Oregon State University has committed to conducting a study of the now legal and increasingly popular crop known as hemp. The study, which will be conducted over the course of this year, aims to find more efficient ways for farmers to grow the crop. For those not familiar with the plant, hemp is another name for the cannabis sativa plant and its products. This same species of plant is also called marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both names for the cannabis sativa plant, but people usually use these terms to talk about two different varieties of the plant.
Hemp Varieties Serve Different Purposes
Varieties grown to make hemp rope and other products you see on the shelves have significantly less of the chemical that makes marijuana users feel high. Those varieties are sometimes called “industrial hemp.”
Varieties grown for use as a drug have been specifically bred to have more THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the chemical that makes users feel high.
The stalks of industrial hemp, the kind with low levels of THC—can be made into rope, paper, wax, and cloth for furniture or clothes. Sterilized hemp seeds can be made into oil for shampoo, soap, or body lotion. The seeds can also be mixed in with food for animals.
Ohio State Program Aimed At Figuring Out Best Way To Grow
According to Richard Rosenberg, director of the 84-acre Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center facility, the research is aimed at figuring out how to grow in a way that does not create so much plastic waste.
The research program is growing about 35,000 hemp plants on roughly an acre and a half to understand the best way to grow in our local climate, with the hope of developing methods to help save farmers money. Part of the research will be to determine how much water the plants need to thrive and the impacts of watering during the crucial flowering phase later this summer.
Also, six different types of hemp are being evaluated at the grow site, with four seed types that will flower depending on how much sun they receive, and two other types that will flower when a plant reaches a predetermined height.
This research was funded in part by a generous $1 million donation to OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center from Oregon CBD, a seed research company, to take a closer look at how hemp may be used in health products as well as for textiles and construction materials.
With many growers in the region unable to sell their crop due to mold and insect infestation, OSU’s research hopes to find new ways to yield higher crop totals and add a boost to the area’s fledgling farming community. Some farms grow hemp just to extract the CBD oil for edibles, while others grow to attain the best flowers for those who prefer to smoke. Still, researchers hope the legislature will take notice and form a commission to study ways to develop and protect the hemp market in Oregon.