Is Delta-8 THC Safe? Recent Health Reports Paint a Darker Picture

Delta-8 THC might not be as safe as we thought.  When the product first appeared on the market, hemp CBD manufacturers and consumers alike were delighted. Milder intoxication, similar reported health benefits, and legal ambiguity let you have your cake and eat it too.

But the product’s association with delta-9 THC soon put it in the government’s crosshairs, with lawmakers moving to ban delta-8 products. 

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because CBD experienced the same obstacles, such as inaccurate labels, questionable ingredients, and toxic extraction methods. However, recent medical cases show that delta-8 THC may not be as safe as we think.  

So is delta-8 THC safe? Why could it be dangerous, and what – if anything – can be done to make delta-8 THC safer?

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC (a.k.a. “D8”) is a minor cannabinoid that naturally occurs in all forms of cannabis. However, D8’s small presence doesn’t impact the overall effects of CBD or delta-9 THC.

Synthesized in 1965 by prominent cannabis researcher Raphael Mechoulam, delta-8 THC is very similar to its more (in)famous counterpart. 

Delta-8 and delta-9 are also structurally identical. The difference between the two is the location of what’s called a “chemical bond.” This is like a magnet that connects atoms through shared electrons. 

In THC’s case, these are double bonds, which means they share two electrons at the atomic level. 

THC has several molecular carbon chains. This is where the difference lies. Delta-8 THC’s double bond is on the 8th carbon chain, while you’ll find delta-9’s bond on the 9th chain – hence the numbers. 

It’s easy to assume something as (seemingly) subtle as a double bond won’t significantly affect its behavior. 

But this minor deviation makes a significant difference.

What Does Delta-8 THC Do?

Users report similar effects to delta-9 THC but with substantially muted intoxication. This difference has broad consumer appeal, acting as a middle ground between CBD and delta-9 THC. People can enjoy a high that won’t impair cognitive function. 

Like delta-9, some of D8’s effects include:

  • Mild euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • “Body high”
  • Functional mental clarity (some intoxication)
  • Increased appetite

How do You Make Delta-8 THC?

You can’t isolate delta-8 THC or make those products at home. It involves a complex extraction process with special equipment in an industrial setting. 

It’s possible to extract delta-8 from CBD or THC-rich sources. There are several methods, only two of which don’t involve THC. Let’s look at those now.


In 2004, Raphael Mechoulam found a way to synthesize delta-8 THC from CBD using isomerization. Isomers refer to compounds that are chemically similar but molecularly different. Isomerization takes that existing substance to create an isomer. 

Although Mechoulam patented his process for CBD, isomerization is used in a variety of industries. 

When applied to CBD, isomerization uses acid, solvents, and heat to isolate the CBD and synthesize delta-8 THC from it. 

However, the process is much “dirtier” than CO2, alcohol, or even butane extraction. Consequently, it’s a massive area of concern and – in our eyes – the number one suspect for recent health issues (we’ll get to that soon).

Selective Cultivation

Selective cultivation has been used for thousands of years, bringing us watermelons, broccoli, bananas, and more. 

Cannabis also underwent selective cultivation, with growers trying to gear strains for certain cannabinoids and terpenes, along with larger yields and more resilient plants. 

The method allowed breeders to grow high-CBD “marijuana” (over 0.3% THC), along with potent THC or balanced strains. 

However, this will be a long process, given delta-8 THC’s trace amounts. Genetic modification in a lab would get the fastest results, but no hemp has undergone that process (yet). 

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Health Concerns

For a while, delta-8 THC coasted by, dodging bans whenever they could. But new discoveries about delta-8 THC may mean its days under the radar are numbered. 

As of September 1st, 2021, 18 states have either regulated, limited, or banned delta-8. Meanwhile, four states have the product under review. Consequently, the product could get restricted or banned in a total of 22 states – nearly half the U.S. 

Between January 1st and July 31st, the FDA reported 660 adverse events related to delta-8 THC products. Their report – released September 14th, 2021 – provided a breakdown of these incidents. 

What’s frightening is that the majority of “unintentional exposure” cases occurred in people under 18. In total, children accounted for 18% of hospitalization, with a handful ending up in the ICU.

Why is Delta-8 THC Making People Sick?

