Growing hemp has many benefits. From being an excellent source of protein to being one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, hemp is not only the fastest-growing plant in the world, but it has an impressive crop yield that ranges from 3 to 4 months.
However, hemp farmers must be mindful of possible toxicants found in the air, soil, and water that may hinder the plant’s growing cycle.
While some are naturally occurring and others result from industrial and agricultural pollution, toxicants are harmful to a living organism. In humans, prolonged exposure and the body’s inability to efficiently remove them once absorbed can pose a severe health risk.
Taking preventative measures will help you from forfeiting thousands of dollars. Here are a few toxicants to beware of when growing hemp.
Under certain conditions, mold and fungi can grow at any stage of your hemp crop life cycle. As the perfect humid environment helps them grow and replicate, mold and fungi begin to produce mycotoxins naturally. These secondary metabolites are capable of causing disease and death in humans.
According to a clinical review, some 300 to 400 compounds are now recognized as mycotoxins, of which a dozen groups regularly receive attention as threats to human and animal health. Aflatoxins, for example, are a form of mycotoxin produced by some species of Aspergillus fungi. They are potential carcinogens and extremely dangerous. Immediate exposure to aflatoxins can be life-threatening and can cause severe liver failure.
Pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances that are used to protect plants from pests, weeds. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its usage in the United States totaled over 1.1 billion pounds annually in 2011 and 2012.
While the EPA has approved adding hemp to the use sites of 47 pesticides, residues can be found in everyday foods and beverages. The adverse health effects of pesticides, per EPA, include gastrointestinal, neurological, and carcinogenic consequences. Hemp growers must test their hemp crops through third-party laboratories to comply with federal and state regulations and ensure consumers are getting the highest quality hemp-derived products.
Another benefit of hemp is the plant’s bioaccumulation ability, which occurs when an organism absorbs a substance faster than it eliminates it. While it’s excellent for uptaking water and nutrients from the soil, it also makes way for heavy metals, even if present in a low concentration.
Although naturally occurring, heavy metals are known for their toxicity, particularly in environmental contexts, and they include mercury, arsenic, and lead. One way heavy metal toxicity can be preventable is by following good manufacturing practices, including testing the soil before growing.
Testing your hemp crop
If your hemp crop is intended for creating hemp-derived products for retail sales, a lab test will ensure that the end product is safe for consumption. At INX Laboratories, a hemp testing laboratory in Central Florida, we specialize in laboratory testing for mycotoxins, pesticides, and heavy metals. By providing affordable and accurate testing results, we help hemp farmers and hemp businesses display precise information about their hemp-derived products, such as full-spectrum cannabidiol, broad-spectrum cannabidiol, isolate, and many more. Book your appointment and learn more about our services today: https://inxlabs.com/contact/