It’s no secret that the CBD industry is booming, but exactly how great is the ROI of hemp farming? How much CBD is produced per acre of hemp, or rather, how much CBD is in hemp oil after extraction?
In order to get some final numbers regarding how much CBD you can get from an acre of hemp, we need to break hemp farming down into three numbers: how many hemp plants you can grow on one acre of farmland, how much hemp oil product those plants will produce, and how much CBD is actually in the hemp oil.
Let’s jump in:
In general, you can grow roughly 1,500 to 3,000 hemp plants per acre depending on the size of the hemp cultivar you choose and the space between each hemp plant. Adequate sunlight is crucial for CBD production, so it’s recommended that hemp plants are spaced between 3 and 5 feet apart.
Hemp is incredibly versatile and can be used to make paper, textiles, building materials, food products, and, of course, CBD products. The type of product you intend to make determines the type of hemp you’ll need to grow and how much hemp you can grow on an acre of land.
To produce CBD, you’ll need to grow female hemp plants because only female plants produce flowers, and the flower is the richest source of cannabinoids like CBD. You’ll also want to grow a strain of hemp designed for CBD production (as opposed to industrial hemp, which is typically farmed for its fiber or oil content).
Flowering hemp plants generally need more space and sunlight than male plants, so you may find your total capacity for hemp to be on the lighter end, around 1,500 plants per acre.
In a 2018 trial run by the Northwest Crops and Soil Program at the University of Vermont, a single hemp plant spaced 5 by 5 feet apart weighed 9.11 pounds on average. That means that one acre of land can yield approximately 13,665 pounds of hemp biomass that can be used to produce hemp CBD oil.
The answer to this one is pretty complicated because the factors regarding CBD content in hemp can vary greatly. On average, one hemp plant will make approximately one pound of crude oil, or a raw oil product that hasn’t been fully refined.
Crude hemp oil contains CBD and many other plant compounds, like other cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as plant materials that may need to be removed to improve the taste and texture of the final oil.
Of course, our “one pound” estimate is just that—an estimate. The actual amount of crude CBD oil you will get from one single hemp plant depends on various factors, including the:
As we mentioned, the initial oil produced from hemp is a crude oil, or an unrefined product that contains an array of plant compounds. Crude oil can be sold wholesale to manufacturers, but it needs to be refined if you intend to create a “final product” like a CBD tincture or gummy.
The amount of CBD in the final oil depends on varying factors, like the CBD concentration in the original plant material, the refinement methods used, and the desired resulting product.
For instance, if you aim to produce full spectrum CBD oil, or a CBD product that contains an array of hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes, you’ll be able to produce significantly more from the same amount of crude oil than if you were to make CBD isolate, a pure form of CBD.
Some refinement methods are more efficient than others, but the largest discrepancy is in the potency of the original crude oil. Because CBD potency can range from 3-20% in different hemp cultivars, the CBD potency in the crude oil can also range from 20-75%. Because of these huge discrepancies between hemp crops, it’s impossible to say how much CBD you will get from a single hemp plant or an acre of hemp, but we can make general estimates:
If you add all of the above factors up, you’ll find that one acre of hemp can produce roughly 1,500 hemp plants, or roughly 1,500 pounds of crude oil. The amount of CBD available depends on the total potency in the original material, but crude oil may contain around 50-65% CBD. On the higher end, this means that you can produce around 975 pounds of CBD oil from one acre of hemp.
Keep in mind that there are numerous factors that affect the CBD yield from an acre of hemp, and it is ultimately impossible to predict how much CBD you can produce from hemp. In perfect conditions, farmers have reported much higher yields than suggested above, while others have suggested that they pulled nearly half that amount from a full acre of hemp.
The answer to “how much CBD is produced per acre of hemp” truly depends on the details, starting with the potency of the hemp cultivar and the soil quality and ending with the particular refinement methods used during production. Over time, hemp producers can gain a better understanding of their CBD yields and improve production rates, allowing them to make better predictions about their CBD yields from crop to crop.
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