We don’t know if delta-8 is the direct reason for these recent hospitalizations. But the FDA’s recent findings indicate the recipe is to blame.

If the CBD industry taught us anything, some manufacturers don’t want to invest in better facilities or extraction methods.  While such practices may help a company’s bottom line, it shows no respect for their customers, who trust those businesses with their health.

Toxic Traces

The biggest problem with delta-8 is the isomerization and extraction processes. CO2, ethanol, or butane won’t work as proper solvents. Instead, manufacturers have to use more toxic ingredients. 

Companies extract the CBD using alkane chemicals like heptane, which is derived from petroleum. It’s also very toxic and highly volatile.

The conversion from CBD to delta-8 THC requires acid, including the highly toxic hydrochloric acid, which can cause severe reactions and death when inhaled at just 50 to 100 parts per million. Now imagine vaping it. 

Health officials warn that manufacturers use household chemicals in unsanitary conditions.

The FDA says in their report:

The final delta-8 THC product may have potentially harmful by-products (contaminants) due to the chemicals used in the process, and there is uncertainty with respect to other potential contaminants that may be present or produced depending on the composition of the starting raw material. If consumed or inhaled, these chemicals, including some used to make (synthesize) delta-8 THC and the by-products created during synthesis, can be harmful.

So which toxic traces get left behind? What (if any) harmful by-products appear? Is the cannabinoid itself to blame?

We don’t know the exact reason. But there are a few ways unscrupulous companies increase the chances of adverse effects.

Inadequate Testing

Third-party lab tests are standard practice for most hemp-derived CBD businesses today – and rightfully so. Things can go wrong, so it’s essential to know before shipping a defective product. 

CBD companies that don’t offer this data are a huge red flag. The same principle applies to delta-8, regardless of the vendor’s CBD experience. 

Cutting Agents

Vitamin E acetate – a cutting agent used in illegal THC vape cartridges – became the center of attention in 2019 for its association with the vaping health crisis. 

The substance is believed to be a significant, or possibly exclusive, contributor to vaping-related illnesses. 

There’s little reason for suppliers not to use the same method to dilute their products. 

Deliberate Negligence or “Cutting Corners”

This is the worst offense, so we saved it for last. As we’ve established, lack of regulation means there are no rules or standards. Consequently, delta-8 vendors have no obligation for quality. 

Most customers, however, don’t realize this. Consequently, the product they think will help their health could be leading them to an emergency room visit. 

Of course, the worst offenders are the ones who don’t test their products. Without safety confirmation, a vendor could unknowingly pump poison into the market for months or years.

This is a clear example of how legality doesn’t always imply morality. 

Making Delta-8 THC Safer

Just like CBD evolved in quality, delta-8 THC needs to follow suit. Leaving the industry unchecked isn’t an option, but banning the product is equally ineffective. The chances are that making delta-8 illegal will just create a new black market niche. 

CBD companies may also continue selling it, regardless of the FDA or legal mandates. 

What’s the solution? Making delta-8 THC safer involves a mix of quality control, regulation, and personal responsibility.

Slow Down

CBD vendors, dispensaries, and customers are too eager to try delta-8 THC. Unsurprisingly, a light version of delta-9 THC has broad appeal. But sometimes, people jump in too quickly.

To quote Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

In other words, people saw a subtle and (sort of) legal way to get high, so producers saw dollar signs. It’s time for all of us to put our excitement aside and give the delta-8 industry time to establish itself and – at the very least – start self-regulating for competition. 

Research the Vendor

As a general rule, it’s best to know as much as possible about a product before buying it. Sites like Reddit, TrustPilot, and similar independent forums, have genuine reviews from real buyers. 

Many reputable, established CBD companies started ceiling delta-8 THC. Just because a business is known for top-quality CBD doesn’t mean they didn’t rush to sell delta-8. Remember, the manufacturing process is entirely different. 

Leave it to the Legal States

If CBD vendors don’t maintain safety and quality, it may be time to find someone who will.  Legal recreational cannabis states are highly (often excessively) regulated. 

Stricter rules mean better quality, consistency, and ultimately, safety.  

One of the hemp CBD industry’s main selling points is “relief without the high.” It’s also established a much better reputation for self-regulating and improving its manufacturing techniques. 

