In September, the plants reach maturity. The ariel(upper) part of the plant is harvested and taken to the farm. The distilling equipment can contain 1500 litres of hemp. Each day we distil 7 to 8 vats and the work is spread over a week.
The process to extract the hemp essential oil is similar to that of numerous other plants. The steam passes through the vat containing the hemp and carries with it, the molecules containing the essential oil. Through a serpentine plunged in cold water, the steam which is loaded with essence circulates and condenses. Then there is the last stage in the “separator” where the essential oil which is lighter, separates from the water.
The oil obtained must then be left to settle for several months before it can be used.
For optimum quality, the hemp should not be harvested directly after a period of rain. We are also careful to distil the hemp immediately after the harvest so that it does not ferment or become oxidised. The quality of the oil also depends on the quality of the plants that we distil. From year to year, we select hemp seeds from which the sole use of the plants grown, is the production of essential oil.
In the fields, we eliminate any diseased plants (botrytis) and above all, the male plants which, in addition to an undesired pollination, produce only a small amount of essential oil different in quality to that produced by female plants.
In order to obtain 1 litre of essential oil, we have to distil about 650kg of hemp (=1.5 litres for a ton of green hemp)
After distillation, the hemp plant turns brown and has no smell. The plant still contains the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the active substance of the drug). As soon as the distillation is finished, this matter is mixed immediately with liquid manure and thus inactivated by composting.