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What the 2018 Farm Bill means for the hemp-based CBD industry

  • By Staff Feb 14, 2019, 8:08 am3.7k pts

    The farm bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) was the last major piece of legislation to be passed under the Trump administration, before the Democrats took over the House in January 2019. And it promises a bright future for the hemp industry in the United States, which has been growing for years, and now enjoys a level of federal protection, and a chance for American farmers to take a slice of the pie.

    Until recently, while hemp-derived CBD products have been made and sold in the US, manufacturers like Koi CBD have been forced to source and import their hemp from abroad, with the highest quality plants typically coming from northern Europe. This has undoubtedly pushed prices up for the consumer somewhat, and with the farm bill now leaving it up to the states to decide whether they want to allow hemp cultivation, American CBD producers should find it easier and cheaper to source their hemp domestically.

    2018 farm bill clears up legal uncertainties

    The 2014 farm bill was the gateway for CBD products to be sold legally everywhere in the US, whether or not a state had recreationally or medicinally legalized cannabis. In fact, the growing medical cannabis conversation over the past few years has little to do politically with the advancement of hemp, which is considered a separate entity, even though it's actually cannabis sativa.

    But while the old farm bill legalized hemp products with less than 0.3 percent THC, it made no direct reference to other cannabinoids. But with the ruling only setting a limit on THC, non-psychoactive CBD products which can be used to enhance wellbeing and treat myriad conditions sprung onto the market straightaway. The potential problem was that cannabis remained illegal, and under the Controlled Substances Act, all cannabinoids remained prohibited. While, barring a few isolated cases, this hasn't led to crackdowns and seizures on CBD, it did leave businesses in some limbo.

    However, the new farm bill explicitly clarifies that all cannabinoids are permitted in hemp products, and that they are legal providing the maximum THC percentage is respected. The farm bill is meant to apply to industrial hemp, however medical-grade hemp can also fall under this banner. The popularity of CBD hemp oil has soared, with increasing evidence that it can help with complex, hard-to-treat illnesses, including refractory epilepsy.

    What a soaring hemp-based CBD market means for Americans

    The CBD industry is anticipated to grow several times over during the next few years , which should translate to more companies and products on the market. As with any industry, innovation is essential, and manufacturers are consistently identifying new ways that CBD can be used positively - we now have CBD coffee for instance, which combines the benefits of CBD with caffeine. Nanotechnology is also developing and making water-soluble CBD that has a higher bioavailability could soon become a priority. Indeed, Hemplucid have already come up with a full-spectrum, water-soluble CBD tincture.

    Moreover, CBD should enjoy increased legitimacy going forward, as researchers showcase new potential uses for the compound in studies. Analysis of CBD users has already shown that products are being taken for a variety of conditions, but there is no substitute to actual science. CBD research was never completely stopped by the ban on cannabis, but the barriers to research have historically been so high for studying cannabinoids that today's scientists are certainly having to make up for lost time.

    What's next for cannabis in the United States?

    Beyond CBD, America is having a much wider debate about cannabis at state and federal level. The movement looks to be only going one way in the states, with an increasing number choosing to adopt medicinal or recreational legislation. And many of the states which remain resistant to THC are still helping patients on some level by introducing CBD-only laws.

    In Washington, the Trump administration is notorious for its unpredictability, although cannabis advocates enjoyed a boost with the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, President Trump's new AG nominee, William Barr, has also vociferously expressed opposition to marijuana, but has pledged to not go after states that have already legalized.

    A federal rescheduling of cannabis, therefore, looks unlikely during this administration, but with healthcare such a hot topic due to the opioid crisis, weed may play a big role in the 2020 general election debate. On the surface, that has to be good news.