Delta-8 THC is new, misunderstood, toxic, and completely unregulated. “Toxic” and “unregulated” don’t belong in the same sentence. Given the need for strict quality control beyond hemp CBD, the legal market may be in a better position to produce, distribute, and sell delta-8 THC. 

Why Don’t We Offer Delta-8 THC?

We don’t offer delta-8 THC because we don’t trust it yet. We’re confident that – like CBD – D8 production will become more refined and self-regulated. 

But until that time comes, we’ll focus on our proprietary CBD nanoemulsion process to make products that we know are safe. 

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8 THC is a milder version of delta-9
  • It only appears in trace amounts
  • Delta-8 can be synthesized from CBD through isomerization
  • There is evidence of adverse health events from delta-8 THC products
  • The solvents and chemicals involved are dirty and dangerous
  • It’s best to avoid these products until they become regulated or self-regulated


Current evidence for cannabis’ effectiveness at treating PTSD is largely anecdotal. But relaxing attitudes about the drug and the emergence of non-prescription hemp CBD caught  researchers’ attention. 

While CBD (or THC) is certainly no substitute for psychological therapy, it definitely reduces a lot of the superficial symptoms of PTSD, helping many people lead better lives. If you happen to suffer from this disorder, it helps to know what CBD oil can do to make your life better.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that cripples a person’s mental health. The public typically associates with veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. However, the condition can arise from any number of horrible events, such as kidnapping, assault, or abuse. 

PTSD’s links with anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and a damaged social life take their toll on millions of Americans every year. While many conventional treatments are available, patients now view CBD oil as a viable option.

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that arises following a severely traumatic experience. This can be a single incident, like kidnapping or assault. Other cases develop after prolonged exposure to extreme stress, such as warfare or abuse. 

PTSD’s links with anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and a damaged social life take their toll on millions of Americans every year. While many conventional treatments are available, patients now view CBD oil as a viable option.

Symptoms of PTSD

According to Mayo Clinic, PTSD symptoms take time to appear. Usually, people notice changes within one month, but these could take years to materialize in other cases. But once the signs start, things will worsen without treatment. 

There are several clues a past event may be back to mentally haunt you. 

Intrusive Thoughts

On occasion, individuals with PTSD experience sudden intrusive thoughts or memories of their experience. In some cases, the mental images are strong enough to psychologically re-enact the traumatic event(s) – also called a “flashback.”

Intrusive memories can also be jarring, causing chronic anxiety and stress. Consequently, nightmares or night terrors about the event are also associated with PTSD. 

Sudden Behavioral Changes

People with PTSD experience behavioral changes in ways that would otherwise seem out of character. Some examples are:

  • Anger, aggression, or irritability
  • Violent or other antisocial outbursts
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Insomnia
  • Hypervigilance 
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Poor memory
  • Negative self-talk

If you notice any of these symptoms or changes, speak to a doctor or mental health professional.

Avoidance Coping

Many of us use “out of sight, out of mind” to temporarily push things to the back of our minds. But when people with PTSD do this, it only serves to compound the problem.

Avoidance coping – or just “avoidance” for short – is when an individual goes to enormous lengths staying away from people, places, or things that remind them of their trauma. 

Refusing to discuss the event is also a sign of avoidance coping and potentially PTSD.

Worsening Symptoms

Despite the wishes of every patient, PTSD doesn’t go away on its own. It’s best to acknowledge the warning signs and seek help before things get worse.

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How CBD May Help With PTSD

Marijuana has reportedly helped a lot of patients with PTSD deal with some of the symptoms. A 2011 study in Nature Chemical Biology examined anandamide – an endocannabinoid known as the “bliss molecule.” 

When researchers stopped anandamide production in rodent subjects, they noticed higher, more prolonged levels of distress. Ultimately, it’s this state of mind that forms the core of most PTSD symptoms. 

Treating “Flashbacks”

Many people with PTSD have to deal with the memories of their trauma, often to the point where it becomes disruptive. These sudden, jarring reminders are incredibly unpleasant. Fortunately, those who used CBD and THC to deal with such recollections found the compounds quite effective.

Generally, patients report that cannabis helps set these memories aside. They can experience them without the ill effects associated with triggering traumatic mental images.

These claims are consistent with the above study’s findings. Mice who lacked anandamide experience more robust, more prolonged fear and stress.

