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How to grow hemp at home for cbd oil

Can I Grow Hemp at Home?

Hemp has become a major cash crop as of late, and numerous hemp extracts are now available as consumer products. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production on a federal level, but left many unanswered questions regarding the cultivation of hemp. The bill’s language only explicitly gives rights of hemp production to farmers and those growing hemp for research purposes, both of whom must acquire a license from their state department of agriculture.

The bill doesn’t address residential hemp growing, which has created a large gray area in this corner of the hemp industry. So, can you grow hemp at home?

The current hemp laws suggest that this question holds a complicated answer. On top of the federal law, states have passed their own hemp legislation. To answer this question, let’s examine some of these laws and see what they have to tell us.

First, what is hemp?

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 established cannabis and its derivatives as Schedule 1 drugs. This applied to all plants of the cannabis sativa species, including hemp and marijuana. But while these two cannabis plants differ in their chemical makeup, until the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, there was no legal distinction between the two.

Hemp and marijuana chiefly differ in the amount of THC , or tetrahydrocannabinol, they contain. Like CBD, THC is a cannabinoid, but it has psychoactive properties that cause mind-altering effects. Alternatively, industrial hemp plants contain much lower levels of THC than marijuana strains, and won’t cause a psychoactive high.

Some background on cannabis laws

Before the more expansive federal legalization of hemp in 2018, other bills established some selective forms of legal hemp production. The 2014 Farm Bill instituted a pilot program which allowed state departments of agriculture and universities to oversee hemp farming for research purposes.

Although the Controlled Substances Act established a federal precedent that has stood for decades, in the years after its passing many states have created their own state-specific policies. Many have decided to legalize cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes, and some have also taken steps to decriminalize cannabis.

What do these laws mean for personal hemp cultivation?

So far, the hemp legislation that has been passed on both state and federal levels has created a multitude of hoops to jump through for anyone interested in hemp production. Even farmers who want to grow hemp must submit to a background check, which needs to show a record free of any drug-related criminal offenses. Applicants must also meet the minimum square footage and acreage requirements for a license, and prove they have multiple acres on which to cultivate the crop.

So, when it comes to growing hemp at home, your state’s laws concerning recreational cannabis use are the ones you should look to when determining if it’s safe to grow hemp in your state. Even if you as an individual cannot apply for a hemp growing license, this won’t matter if marijuana, and therefore hemp, is recreationally legal in your state.

As of 2019, eleven states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana for recreational use. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Some of these states, like Colorado, allow adults who are 21 and over to grow cannabis at home for personal use. Most people will exercise this right by growing marijuana, but you can also do the same thing with hemp.

Should you grow hemp at home?

If you do live in one of those areas where recreational cannabis use is legal, you would have to abide by any established policies regarding home cultivation. Most states only allow individuals to cultivate 3-6 cannabis plants at a time. So, if you think you’ll still benefit from just a few hemp CBD flowers, growing your own may be worth it.

Alternative Uses for Hemp

Hemp seeds can be found at one of your state’s dispensaries or nurseries. Seeds that are feminized do not require cross-pollination because they have been genetically altered to produce more female plants. You should do research or ask questions about whether the seeds you’re buying are feminized, and the levels of cannabinoids and terpenes in the seeds.

If you don’t live in a state where recreational cannabis use is legal, you can still buy hemp and its derivatives. There are many online retailers and cannabis shops that sell hemp extracts like CBD oil, which have a variety of uses. If you are interested in becoming a home hemp grower, make sure you understand your state’s cannabis laws and are taking heed of any rules and regulations.

Growing Hemp: How to Plant and Take Care of Hemp

Ame lives off-the-grid on her beautiful farm in Falmouth, Kentucky. She has been gardening organically for over 30 years and has grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and ornamentals. She also participates in Farmers Markets, CSA, and mentors young farmers. Ame is the founder and director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center where she teaches environmental education programs in self-sufficiency, herbal medicine, green building, and wildlife conservation.

Hemp is a controversial plant because it’s often confused with marijuana. While hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family, they’re two distinct species. Farmers raise marijuana for its psychoactive components, while hemp is used for food, fuel, biomaterials, paper, clothing, and more.

The difference between the two is in the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they contain. Marijuana has higher levels of this compound which causes the sensation of euphoria by stimulating the brain to release dopamine.

