Cannabis vs. Agricultural Processing Similarities and Differences

Harvesting legal marijuana is a very delicate and intricate process. The cannabis plant has delicate trichomes that would be harmed in standard agricultural processing. In order to deliver the best product possible, every stage of cannabis processing must be handled with care.

Keep reading to learn about the primary similarities and differences between cannabis and agricultural processing.

Agricultural Processing

Providing fruits and vegetables at the market is a surprisingly mechanically driven process. Delicate produce, such as lettuce, can easily withstand machine harvesting, being transported via conveyor belt, undergoing powerful sterilization, and being packed and shipped. Even when harvesting something more delicate, such as hops for beer, the process will be heavy-handed. The buds are chopped off, dried in kilns and on heated floors, and pressed and stored in bales to be shipped.

Cannabis Processing

Although not easily visible to the naked eye, the trichomes are the most valuable part of the cannabis plant. Each of these tiny bulb-like trichomes contain cannabinoid oils filled with vital THC. Because blunt handling of the cannabis plant can cause these trichomes to break, the cannabis plant must undergo a far more delicate harvesting process than other agriculture.

To keep the cannabinoid oils protected, the cannabis plant is cured for a much longer period of time, and at a much lower temperature than hops are. During this curing process, the THC content will increase. Providing high-quality legal marijuana requires strict control of temperature, climate, and handling.

What Does it Take to Harvest a Cannabis Plant?

Commercial marijuana cultivation and agricultural processing are similar in the amount of time it takes and people it requires. While produce can arguably lose some of its quality through agricultural processing, cannabis processing ensures that each step contributes to both the quality and THC content of the final product.

Several people are also critical to the quality of the strain during cannabis processing. First, there's the bucker, who is in charge of removing the flower buds from the branches. The bucker will give the flower buds to the trimmers, who use scissors to remove all sticks, stems, and leaves to ensure that the marijuana has the highest content of THC possible. The packer will take these buds, measure them out in jars, and inject either carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or argon into the jars to purge the oxygen and produce the strongest effect - these jars are the finished product.

Cannabis processing is unique in that it involves using the entire plant rather than just the buds. The oils in the leftover stems and leaves can be extracted and used for their highly-concentrated THC extracts.

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