The demand for CBD, hemp, and hemp seeds has taken off dramatically in the last few years. Now, typical consumers are discovering what cannabis users have known for decades: marijuana’s recreational use is just half of its story.
Thanks to CBD, the public just got to know the healing power of cannabis better. When it first hit the market, people were stunned that there was actually a non-addictive way to relieve debilitating pain that also comes with a number of other wellness benefits. The fact that it can help you relax and get good sleep without the risk of overdosing or getting hooked sounded like a miracle. Most of all, it is all-natural and can be grown, not only bought.
Good but expensive?
CBD products are fairly expensive right now. For example, a 30ml bottle of CBD from Green Roads which contains a total of 300mg of CBD (10mg CBD/1ml serving) already starts at $44.99. Most users take a dose of 20mg per day for pains like arthritis. However, the dosage may have to be increased depending on a number of factors like body weight, age etc. This means that a user is likely to spend around $45 every two weeks.
Now that cannabis has gotten its foot in the door with CBD, it is likely that its users will eventually embrace the idea of smoking its flowers. Buds, nuggets or flowers are the most basic form of consumable CBD. For centuries people have gotten along fine just by smoking or eating it. Nothing has changed throughout the years. Even today, pretty much anyone can plant a hemp seed, grow it and use it!
Nature’s gift to man
Many believe that the reason behind the resistance against cannabis is not just because of its intoxicating properties but because it is practically free medicine that anyone can grow. Alcohol1 kills more people in a year than marijuana, which is impossible to overdose on. Despite this, there is a lot more legal resistance against CBD, a non-intoxicating health product, than alcohol.
State laws on home growing
Growing your own hemp should be a straightforward thing. Unfortunately, you’ll have to deal with government rigamarole before you can begin. In What is Hemp and How Is it Different from Marijuana, we discussed that farming hemp for CBD is already legal under the Farm Bill of 2018. However, this legislation does not cover residential growing. Instead, state laws do so under their respective marijuana policies.
Under marijuana state laws, hemp plants for CBD with less than .03% THC are still considered as cannabis. This effectively means that you can only grow hemp at home in states where home cultivation of marijuana is allowed. The law is also very specific on who can grow hemp, what and where it can be grown and how many.
Thankfully enough, choosing and buying hemp seeds is an easier thing to do. You won’t have to worry about choosing a strain that contains THC levels below 0.3% anymore since hemp plants fall under state laws that govern marijuana. This means that even if you are looking to grow hemp just for CBD, you’ll still have a lot of strains to choose from.
Most reputable seed sellers will make it easy for their customers to pick the kind of seed they want to grow by providing search filters on their website. As mentioned in How to Grow and Cultivate Your Own Hemp Plant for Smokable CBD, the buyer will be presented with at least 3 options they need to get acquainted with before buying seeds:
- Strain – There are now countless strains of cannabis to choose from, each with its own CBD to THC ratio, scent, and flavor.
- Autoflowering – The two subspecies or cannabis – sativa and indica are typically photoperiod which means that the duration of light they get per day affects their growing and flowering stages. Only the wild ruderalis is autoflowering but due to much genetic tinkering by breeders, the default now for home growers is autoflowering. This means the plants will transition from its growing phase to flowering regardless of the light cycle they receive.
- Feminized – This is also pretty much a default option since only female plants bear flowers full of the trichomes that contain the cannabinoids that we want. Those who also want to grow a plant for seeds can get a “regular” pack. Packs that don’t specifically say “feminized” likely contain both males and females.
You’ll mostly see these options as broad product categories on the seller’s website. However, new growers don’t need to be too concerned with the overwhelming choices of strains. Most websites will have a separate category for high-CBD strains that have little to no THC. Just proceed to that category and you should see that your choices have significantly narrowed down.
Good sellers will most likely include the detailed strain specifications on their hemp seeds including the following:
- CBD to THC ratio
- Plant height
- Customer reviews
- Detailed description on the smell, flavor, look, and effect of the plant’s flower.
Genetics can tell you the “pedigree” or genetic history of the seed. For example, the genetic information of I49’s CBD Harlequin indicates that it was produced from the Harlequin and OG Kush strains. Meanwhile, the genotype should tell you the cannabis subspecies. In most cases, it can be a mix of any of the 3 subspecies: sativa, indica, and ruderalis.
Advanced growers are usually very particular about this information. It gives them a good idea on the plant’s size, growing and harvest periods etc. Additionally, each strain provides a unique experience that these growers are mainly after. New growers just looking to get their feet wet can just focus on the CBD to THC ratio for the meantime.
