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Can Products Containing CBD Derived from Hemp Provide a Legal Alternative to Cannabis?

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By now we all know that both cannabis and CBD have the potential to help aid millions of individuals worldwide suffering from a broad range of health issues and ailments. And while legalization nationwide (in the US) has made great strides, there are still many areas of the country where both cannabis (and even CBD) are considered illegal.

Not to mention, at the Federal level, cannabis and most cannabis-derived products are still considered illegal (even if legalized at the state level).


But is CBD derived from other plant sources, such as hemp, as effective as that from cannabis? And can it provide a legal alternative to those in areas where CBD would have otherwise been considered illegal?

Read on to learn more….

Without Access, is Hemp Derived CBD a Good Legal Alternative?

With the wave of research coming out, to even the FDA approving the first ever drug based off of CBD, it’s no wonder droves of individuals are flocking to CBD  an attractive natural alternative to many OTC and prescription drugs.

CBD derived from marijuana, however, is largely unavailable to patients who live in states that have not yet legalized cannabis (even though the concentration of THC is too low to cause a “high”). This lack of patient access leaves thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of individuals suffering from a range of ailments without a safe, natural alternative treatment.

While cannabis is the preferred source of CBD due to its ease of extraction and higher CBD concentration, there is another source gaining traction as a LEGAL alternative: Hemp.

But is CBD extraction from hemp able to assist with medical issues the same way CBD from marijuana can?

Defining the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp

According to “the man” cannabis is federally illegal. The DEA defines marijuana as the leaves, flowering buds, and resin of the cannabis plant. Hemp, on the other hand, is the portion of the plant that makes the stalks and sterilized seed. However, to confuse things further, “hemp” is not recognized as a separate plant federally, and therefore there is a debate about whether or not CBD from hemp is legal.

While marijuana can contain up to 20% THC, hemp only contains up to 0.3%. Because of this, CBD derived from hemp does not contain the psychoactive effects that marijuana does. The CBD content in hemp, however, ranges between 1 and 5 percent, making it a potential legal alternative to medical marijuana.

Cultivating Hemp for CBD Distribution

As of the writing of this article, 19 states now allow for the production of hemp in some fashion. Some of these allowances are for pilot studies, while others allow for commercial production (with varying degrees of restrictions). Of these 19 states, eight specifically have laws promoting hemp’s growth and marketing.

This often occurs through legislation known as a “Farm Bill”.  More on that below…

Beyond these exceptions, the industrial growth of hemp is not allowed on a federal level. Some help, however, is grown in Europe and then imported into the United States.

The Farm Bill

UPDATE: As of mid-December 2018 Congress had agreed to a “final” version of what is known as the 2018 Farm Bill. However, despite its namesake, this “farm bill” is unique and unlike those that have come before it.

Though the bill does provide for and include relevant and important nutritional and agricultural policies and provisions, the buzz (pun intended) around this year’s particular bill is surrounding important changes involving the treatment, use, and cultivation of the cannabis plant.

Generally, cannabis has been an absentee from discussions surrounding farm assistance, subsidies and crop insurance…but not this last year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell strongly supported the introduction of hemp into the spotlight.

As it relates to legislation, hemp is defined as cannabis, with one major distinction: in order to be classified as “hemp”, it cannot contain more than 0.3% THC.

So where do things stand today?

The new Farm Bill made hemp LEGAL, but with some key restrictions in place:

  1. Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% THC per section 10113 of the Bill, with anything other this limit being classified as “marijuana” or non-hemp cannabis.
  2. States and the federal government will share regulatory power over the production and cultivation of hemp under section 10113 of the Bill.
  3. Violations of the federal hemp law (such as production without a license or production of hemp with over 0.3% TCH) will result in prescribed punishments.

The Rise of Hemp-Based CBD

Industrial hemp is useful in the creation of CBD products, and with the new Farm Bill setting the stage for LEGAL and widespread production, hemp is offering a new avenue for CBD manufacturers to explore.

Hemp, while lower in the concentration of CBD than cannabis, is still a great source of the same CBD you get from cannabis, making it a suitable alternative to supply the rising need and demand for high quality, all natural CBD products both nationwide and around the globe.

The Market Speaks Volumes

With the CBD industry projected to hit $22 billion by 2022, with no signs of slowing down, the market (and people) have clearly spoken loud and clear.

As the trend towards all-natural, alternative medicine continues to rise, individuals are turning towards CBD as a potential health supplement to assist with a broad range of ailments and symptoms ranging from inflammation to anxiety.

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