Springfield, Oregon-When it comes to cannabis production, there can actually be too much of a good thing. Because of a drastic oversupply, prices have been driven down considerably. Growers are now beginning to turn their attention toward hemp to stay profitable.
Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant but is known for its industrial properties. Hemp typically contains 0.3 percent THC or less and does not produce any psychedelic effects. It is legally federally and often used to produce food, clothing, building materials, and more.
Righ now, Oregon officials are fielding requests to legally grow hemp at a rate 20 times higher than in 2015. Only Colorado is producing more hemp in the United States. A total of 19 states have legalized some form of hemp production.
Another reason for the increase in hemp’s appeal seems to be related to CBD, a cannabinoid that does not produce a “stoned” feeling like THC does. CBD is often used to treat chronic pain and other medical ailments. Growers in Oregon are starting to rely more on CBD derived from Hemp than THC heavy cannabis flower.
Approximately 50 percent of the hemp grown across the country is being produced for CBD extraction.
Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, feels that the transition for cannabis growers into hemp is a natural one.
“There are a lot of growers who already have experience growing cannabis, and when you’re growing for CBD, there are a lot of the same techniques that you use for growing marijuana,” Steenstra said according to Voice of America.
Jerrard McCord is a grower in Southern Oregon. He has dedicated a considerable portion of his grow space to focus on hemp.
“This is a business. You’ve got to adapt, and you’ve got to be a problem solver,” McCord said.
Overall, the price of cannabis flower has fallen about 50 percent since 2015 according to an analysis by the Oregon Office of Economics.
Although some of Oregon’s overstock of cannabis is being illegally exported, much of it remains in state and is saturating the market. Many growers are actually now viewing traditional cannabis flower as a waste of precious grow space.
Trey Willison has made the transition from cannabis to hemp production and is even considering destroying some of his cannabis plants to make room for hemp.
“Whoever would have thought we’d get to the point of destroying pounds of marijuana?” Willison said.