Hemp is growing in popularity because it can be used to make many products including rope, clothing, shampoo, foods, and supplements like CBD oil. Thirty countries around the world grow and export industrial hemp products. China currently produces 20% percent of the world’s hemp supply. These days, many State Departments of Agriculture are promoting hemp as a profitable crop for farmers.

Whether you want to grow hemp for your own home use or you’re interested in selling hemp products, this guide will get you on your way.

Is it Legal?

The 2014 Farm Bill defined hemp as the cultivar Cannabis sativa L. Plants must have no more than .03% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH).

In December 2018, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill which had a provision that legalizes domestic hemp growth and allows industrial growers to obtain a license for production. The goal of the bill is to encourage the sale of American-grownCBD oil and hemp seeds.

Buying Hemp Seeds

Since hemp was only recently legalized, seeds are a bit hard to come by. That will change in the future, but for now, there are a few suppliers that you can get seeds from.

    , a leader in the hemp industry. You must contact them for prices and to see if they sell to your area. has non-feminized varieties available.
  • Seeds from carry unnamed varieties for $10 per ounce. This may be good for the person who wants to experiment a little in their garden.

Seeds that are “feminized” have been genetically altered to produce more female plants and don’t require cross-pollination. These plants may be hybrids or they may be a GMO crop. Do your research if you plan to have organic production. Genetically modified seeds aren’t an option for sustainable farmers and gardeners.

Purchasing seeds may still require an application until companies and regulations adapt. You can contact your state DOA for more information. Also, be prepared that hemp seeds are expensive compared to other crops.

Hemp Varities

Depending on what you want to use your hemp for, you’ll want to pay attention to the level of cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) in the seeds.


This variety includes non-feminized regular seeds. It has a CBD level of 12-14%​ and a CBN level of 1.4%. Flowering time is 9-11 weeks. THC level is below .03%.

USO 31

This variety is monoecious (meaning it has both male and female seeds). It’s early maturing and rich in fiber. The THC level is below 0.2%. The ideal grain harvest date is August 25. In northern regions, you can grow this type as a grain and for dual-purpose use. Hemplogic recommends planting this at a rate of 25 pounds per acre if you are growing for grain and 50 pounds per acre if you’re growing for fiber.

Z2 features non-feminized seeds. It has a CBD level of 6-7.38% and a THC level of less than .03%. Flowering time is 8-10 weeks.


This Northern California variety is a non-feminized strain that has a high flower yield with a delicious flavor. The oil is also flavorful. It can handle some snow and survives in even the worst soil. It has a CBD level of 10-12% and is ready for harvest in late October.

How to Plant Hemp

Where to Grow Hemp

Hemp grows just about everywhere in the U.S. as an annual, except in extreme desert conditions.

When to Plant

Start seeds indoors four weeks before the last frost date in your zone. Transplant seedlings after danger of frost when the soil has warmed to above 50°F.

Soil Requirements

Hemp prefers a soil pH of 7.0-7.5. Test your soil in the fall, and if your pH is too low, you can add lime to the area.

Hemp grows best in loam with lots of compost. It has fibrous roots and doesn’t like compacted soil. Soil should drain well. However, overly sandy soil isn’t ideal because it doesn’t hold water and nutrients as well, which means a lower quality product.

Ideally, hemp should have fertile soil that is rich in organic matter, with a percentage around 3-4.

Sun Requirements

Hemp plants prefer a warm growing environment with plenty of moisture. They do well in southern and western states. Plants need full sun to be productive.


Hemp is a fast-growing plant that gets tall – some varieties up to 16 feet. It can grow three inches per day in the right growing conditions.

Spacing depends on what the hemp will be used for. When planting to harvest fiber, it’s best to space plants at 12-inches apart. When planting for seed production the plants should be closer to encourage branching. About 7-inches of space is ideal.

Direct Seeding

Hemp can be direct seeded. Seedbeds should be tilled and smoothed out with a rake so that the soil is level and free of clods.

Seeds should be planted at a depth of one inch. You can use a grain drill or a standard planter.

Caring for Hemp

Hemp grows similar to corn and has high nutrition and water needs. Like corn, it cross-pollinates via the wind.

