The Cannabis industry, especially its division that focuses on Cannabidiol (CBD), has experienced a huge growth projection in recent years. In 2020 alone, CBD sales in the U.S. hit a remarkable $4.6 billion. This kind of increase in demand and production brings along with it the challenges and responsibilities of sustainable cultivation.
Sustainability Challenges In The Cannabis Industry
- Water Consumption: cultivating Cannabis needs a lot of water. A single cannabis plant can consume up to 6 gallons of water per day during its growing season. If you compare it to staple crops like maize, soybean, and wheat, the water demand for cannabis is notably high.
- Water Pollution: A lack of proper cannabis cultivation practices can always lead to water pollution, something like that will affect the aquatic ecosystems. Some chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, which are very essential for cannabis growth, can greatly compromise and affect water quality
- Air Quality: Cannabis cultivation can also impact outdoor air quality as a result of the emission of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are significant contributors to ozone and particulate matter formation.
Role of Organic Farming
Organic farming, which is an age-old practice, focuses on soil regeneration or maybe something you can call soil renewal, reduced use of synthetic inputs, and carbon capture. Putting these methods into use in cannabis cultivation can lead to:
- Reduce the use of Water: By maintaining soil health and increasing its organic matter content, the soil can retain more moisture, something that will lead to reduced irrigation needed.
- Eliminating Water Pollution: Doing away with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers prevents the leaching of harmful chemicals into water bodies.
- Enhancing Soil Health: Organic farming relies on natural inputs and composting, nurturing a biologically active soil teeming with microbes.
Ethical Production and Its Role
Ethical production is not merely an optional corporate social responsibility measure; it is a very crucial aspect of sustainability in the CBD industry. A few of its facets are:
- Local Sourcing: When you source locally, it reduces the carbon footprint linked with the long-distance transportation of raw materials.
- Fair Labor Practices: Ensuring that all workers in the supply chain receive fair wages and work in safe conditions is very pivotal.
- Eco-Friendly Packaging: Biodegradable or recyclable packaging can help you substantially reduce the environmental impact of CBD products.
In conclusion, the CBD industry stands at a very crossroads. The pathway to sustainability is not just a mere altruistic endeavour; it is a necessity. Organic farming and ethical production aren’t just buzzwords but are central to creating the balance needed between profitable production and environmental responsibility. As you or farmers and consumers become more aware of these issues, the CBD industry can genuinely “go green”.
Dr. Jason O’Donnell works at Holy Cross General Hospital. He is a General Practitioner with extensive experience in cardiology, geriatrics, adult medicine, and internal medicine. Dr. O’Donnell studied at the UCL Medical School and holds a Doctor of Medicine in London in the UK. He also completed an internal medicine internship at London Imperial College. From here he went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at St. George’s London University. He is currently practicing adult medicine, cardiology, geriatrics, and internal medicine at Holy Cross General Hospital. Before he performs any operation, he first assesses the patient’s medical goals and concerns. After the surgery, he monitors the recovery of the patient and makes adjustments to the treatment program, when necessary. Dr. O’Donnell is also a proud member of Health for Humanity where he volunteers his skills in medicine for people in need across the globe.