Expressed in ratio and percentages, CBD to THC information is easy to understand. For example, DC Seed Exchange’s Alpen Gleaux Auto S1 30 High CBD Feminized Autoflower Hemp Seeds has a 20:1 ratio, meaning it contains 20 parts of CBD for every part of THC. Meanwhile, CBD Warehouse’s Pink Lion indicates that it has 18.8% CBDa & .12% Δ9 THC.
Seed seller list
New growers looking for seed shops online are more likely to come across websites of international seed companies. This is because marijuana regulations are more relaxed in countries like Amsterdam. While these companies do ship to the US, you may want to support local businesses. This way you’ll cut down on shipping time and costs as well. Here 10 well-known US-based seed sellers that you can buy online from:
- Fortuna – Fortuna is a Florida-based seed bank that specializes in feminized seeds. This family-owned company tests its produce at an ISO 17025 accredited lab built for FDA hemp compliance and audits. Their COAs list all major cannabinoids including both real and potential delta 9 THC levels.
- Midwest Hemp Supply – as the name suggests, this company sells hemp seeds, flowers and CBD products produced by their partners in Illinois, Oregon, Colorado and Wisconsin.
- Seed Cellar – From Jackson, MI, Seed Cellar offers a solid selection of cannabis and high-CBD strains from a number of their partner breeders. They even have a storefront and accept requests for particular strains from their customers.
- Blue Forest Farms – This Colorado-based hemp farm prides itself for its organic farming methods and 40 years of experience. They also sell flowers and oils, as well as provide various hemp farming services.
- Neptune Seed Bank – Neptune Seed Bank is another seller that works with various breeders across the country. This seed company from Long Beach California also offers consulting services and auctions and is currently accepting breeder applications.
- DC Seed Exchange – DC Seed Exchange is a seed seller that works with a lot of seed breeders and farms all over the country. DCSE also keeps tight quality control over its seeds. It only works with partners that produce stabilized genetics that has shown consistent results over generations.
- Gelato Seeds – This LA-based seed bank also specializes in feminized seeds. They also occasionally add free seeds to some of their orders!
- Oregon Elite Seeds – OES is one of the bigger seed banks in the country that works with a long list of top breeders. They also do auctions and even ship internationally.
- Pacific Seed Bank – While this company has its head office in Amsterdam, it does have a marketing office in Santa Rosa, CA. They have an impressive selection of 100% feminized seeds and their website is also easy to use. There, buyers can narrow down their choices with a handful of filters including seed type, conditions treated, taste and aroma, CBD and THC levels, growing difficulty, and plant height!
- Grower’s Choice Seeds – From Eureka, CA, Grower’s Choice is another seed company that has a good website with a great selection of products. They also ship internationally to countries including Canada, Australia, and European countries.
One interesting thing that buyers may want to know is that sellers are not always seed producers. Some sellers function like a cooperative and sell seeds brought to them by various producers. Meanwhile, some producers only sell wholesale while some also sell seedlings and finished products like CBD oils.
Paying for your seeds
As we’ve mentioned in Why is CBD Oil Expensive? traditional financial institutions still have qualms on working with cannabis companies. Because of this, the payment methods of one company may vary from another. Sometimes you may find that one credit card may work with one seller but not with another. Because of this, most merchants do not recommend paying with credit cards.
For example, sellers like I Love Growing Marijuana specifically discourage credit card payments and instead prefer methods like online bank transfer and wire transfer. They also accept checks and cash by mail.
On the other hand, sellers like Seed Supreme do not take money orders and checks. However, it does accept cryptocurrency payments other than Bitcoin while ILGM only does Bitcoin.
One advantage of using cryptocurrencies is that it keeps your anonymity for the most part. To buy Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, you just need to sign up on an exchange like Coinbase and buy some. Once you’ve converted some cash into Bitcoin or some other crypto coins, just follow the seller’s instructions on how to send it to their wallet.
Buyers new to these payment methods, especially those who are not familiar with cryptocurrencies, are often confused and make mistakes when paying. Make sure to review your preferred payment method before buying to avoid any delays. If you make a mistake during payment, it can be difficult to get a refund since there is no higher authority in charge of protecting customers for these kinds of purchases.
While it is entirely possible to check your local dispensary for hemp seeds, shopping online seems to be more convenient. Buying online allows you to choose hemp seeds from best breeders in the country and even the world. Once you’ve covered all the legal prerequisites, starting your own grow will be easy. For most people, it is also an enjoyable hobby that doubles as a cost-effective source of CBD.
- Lauren Villa, MPH. The Great Debate: Alcohol vs Marijuana[Drugabuse.com]