Reducing Anxiety

Chronic stress often leads to anxiety, so it’s no surprise that those with PTSD suffer accordingly. Conventional medications can be effective, but the unpleasant side effects are well known. 

Marijuana rich in cannabidiol (CBD) helps alleviate anxiety by generating a feeling of relaxation without mental impairment. One 2015 analysis of existing literature in Neurotherapeutics examined the finds of multiple sources. 

In their conclusion, the authors wrote: “Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD….”

It’s important to note that cannabis with a high concentration of the psychoactive chemical THC (legally termed “marijuana”) can make anxiety worse.

Consequently, PTSD patients should limit THC content as much as possible.

Fighting Insomnia

Because the effects of PTSD are so powerful, stress is an inevitable consequence. With this comes a release of hormones meant to stimulate us into the classic “fight or flight” state; unfortunately, this makes sleep virtually impossible.

Many people use CBD to increase relaxation and fight insomnia. It’s useful for those who would otherwise have difficulty falling asleep. A 2017 publication in Current Psychiatry Reports supports CBD and THC as effective sleep aids.

But while both cannabinoids helped people get to sleep, CBD was better at improving duration and quality. THC, on the other hand, negatively affected both. 

Proper rest is also critical for a healthy brain, let alone one dealing with PTSD. CBD’s sedative and anti-anxiety properties offer a two-pronged approach to better sleep.

Substance Abuse

It’s an unfortunate reality that many people turn to narcotics or alcohol to numb the pain. While this might be superficially effective to an addict, it gradually erodes their health and quality of life. 

But a 2018 review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research demonstrates some promising findings. The opioid epidemic is no secret, which kills 115 Americans every day, according to the paper.

The authors also explain a harsh reality. Despite representing a fraction of the world’s population, the U.S. consumes 80% of the world’s prescription pain medications. This overprescribing by doctors helped fuel the epidemic. 

Cannabinoids like CBD and THC may help act as a complementary or interim treatment when conventional ones like methadone aren’t available due to a chronic shortage. Drug withdrawal symptoms, like pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability are all potentially treatable with doses of CBD.

However, we need clinical studies to see how helpful CBD can be for drug and alcohol withdrawal.

PTSD is a debilitating condition that nobody deserves to experience. Considering the destructive feelings and behaviors that patients often deal with, the benefits of medical marijuana shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Key Takeaways

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a multi-symptom disorder arising from short or long-term exposure to extreme mental stress.
  • CBD’s reported therapeutic properties may cover most – if not all – PTSD symptoms.
  • Any form of cannabis can help, but CBD offers better results without intoxication.
  • PTSD patients should minimize THC consumption

Does CBD Oil Expire? Everything You Need to Know to Make CBD Go the Distance

You (hopefully) do this with every visit to the grocery store. Regardless of the food in question, checking its expiration date is essential for quality and safety. 

Naturally, your eagle eye for freshness should apply to unregulated products, like health supplements. In most cases, even unregulated products have the good sense to add expiration dates on their labels.

So given the importance to you as a consumer, why doesn’t a single cannabis product – THC or CBD – have an expiration date? Does CBD oil expire at all? 

CBD oil’s lifespan isn’t finite. But since you don’t have numbers to guide you, the best you can do is take steps to keep your CBD as fresh as possible.

Let’s look at how CBD oil freshness works – and ways to maintain it. 

Does CBD Oil Expire?

Yes, CBD oil inevitably expires. Cannabinoids deteriorate over time when exposed to the elements (more on that later), but these compounds won’t rot and make you ill like bad food. 

Still, the carrier oils, like hemp, coconut, or MCT, can expire or become stale. Other ingredients in your CBD may also have definite expiration dates. 

So while cannabidiol itself may not go nasty, other ingredients will. Consequently, they drag down the whole product.

How Long Does CBD Oil Last?

Generally, CBD oil can last between one to two years, depending on how you store it. This is in line with the expiration dates of carrier oils – like MCT and coconut – containing your CBD. 

Why Doesn’t CBD Oil Have an Expiration Date?

CBD doesn’t have an expiration date because we don’t know how long it takes for a product to expire. Keep in mind oil isn’t the only form of CBD. It’s available in all kinds of foods and drinks, along with vapes, topicals, and dry hemp flower. 

