Organic farming is widely held as the superior farming method from its vast environmental benefits to its unmatched consumer benefits. New research continues to support this view with even further benefits. A recent study shows that organically grown crops have higher secondary metabolite production than crops not grown organically. In some cases, as much as a 20% higher yield than conventionally grown crops! For hemp this means higher terpene, flavonoid, and possibly even cannabinoid content. These compounds all work together to produce the therapeutic benefits of the Entourage Effect. For our Full Spectrum CBD oil, that means you are getting an even better product that is more rich in beneficial compounds!
What Are Secondary Metabolites?
Secondary metabolites (SM) are compounds produced within a plant that do not play a primary role in photosynthesis or plant growth. These compounds are used as a way for plants to defend themselves from environmental stress and also as a way for plants to “communicate” with the outside world. Terpenes, for example, are the aromatic compounds released by plants which help to attract pollinators and also defend the plant against pests. Terpenes are responsible for the wonderful smell of flowers, pine trees, oranges, and much more.. Flavonoids, another SM, are powerful antioxidants which fight oxidative stress. Terpenes and flavonoids not only increase the health of the crops we grow, but also have positive impacts on the health of people! Humans have used and studied these compounds for human health for thousands of years. In fact, even aspirin was originally extracted from a plant before becoming synthesized in a laboratory and mass manufactured.
Why Organic Matters
How do organic agriculture practices contribute to the higher production of the compounds within the plant? In essence, by letting nature take its course and only using natural products to aid it’s growth. By creating a healthy system for the plant to grow in, it is able to strengthen its own defense system. Secondary metabolites are much like a human's immune system, acting as a protective body. A great example of this is inoculation of plant roots with beneficial microbiota which we use extensively at our organic farm. These microbes are able to activate the plant’s “immune system” and increase the plant's production of secondary metabolites. We also use extracts made from other plants to initiate this immune response as well. These practices along with maintaining a healthy soil, providing proper organic nutrition to the plant and growing in an ecologically diverse environment make for a healthier, happier plant.