The Answer to Your Burning Question:
In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized cannabis harvested industrially so long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. While some speculate that 0.3% is actually an arbitrary number, it sets the industry standard differentiating between hemp and marijuana. I know what you must be wondering: is there really a difference between hemp and marijuana? Well, that answer may surprise you: no, there actually isn’t! The only differentiating factor between the two is the THC content.
Hold Up… What in Legalshemgol Does That Even Mean?
Well, due to their perspective THC content, both hemp and marijuana are regulated separately under federal and state laws. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and is considered a controlled substance. Under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, (aka: Farm Bill) hemp and hemp-derived products containing no more than 0.3% THC were permitted wholesale. This allowed for hemp to be cultivated and distributed as a fully legal, agricultural product! Even though this process is super exciting, the United States as a whole is still behind many countries that have flourishing hemp markets. China grossed an estimated $200 million in their hemp textile industry.
Watching Our Weight- Distinguishing Hemp From Marijuana:
The primary differences between both hemp and marijuana rely on dry-weight and THC content; they are derived from the same cannabis plant. The word, “hemp” was first utilized in the 1970’s to distinguish cannabis flowers that had a lower content of THC. Hemp and marijuana also fall under separate houses in terms of strain – cannabis has three known types which are: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Marijuana can come from either of the strains while hemp tends to belong to the house of Sativa.
Does Plain Jane Hemp Get You High?
On its own, no! While hemp does contain small amounts of THC, it isn’t enough to produce the psychoactive effects commonly associated with marijuana. There is an exception to this, however: Delta 8 THC. Since D8 THC can be sourced from industrialized hemp, it fell under the umbrella of collective legality which made the production of these products possible!
The process of creating Delta 8 THC is really interesting! Before D8 THC can be made, CBD has to be extracted from it. The CBD is then put through a decarboxylation process (aka: decarbing) where it’s heated to precise temperatures. The initial compound that’s extracted (CBDa) is then converted to a much more potent form of CBD.
The next phase in this process is to remove the CBD entirely. There are many methods to do this, but the most commonly known are: solventless, solvent-based, and oil extractions. Solvent-based extractions require some sort of solvent, like ethanol, to break down and extract the plant material. Later on, any remaining solvent needs to be removed. Solventless extractions use specialized equipment, like heat and pressure, to extract the necessary hemp material. Oil based extractions utilize oil and small amounts of heat over time to extract the hemp material. (This process is super similar to infusing your own oil from home!)
Anything *I* Can Do, Hemp Can Do Better…
Did you know that hemp has been utilized for many things across millenia? It’s one of the oldest domesticated crops! Hemp is incredibly versatile allowing for use in fuel and food, paper and clothing, commercial and industrial products, and building materials. It can also be combined with other materials to create blends that transition across markets, allowing for more cost-effective and durable products.
You might be wondering how this little plant made such a big name for itself. Let’s take a look at the actual plant and the potential uses for each part:
- Seeds: hemp seeds are incredibly useful from holistic health to biofuel. The seeds themselves are rich in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats – making them an ideal addition to any morning wellness routine! The seeds can be ground and blended for use in cosmetics, body-care products, and even paint.
- Bast Fiber: The bast fibers of the cannabis plant are incredibly strong and durable, making for great utilization as a tool for construction. Arguably just as strong if not stronger than actual steel, the bast fibers are able to endure both compression and withstand impressive amounts of tension!
- Hemp Hurd: the hurd from processing hemp was long considered to be waste and often disposed of. Making up about 70% of usable fibers found within the plant, (which is absolutely incredible considering it was regarded as trash!) the hurd can be utilized as both human and animal bedding, mulch, insulation, concrete, and as use for pellets that people can burn to heat their homes.
Whether you intend to refurbish your home and its surroundings, or boost your overall wellness routine; hemp can accommodate just about anything!
Industrialized Hemp: The Way of the Future? If We’d Stop Stalling!
Industrialized hemp has had its fair share of challenges since it became legal with the Farm Act of 2018. Since then, it has grossed more than $4.6 billion nationwide and is projected to supersede $15 billion in sales by 2024. This industry is GROWING!
One of the major challenges hemp companies have faced since its legalization has been support from financial institutions. With the passing of the Safe Banking Act, Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Production Act of 2021, this has made finance options all the more accessible to these companies. The government also passed legislation – the Market Stabilization Act and Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act – which enabled the FDA to market CBD as a dietary supplement, expanding its outreach even further. We’re certainly getting there, folks!
With interest in CBD skyrocketing, so has the public’s interest in its education. This will boost overall compliance and standard levels, which will also cause regulation to flow down within the industry.
Through the cumulation of legislation and public interest, the CBD industry has new accessibility to its consumer in ways that will only promote its potential. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see this little plant establish its roots firmly and become a botanical giant as recreation, textile, and medicinal uses.