Hemp is dioecious. Dioecious plants may be male or female – like asparagus and spinach. Males do not produce seeds but are necessary for pollination.


People in western states may need to provide additional irrigation. Hemp has high water needs in early development, though it can handle some drought as it gets older. Good root development depends on good irrigation so that the roots can penetrate the soil and stabilize the plants.


Hemp has high nitrogen and phosphorus needs and does not like excess calcium.

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Hemp Problems and Solutions

Hemp is susceptible to weeds. In my Kentucky area that means common field weeds such as pigweed, crabgrass, and Johnston grass. Regular weeding is imperative so that the plants establish good roots and can grow quickly.

Damping Off

Growing hemp seedlings are susceptible to damping off. Use sterilized soil and clean your planting tools to prevent damping off. Also, make sure plants have plenty of circulation.

Bacterial and Fungal Leaf Spot

Leaf spot, as the name indicates, shows up as brown spots on leaves. To prevent leaf spot, make sure to not crowd your hemp seedlings and allow for plenty of air circulation.

You can also spray plants, but guidelines have not been set for spraying hemp crops. Opt for organic pesticides and herbicides to control diseases and pests.


Rootworms lay their eggs in the soil and the emerging larvae feed on the roots of growing hemp. Till soil in the fall to expose eggs and spray with an organic pesticide.

Corn Borers

Corn borers lay eggs on the underside of leaves and the moths emerge in May or June. Use pheromone traps and encourage beneficial garden predators.

Blister Beetles

Blister beetles carry a toxic agent that can be harmful to humans and livestock, as well as plants. You can hand pick them off of plants (be sure to wear gloves) and spread diatomaceous earth around your garden.

Harvesting Hemp Seed

One reason for growing hemp is so you can harvest the seed. Seeds are used to make hemp oil and are a nutritious snack. If you’re looking for seed production you will need to plant a variety that is composed of mainly female plants.

Hemp is a short day plant. This means that hemp will develop flowers when the daylight is less than 12 hours. Seeds typically ripen about six weeks after the plant flowers. Harvesting the seeds in the proper window is important. The plant spreads its seeds by shattering, which means ripened seeds will fall to the ground.

The key for the gardener is to harvest when the seeds are ripe but before the mother plant disperses them. After harvesting the seeds store them in a cool dry place. They will keep for up to one year.

Harvesting Hemp Fiber

You can also grow hemp for fiber. Hemp is popular for clothing and textiles because it’s strong and wears well.

Fiber is extracted from the stalk of the plant. Retting is a process where water and bacteria are used to break down the stalks. When the stalks are supple the fibers can be extracted. The fiber is then rendered so that it can be made into cloth.

Harvesting Hemp Roots

Many growing guides for hemp don’t consider the roots, which is a shame, because the roots of cannabis varieties have a long tradition in medicine.

First recorded in Ancient Roman times, they’ve been used to treat inflammation, joint pain, and gout. Scientists have studied compounds in the roots which support these claims.

Dried cannabis roots can be mixed with olive oil to make a soothing topical ointment.

Get Growing Hemp

Thanks to its new legal status, hemp is poised to be the new wonder crop in American agriculture. Many states hope that it will financially replace tobacco as a crop that has a substantial profit margin for farmers.

Hemp products are popular because they have a low environmental impact. They can be recycled and are biodegradable, giving them a competitive market edge.

How Homegrown Hemp Can Improve Your Life

The market for hemp is blooming. Since the cultivation of hemp plants was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill , we’ve seen a steady incline in production, consumption, and general buzz about this powerful plant.

From skincare to tinctures to clothing and even food, hemp is being grown for hundreds of different consumer products and applications. With every part of the plant – including the flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds – being used for beneficial purposes, the demand for hemp has never been higher.

In 2019, the global industrial hemp market was estimated at $4.71 billion . Hundreds of farmers in Michigan , Pennsylvania , and elsewhere across the U.S. have applied to start growing hemp since legalization passed.

But you don’t have to be a farmer to grow your own hemp. In fact, hemp is an incredible herbal ally that is not only surprisingly easy to grow, but that also offers a ton of benefits for the home grower.

How Do You Grow Hemp At Home?