We need to look beyond CBD and instead focus on the bigger picture when it comes to expiration. For instance, a CBD-infused topical is likely to stay fresh longer than a brownie. Similarly, you’ll likely get better shelf life from powdered isolate compared to full or broad-spectrum oil.  

Additionally, hemp-based CBD supplements aren’t regulated. Even if CBD producers know when their products expire, they’re not bound by law to disclose anything. 

That being said, Tessera Naturals will happily provide that information if and when it becomes available.

What Happens to CBD as it Gets Older?

We understand CBD doesn’t expire in the typical sense, but its days are always numbered. However, instead of growing mold or fermenting, CBD simply fades away. 

Cannabinoid degradation depends on a couple of factors, as one 1976 study points out in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

Researchers noted that light (excluding sunlight) was the main “killer” against cannabinoids. The compounds are also temperature-sensitive to some extent.

Additionally, the study points out how oxidation breaks down cannabinoids when exposed to the open air. 

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Signs Your CBD Oil Expired

Like with any food, there are ways to tell if your CBD oil is expired. Keep an eye out for a few red flags. If you’re unsure, err on the side of caution and throw away your product. 

The Oil is Cloudy and Thick

CBD oil isn’t watery (at least it shouldn’t be). But excessive thickness can be a sign your oil is going south. In many cases, you’ll also notice a cloudy or murky color – another red flag for expired CBD. 

Something Smells Wrong

The scent is often a dead giveaway when estimating a product’s freshness. Typically, CBD oil has an “earthy” plant aroma. It might also smell sweet, spicy, or flowery, depending on the terpenes present. 

But if your CBD oil smells “skunky,” that’s a sign something’s wrong. Imagine a nose-piercing mix between earthy cannabis and rotten eggs if you’re unsure what to look for.

It Tastes Strange

Odds are if something smells terrible, it tastes just as bad. CBD oil has a distinct flavor, so a strange flavor means your product is probably rancid. 

Granted, CBD oil already has a unique taste. Keep an eye out for any deviations from the usual earthy, herbal, nutty aroma. 

How to Keep CBD Oil Fresh

You can keep CBD oil fresh in many different ways. You don’t need any special equipment or techniques, just careful shopping and common sense.

Check Ingredients

Ingredients make or break your CBD oil. Aside from freshness issues, low-quality ingredients generally reduce your product’s potency. Perishable food additives or artificial flavors also complicate freshness.

The best way to avoid early spoilage is to buy the purest CBD possible. Your extract should come from organic or organically-grown hemp.

Look for Third-Party Tests

Most CBD vendors conduct third-party lab tests on their products and make them available online or by request. Never buy CBD from a retailer that doesn’t disclose lab results.

The analysis is vital for knowing what is – or isn’t – in your CBD. Heavy metals, microbes, fungi, and chemicals can contaminate hemp and its extracts. These unwanted ingredients could ruin the product or trigger faster spoilage. 

Store Your CBD Properly

Going back to the above 1976 study, remember that light and open-air make cannabinoids degrade faster. You may notice vendors sell their oil in transparent, opaque, or dark bottles. 

Given what we know, the first option should be out of the question – although it’s still not uncommon. On the other hand, opaque or dark containers limit or block light and slow the CBD’s degradation. 

But regardless of your bottle’s color, the best thing you can do is keep the CBD oil stored in the dark at room temperature. You probably won’t have trouble carving some space for your bottle in a cupboard, pantry, or drawer.

Second, keep bottles sealed. As the study showed, air exposure is also a death sentence to cannabinoids, so don’t leave the bottle uncovered for long. Check to make sure the lid is closed correctly.  

Choose High-Quality Extraction

A lot of people overlook extraction, but the importance of this process can’t be overstated. Typically, there are three ways companies separate CBD and other compounds from the plant.

Butane and alcohol were common solvents and continue to be used for many CBD and THC products. But in recent years, vendors (like Tessera Naturals) embraced CO2 extraction. 

Although carbon dioxide processing requires industrial equipment, expertise, and money, it’s also the only solvent that doesn’t leave behind chemical traces.

Residual butane and alcohol don’t belong in CBD oil, so it’s best to avoid those whenever possible. 

Follow Product Labels

Even if you’re a seasoned CBD user, you should still check your product’s label for any special storage instructions. 

