up to 40:1. This is a realistic range to expect your plants to perform in.
Regardless of the varieties you choose to grow, we highly recommend testing your fields weekly starting 2 weeks into the flowering cycle every 1-2 weeks until harvest in order to ensure a compliant harvest. We also cannot stress enough the importance of planning for the harvest, drying, curing, packaging and processing of your hemp BEFORE it is time to harvest. It is so important to be ready in case you must harvest ahead of schedule due to compliance or weather etc. This means having the labor force hired and ready and the financial means to pay for labor as well as the infrastructure lined up to accommodate your crop. For more details, speak to one of our expert consulting sales crew.
No matter which company you decide to buy genetics from, be sure to research and vet them. Look into the COAs that are being presented to ensure that they are from a trustworthy/certified lab. Ask questions. Ask to visit the farm, talk to other farmers, etc. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!