Since hemp growing and harvesting became legal in the US in 2018, hemp growers have had to put up with numerous challenges, including close supervision by law enforcement, less demand than predicted for their products, and more. Growers lose much of their crop to crop diseases, failure, and a variety of environmental factors.

Among the restrictions the law has placed on hemp growers to prevent the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana, is a law forbidding the use or cultivation of hemp with THC above the permitted level, which sits at just 0.3%. In 2019, an estimated 50%-60% of the crop harvested was unusable for growers due to the reasons stated above, in particular for being too “hot” for use.
“Hot” hemp, as it is known, is hemp which tests as “hot”, or too high, on the THC scale, and can cause huge losses for growers. According to both the state and federal law, if a grower has a crop which has become “hot”, not only does the grower need to swallow the commercial loss of the crop, but it also becomes the grower’s responsibility to pay for its destruction.
 

How to Avoid Harvesting a “Hot” Crop:

  • It’s critical to test your crop every day in the two or three weeks before harvesting time. Sending samples to an external lab can be costly, and can take up to several days to get results. In the time it takes for an external lab to get you the results, THC levels in crops will continue to rise. Therefore, it is ideal to have a quick and efficient in-house testing solution you can rely on as well as a pre-harvest testing protocol.
  • Cultivate cultivars which are known for their low THC/ high CBD history, as the factors which lead to high THC in crops are mostly genetic.
  • Harvesting the crop as early as possible lowers the risk of finding high levels of THC, and gives a broader safety margin. CBD margins rise in line with THC, so once you reach CBD potency of 7%, maximum 8%, it’s important to harvest the crop as it’s likely at the legal THC limit. Waiting for greater CBD potency is not worth the risk.

The most crucial factor in guaranteeing you don’t waste time and money on harvesting an unusable crop is having an accessible and easy-to-use testing solution, which can get you quick results. GemmaCert’s potency analysis tool is indispensable for hemp farmers looking to maximize their profit and minimize crop wastage. GemmaCert’s Fresh Flower Testing Protocol allows farmers to test their plants within 24 hours, and provides results without the waiting or travelling times required of an external lab.