A seed is a seed, right?
Not when it comes to cannabis.
If you're planning on growing cannabis but don't know what you're doing at a fundamental level, you won't necessarily reap what you sow. More specifically, if you're trying to grow weed from hemp seeds, you're about to be very disappointed.
Especially if those hemp seeds come from Amazon.
In this article, we're going to give you a crash course on cannabis seeds and how to find legitimate ones for growing. So, if you want to learn more about growing hemp seeds and why you can't just buy them from any old online market, keep reading.
Hemp vs. Cannabis
Cannabis isn't exactly a new phenomenon. However, when Hemp CBD products hit the market, the buzz around it created a need for fast information. What is it? What does it do? Will it get you high? Is it legal? Is it safe? Is it healthy? Can I grow my own?
All of these questions created a vortex of misguided information. Much of the confusion comes from years of criminalizing and decriminalizing marijuana, which contains THC—the stuff that's responsible for getting you high. Of course, now, we easily recognize that THC and CBD's primary difference is their capacity to alter an individual's state of mine.
While that makes logical, we still have to contend with all the pseudonyms used to refer to the plant as a whole. You've likely heard them all—hemp, marijuana, mary jane, ganja, weed, sticky icky—the list goes on. Hemp and marijuana are the two most important vocabulary words here, as they are the designated names for the two types of cannabis that bring us CBD and THC, respectively.
It's important to understand that hemp and marijuana are not scientific names, nor do they indicate genus, species, subspecies, or gender. The terms "hemp" and "marijuana" actually came from are still up for etymological debate. Plenty of disparate populations over thousands of years come into play here.
For example, there's the early Germanic use of the Dutch term hennop and the Mayan Nauhatl millihuan which were later posited to translate to hemp and marijuana. This should also tell you that these nicknames are relative to their geographic origins and have since morphed from cultural influences.
Scientifically, you have cannabis and its subspecies, sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Both hemp and marijuana can be of any cannabis subspecies and gender. Therefore, hemp and marijuana are referred to as varietals—and are not interchangeable.
Defining Hemp and Hemp Seeds
So, aside from the fact that hemp refers to a variety of cannabis that produces high CBD concentrations, how do we recognize and define it?
Physically, hemp and marijuana look very similar. They have similar smells and even flavor profiles. However, if you observe their leaves close enough, you'll notice that hemp tends to be taller, thinner, and have skinnier leaves. The bulk of the varietal's leaves are mostly concentrated at the top, with very few branches and leaves along the stem's bottom.
If you look at marijuana and hemp side by side, you'll notice that the marijuana varietal appears shorter and bushier, while hemp will appear as the opposite.
Another factor that separates the two varietals on a physical level is their cultivation and applications. Hemp can adapt to virtually any climate and grows much closer together. It also has a wider variety of uses, including fabrics, fibers, textiles, fuel, skincare, plastics, food, and producing CBD products for health and wellness.
The same goes for hemp seeds. Hemp seeds and marijuana seeds are essentially identical. However, hemp seeds can be eaten as they provide a wonderful source of nutrition. That's not to say that marijuana seeds can't be eaten. However, they're not mass-produced for consumption the way hemp seeds are.
Marijuana seeds are specifically bred to grow more marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. This also makes them much more expensive. We should probably also note that eating marijuana seeds won't get you high either.
Hemp Seeds for Eating
Now that you understand why you can't grow weed, aka marijuana, from a hemp seed, it's time to explain the differences in hemp seeds made for eating vs. growing.
If you've been on Amazon searching for hemp seeds, you've most likely come across packages that read "dry roasted," "hemp seed hearts," "hulled hemp seeds," and even hemp oils and extracts. The same goes for any other marketplace, including your health food store.
Here's the deal:
The hemp seeds you buy from these places are, in fact, hemp hearts. What are hemp hearts? Hemp hearts are hulled hemp seeds. We know it sounds redundant, but bear with us.
Hemp seeds are basically nuts. To get to the nutritious insides, the hard outer shell must be removed—hence the hulling. When you order hemp seeds from Amazon or buy elsewhere, the product you get is typically the inner, softer, easier to chew and digest part of the seed. You can find whole hemp seeds as well, but they're typically roasted or ground into a fine powder to make them easier to consume.
The processes that edible hemp seeds go through cause them to become separated from their germ, which means they cannot be activated to sprout. So, no, you cannot grow from the hemp seeds you find on Amazon or in other general markets.
Hemp Seeds for Growing
If you're looking to grow CBD, you're going to have to look elsewhere for your seeds. Hemp seeds cultivated for industrial growth and CBD purposes must be purchased from a certified and licensed seed bank.
Don't worry, it's perfectly legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Of course, if you're looking to grow an entire crop for mass marketing, you'll need first to meet some state and federal requirements. If you're looking to grow a few plants for yourself, you're secret safe with us.
Finding a reputable seed bank to purchase your hemp seeds from is easy. It's figuring out the strain and genetics that gets a bit tricky. Seasoned growers of all types of cannabis understand the importance of genetics and their role throughout the entire life cycle of a cannabis plant.
So, if you're looking for hemp seeds to start your own grow, here are a few pointers:
Get Feminized Hemp Seeds
The last thing you want to do is waste your hard-earned money on high-quality hemp seeds only to find mid-production that half your plants are males. It's not that male plants aren't useful, but if you're growing specifically for CBD content, you won't benefit much from the males because they're typically low in cannabinoid concentrations.
The primary purpose of the male cannabis for both varietals is to pollinate the females so they can grow hearty, cannabinoid-latent flowers. So, make sure you're purchasing feminized hemp seeds to ensure that your grow doesn't have any male plants taking up space and energy.
Decide Where You'll Be Growing
Another important factor in choosing your hemp seeds is the location where you'll be growing. Your location will also help determine the strain you choose—which we'll get to in a minute.
Unlike marijuana, hemp can grow well in a variety of conditions. However, if you're growing outdoors, you still want to ensure that you're choosing seeds you can accommodate from soil to changing weather. Adversely, if you're growing indoors, you want to select the seeds that thrive under grow lights.
Choose Your Strain Wisely
The strain you choose will help determine where you can grow your seeds. For example, sativas are known to grow taller while indicas are known to grow shorter and bushier. If you don't have a choice between an indoor or outdoor setup, you'll first want to consider the strain that's best suited for your given location.
Additionally, the strain you choose and its genetics will also determine the CBD concentration you can expect from your yield. Predictability is one of the most important factors in hemp farming, even for the home grower. The genetics of the strain will also give you an idea of what to expect throughout your plants' entire growth cycle.
Lastly, there are significant differences in sativas and indica strains in how they affect your body and mind. Hemp CBD won't get you high, but you also want to consider the type of benefits you want. For example, do you want your CBD flowers to promote relaxation or alertness? Are you growing to help with pain relief or general well-being?
Considering these things will influence your choice of strain and genetics.
Now you have your answer—no, you can't just grow hemp with any old hemp seeds. You need to put time and effort into deciding which type of seeds to purchase, how to grow successfully, and understanding the fundamentals of cannabis.
If you're planning to grow indoors, we can help. Grobo is an automated grow box for hydroponic growing. We use deep water culture, making it easier for you to grow from seed or clones. Grow up to three ounces of CBD in just four months with our automated system.