WHAT IS HEMP?
Hemp is cannabis, just like marijuana, but it contains below .3% THC. Hemp was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago and can be refined into a variety of products such as paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, animal feed, and medicine. George Washington was a hemp advocate and hemp grower. In colonial America, it was a common cash crop that was used to make rope and fabric.
IS HEMP LEGAL?
Good question. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (US Farm Bill) included a section called Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research (Section 7606) that defines industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana. It authorizes institutions of higher education or state department’s of agriculture in states that legalized hemp cultivation to conduct research and pilot programs. On October 1, Congress reaffirmed its commitment to protect the pilot program from interference from the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies. At that time Congress restated that no funds should be used to contravene “section 7606 of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 5940); or to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp, or seeds of such plant, that is grown or cultivated in accordance with subsection section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.”
We are now waiting for passage of the reauthorized Farm Bill (in early 2019?) with the Hemp Farming Act provisions. Every action taken by Congress related to hemp has been positive and should give some level of confidence in the eventual legalization of the crop.
WHAT IS CBD?
The cannabis plant contains approximately 100 cannabinoids. You’ve probably heard of THC - the psychoactive component in marijuana that makes people high. CBD is another cannabinoid secreted by cannabis flowers. It can provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation.
HOW IS HEMP GROWN?
Many hemp farmers growing for CBD cultivate plants outdoors. This approach is similar to how vegetables such as tomatoes are grown. This labor-intensive process yields more flower, which is where almost all of the CBD can be found. Other farmers grow hemp primarily for fiber and seed. They plant hemp the way corn is grown, planting many seeds close together in rows. Large machinery can be used to plant and harvest, which requires less time and effort.