Don’t Buy Too Much CBD Oil

It’s best to keep a steady stream of fresh CBD oil rather than stock up for several months. As a best practice, don’t buy more CBD than you need for one month. 

Will Expired CBD Oil Make You Sick?

Theoretically, expired CBD should have little to no ill effects, as long as the carrier or other ingredients haven’t picked up bacteria, viruses, or fungi. 

The most likely consequences may be an off-taste and underwhelming potency. But nobody needs a reminder that spoiled food is a health risk. Don’t take any chances. 

Key Takeaways

  • There’s no set expiry date for CBD oil
  • CBD itself degrades but doesn’t expire
  • Ingredients and the type of product determine shelf life
  • Check for changes in taste, color, or smell
  • Buy from a reputable source

Is Hemp a Secret Solution to Our Carbon Problem?

Hemp is a hardy and highly adaptive plant that has been grown for thousands of years. The plant was used to make fabric, rope, sails and paper (among other things). Hemp can be grown in such a variety of climates and soil conditions that mass production will be a breeze.

To our ancient ancestors, cannabis was a source of products, food, and medicine. Today, we face another challenge that could reshape our lives. 

Reforestation is a good way to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels, but it’s not the best solution for a few reasons.

Hemp seems to have an ever-growing list of potential uses and benefits, but could it really be a powerful tool against climate change? 

The Current Climate Situation

According to NASA, atmosopheric CO2 concentrations are rising at an unprecedented rate. It took pre-industrial Earth 20,000 years to reach the same carbon dioxide levels as we’ve done in the last 171 years.

Research into recycling and green energy continues, but we’re still mostly dependent on fossil fuels – despite the slight slump we saw during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. 

But, much like the Great Recession, demand and consumption will spike again. According to The Guardian, economic stimulus money will help create a surge of fossil fuel use. Consequently, we’ll also see increased carbon emissions. 

Non-renewable resources appear to be a cheap and efficient way to handle our energy needs. We’re used to these tools, so suddenly shifting gears is logistically impossible. But we’re at a turning point where gradual change may not be fast enough.

There are a lot of ways to reduce atmospheric carbon, including reforestation. These flaws make hemp a better option for mitigating CO2.

Hemp as a Solution to Climate Change

Industrial hemp – a chemovar of the Cannabis sativa L. plant species – may just be returning to the spotlight, but it’s one of our oldest crops. Estimates put its use as far back as the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago. 

Hemp used to be an industrial staple in Europe and North America. It became so prominent that King James I announced a royal decree, ordering every citizen in the British colony of Jamestown to grow at least 100 plants. 

Had that trend continued, could our climate situation have been at least marginally better? If so, it might be time to revive that practice. 

What About Replanting?

Tree-planting is a well-meaning approach to CO2 reduction. Forests are powerful tools to help clear the air and reduce environmental impact. But although they’re handy to have if left alone, the lumber industry can quickly make short work of them. 

There’s also the issue of environmental impact. Cutting down large portions of forest throws the entire ecosystem off balance. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explains that forests house the majority of plant, animal, and insect species. Every tree cut directly impacts biodiversity. 

While reforestation sounds good in practice, some flaws make hemp a preferable choice. 

Hemp Grows Faster than Trees

It’s no secret that trees grow slowly compared to most vegetation. Smaller ones grow quickly, but others only grow a few inches a year.

As a result, it takes time for trees to have a meaningful impact on atmospheric carbon levels.

Hemp, on the other hand, can reach six to 13 feet within four months. Comparably, the world’s fastest-growing tree – the empress splendor – grows ten to 20 feet per year but takes 10 years to mature. 

If you can produce 13-foot-tall hemp plants for times per year, that amount of production dwarfs any tree species. 

All the Cleaning Without the Mess

Again, forests form the backbone of Earth’s biodiversity. We’ve been told since childhood how deforestation is a driving force behind extinction.

Not only does massive deforestation affect native species, it also hamstrings Earth’s ability to use forests as a carbon sink. But there’s no profit in simply planting trees. Hemp, however, is another story. 

You won’t find many species who call hemp fields home. Even if some critters make their way into a massive cannabis farm, harvests won’t drive any animals or plants to extinction. 

Hemp also doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides, which are substances most – if not all – hemp producers and vendors avoid. 