Hemp is a cultivar of cannabis plants that contains less than .3% concentration of THC in the dried flowers. That means that, although hemp and cannabis are technically the same species of plant, hemp can’t get you high.

Some would say that growing hemp is in fact as American as apple pie, since farmers in the U.S. were legally required to grow it as a staple crop during the 1700’s . Many of the founding fathers grew hemp, including George Washington .

Growing your own hemp at home is as simple as growing any other vegetable or herb. All you need is some soil, a pot or a garden bed, seeds, water, and plenty of sunshine. Hemp plants can get pretty big, so make sure you give them enough space to spread out and up. We love these easy starter kits from Pot For A Pot , and their grow guide is a great place to start for first-time hemp growers.

The name “weed” doesn’t come from nothing – hemp plants are known for their ability to grow in almost any climate and can thrive without much tending. Gardeners will be pleased to know that hemp can be fairly drought tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of water. These plants will also tolerate poor soil, though feeding them with the right nutrients will encourage a larger crop of flowers and seeds throughout the season.

Hemp is a great plant to have in the garden not just because it’s easy, but because it’s beneficial for other plants, too. Hemp can deter pests, so it makes a great companion for vegetables and other herbs. Hemp plants are also great soil builders and bioremediators that take heavy metals out of the soil while fixing beneficial nutrients back into the ground for other plant roots to feed on.

Why Is Home Grown Hemp Good For You?

In addition to being easy to grow and beneficial for the other plants in your garden, growing hemp at home is ideal because it means you can raise a completely pesticide-free crop. Despite the fact that hemp doesn’t really need any pesticides, industrial farmers are known to spray their hemp crops. Growing your own means that you’re guaranteed an organic harvest that hasn’t been contaminated with harsh chemicals.

Even before you get to enjoy the harvest, growing hemp at home can provide some serious benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Gardening is shown to improve your health . Getting outdoors, moving your body around, and caring for a living plant are all small actions that can lower your heart rate, increase blood flow and metabolism, and bring a sense of calm to your mind. Many people even think of gardening like a moving meditation that helps ease anxiety and improve mental health.

But that’s just the beginning of the benefits that homegrown hemp can provide for you! Your plant will produce leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems that you can use to create organic, sustainable, DIY products to support your life and wellness routine.

How To Use Your Homegrown Organic Hemp

Hemp flowers are known for containing CBD, which has been shown to help with a number of different ailments including anxiety, stress, insomnia, inflammation, muscle recovery, indigestion, skincare, mood, and more. Your homegrown hemp flowers can be dried and cured for smoking or vaping. You can also use them to infuse oil or butter for baking and cooking.

Homegrown hemp flowers are fantastic for their CBD content and many useful applications. But what about the rest of the plant?

Hemp seeds are actually the most nutritious part of the plant , packing a punch with about 7 grams of protein per tablespoon and high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids . This means that eating hemp seeds can help prevent cardiac, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative illnesses. Hemp seeds are also delicious and can add a lovely nutty flavor to a number of different recipes .

Hemp seeds can also be broken down, refined, and filtered to create your very own hemp seed oil. The resulting green oil is rich in nutrients and Omega-3’s so it is excellent for moisturizing your skin , fighting inflammation, and encouraging cell regeneration.

Hemp leaves are also a highly nutritious edible part of these generous plants. With a dark green color and the distinctive 5-leaf shape, hemp leaves make for a great addition to smoothies , green juices, and sautéed greens. We also love the way that hemp leaves look when used as edible decoration on homemade desserts !

Hemp leaves are also high in chlorophyll, which makes them perfect for natural dyeing . You can play around with individual leaves or use the last of your harvest to make a big batch of non-toxic dye that the whole family can enjoy experimenting with.

But wait, these plants aren’t finished giving just yet! While you may not be able to make fiber for clothing out of your homegrown hemp stems and stalks, you can still use those fibrous parts to improve your garden. Chop your hemp plant at the soil line once it’s finished for the season, then use all of that organic material to mulch or compost in your garden. The plant matter contains high levels of nitrogen and other essential nutrients that your soil and your plants will love.

Whether you’re a first time grower or an experienced gardener, there’s a benefit for everyone when it comes to growing your own hemp at home. So let’s get out there and reconnect with this incredible plant that can do so much for us, body, mind, and soul!