CBD Oil and the Environment: What Science Tells Us and What We Need to Know

One of the strongest arguments for proponents of cannabis legalization stems from its ability to be turned into a wide variety of products. But not only can it help create clothing, ropes, papers, and so on, many say cannabis can do it at a fraction of the cost while creating less stress on the environment. This is thanks to its speedy seed to harvest rates and easy-to-grow nature. 

While cannabis finds its way into many household items, particularly beauty products, CBD oil is perhaps the item most synonymous with the hemp variety of these crops.

A wellness supplement that doesn’t necessarily replace anything existing on the market, CBD isn’t what most proponents envisioned when they claimed cannabis products could save the plant. 

However, CBD oil’s uniqueness and immense popularity, forcing hemp cultivation to explode, gives us unique insight into whether cultivating cannabis is always a positive aspect on the environment. 

What is CBD Oil? 

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 100 naturally occurring phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD lends its name to CBD oil, which is derived from the hemp variety of cannabis plants. This allows CBD manufacturers like Innovetpet to take all the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis while leaving behind the one that causes the high associated with marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).   

Unable to produce a euphoric high, CBD and the other phytocannabinoids can be extracted from hemp in several ways. Located in the resin that coats the flowers, on the commercial level, CO2 is most frequently used to separate the phytocannabinoids from the rest of the plant material. 

When ingested, phytocannabinoids, like CBD, interact with several regulatory receptors, predominantly CB1 and CB2 receptors that belong to the endocannabinoid system. When these receptors are activated, they release signals that help reduce issues such as anxiety, pain, stomach discomfort, and seizures rates. 

With the phytocannabinoids predominantly coming from the flowers, the stalks and seeds are left unharmed, which can be used to create other products.  

The Environmental Benefits Of Hemp CBD Oil

Farmers love hemp, and so do many environmentalists. Hemp grows fast, is relatively easy to grow, and yields heavily, even in less than ideal conditions. This includes its ability to tolerate pests, allowing farmers to use fewer pesticides and herbicides than what would typically be expected.   

With everything from its roots to its leaves to its notorious flowers creating products that can be found in the textile industry to the automotive industry to the food industry, hemp can inject its environmentally friendly nature into many places. Hemp can even be helpful to the environment even before it’s harvested. 

Phytoremediation, coined by scientist Ilya Raskin, describes a plant that can uptake dangerous heavy metals from contaminated soil. And hemp has “very phytoremediation properties,” says Vyacheslav Dushenkov, whose team tested hemp’s ability to accumulate heavy metals from soil in contaminated fields near Chernobyl in the 1990s. 

Then, hemp may be one of the solutions to climate change, thanks to its heavy intake of CO2. 

Last, while both types of cannabis plants, hemp is considerably easier to grow outdoors on a large scale due to marijuana’s sensitivity to fertilization and the demand for it to have an attractive appearance. 

The Environmental Negatives Of Hemp CBD Oil  

While most agree that hemp will have a more positive impact on the environment, it isn’t all rosy. 

Research has linked hemp production to several problematic issues, including wildlife death due to degradation of public lands, water theft, and over-fertilization. As well, the aroma molecules that give these plants their range of scents are the same compounds that produce volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can impact the ozone. 

While laws on hemp productions are easing around the world, many manufacturers, such as those that produce CBD oil, create a larger carbon footprint than they care for due to restrictions that force them into sourcing and shipping their products halfway around the world. 

Putting It All Together 

Often with good comes the bad, and growing hemp is no different. However, many of the negative impacts hemp cultivation currently has on the environment will come to an end thanks to legalization. Legalization will force the hemp industry into establishing the proper regulation, research, and technology it needs. 

There are several ways to capture VOCs before they mix with nitrogen oxide and sunlight, forming ozone-degrading aerosols. Research shows that while a water and sun-hungry crop, these plants’ demand for water and nutrients, particularly phosphorus, has been thoroughly overstated. Locally sourced hemp has grown exponentially, and advancements in technology will find higher efficiency extraction methods.  

By all accounts, the hemp industry should blossom into an incredibly environmentally friendly and sustainable crop that many proponents have long hoped it truly can be.