Hemp Absorbs More CO2 

We’ve seen lots of reasons to give hemp a chance to tackle climate change. But the most compelling argument is hemp’s efficiency. Hemp can simply do more with less time, effort, and energy. 

But where does hemp stack up against trees for performance? Unsurprisingly, it’s way better at handling CO2. 

The bottom line is hemp absorbs more carbon than trees. 

Good Earth Resources calls hemp “the ideal carbon sink.” That’s because it outdoes trees by leaps and bounds.

Let’s make a quick comparison. Bloomberg explains that one acre of trees can recapture between one and 10 metric tons of CO2 per year. The only exception being the aforementioned empress tree, which consumes over 100 metric tons per acre. But again, the empress is an exception.

Hemp absorbs up to 22 tons of carbon per hectare, and can be harvested twice yearly, doubling the efficiency to 44 tons. When translated into acres for our above comparison, this translates to 18 tons per acre – twice the maximum average with less impact.

Multiple Other Uses

The fantastic thing about planting hemp is its versatility. Hemp farmers don’t grow hemp intending to let it sit and consume CO2. The plant’s importance to other industries just happens to position it as an effective carbon-stopper. 

We all know some common tree uses, like lumber, paper, and other commodities. But did you know hemp can do all of that and more? 

So not only is hemp a more effective carbon sink, but its industrial uses could theoretically replace trees entirely – and then some.


Many people and businesses have turned away from paper whenever possible, such as online billing or electronic record-keeping. But the product is still in high demand, as are the trees that make it.

But why deal with all the other complications when hemp may be just as good as tree-based paper?

Polish researchers examined the physical properties of conventional and hemp papers. They concluded that paper made from industrial hemp could be an equal substitute. 

However, they advise that new technology is needed to maximize hemp’s potential for paper production. The authors also remind us that their work is preliminary. Still, the experts are optimistic based on their results.

Hemp as a Substitute for Plastics

Since childhood, we’ve been told how plastic recycling is a revolutionary way to reduce waste. Every plastic bottle, plate, or container gets melted down and reused, right?

Wrong. Big time. 

Plastics offer no benefit other than convenience and have a terrible impact on the environment. Although some plastics can get reused in some way, most don’t.

To illustrate, only 2% of these materials are recycled into similar-grade products. Another 8% make their way into lower-quality plastic. As for the other 90%? It ends up in a landfill or incinerator, which also helps pump more CO2 into the atmosphere.

Plastics also heavily rely on fossil fuels for production. Consequently, their large carbon footprint will get even larger. At this rate, emissions are expected to climb from 5.9 million metric tons in 2015 to 91 million by 2050.

Furthermore, nearly half of plastics are for packaging and other single uses, so that only narrows the amount of plastic to be recycled. 

Another exciting thing to consider is that hemp is self-sustaining. Although hemp farming still creates a carbon footprint, its almost supernatural air-cleaning ability consumes more CO2 than its cultivation creates. 

Hemp is a viable alternative to plastics. Not only does it create the same quality material, but it’s also biodegradable. To be fair, plastic also biodegrades – it just takes a few centuries. 

But if they aim to make a substantial change in atmospheric carbon, then our plastic should end up in a compost heap, not an incinerator.

Hemp and Biofuel

When we picture “green energy,” things like solar, wind, and hydroelectric typically come to mind. But biofuel is an essential tool we can’t overlook. 

Biofuel already exists from sources like corn, but hemp can be an even better option. But this isn’t some novel idea put forth by hemp advocates. Henry Ford invented a car powered with hemp biofuel. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry ultimately won the rights to the internal combustion engine. 

Why Should You Learn More About Hemp?

Hemp is a fantastic plant, and its modern uses are only beginning to be uncovered. It has the potential to help us protect our climate, so we should all support efforts to make hemp more accessible for farmers. 

We invite you to learn more about hemp’s many benefits, including how to get started with hemp-derived CBD!

Key Takeaways

  • Reforestation can help reduce CO2 emissions but has significant drawbacks.
  • Hemp absorbs CO2 more effectively than most tree species.
  • Deforestation takes time to reverse, and trees require years to grow, while hemp fully matures in months.
  • Hemp can provide the same commodities as trees and substitute for other industries – such as paper, plastic, and fuel – all with a comparatively tiny carbon footprint.