One of the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill signed into law by President Trump could have a huge impact on two major industries and on the lives of individuals suffering from certain health problems. The provision legalizes the manufacture, sale, and use of products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and allows people to begin legally growing industrial hemp. It will also provide a boost to the rapidly growing cannabis industry.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical compound derived from the flower of the hemp plant. Unlike the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical found in cannabis that causes people who ingest it to get high, CBD produces no psychoactive effects.
While research is still in the preliminary stages, findings so far indicate that CBD may have properties that can alleviate many symptoms of illness and improve health. For example, early evidence supports the possibility that it works as an anti-inflammatory agent which can help in the treatment of pain and arthritis, and it could have an effect on brain chemistry which seems to ease depression and anxiety.
It has already been shown to reduce the number of seizures by up to 40% in some people who suffer from two different types of epilepsy, leading to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the prescription drug Epidiolex earlier in 2018.
Thousands of Products on The Market
Before the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, 47 states permitted the sale of products containing CBD, with some restrictions. Tinctures, oils, candy and other food, coffee, and soft drinks containing CBD can easily be found at retail stores and online and have been extremely popular with consumers. However, there was a question of the legality of these products at the federal level because the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had classified cannabidiol as a Schedule I controlled substance. The bill removes CBD from the DEA list and allows individual states to decide whether CBD and hemp products can be sold.
Despite these developments, the FDA still considers interstate commerce of dietary supplements and foods containing cannabidiol to be illegal. That’s because it’s used in the prescription drug Epidiolex and it’s forbidden to add drug ingredients into supplements and food. It’s a technicality that the agency says it will soon have hearings to resolve.
Hemp: A Potential Boon to Farmers
Industrial hemp is one type of cannabis plant that has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years because of its many practical uses. It was a common crop in the U.S. until 1937 when it was banned by the federal government along with flower, although by the government’s own definition it contains .03% or less of the psychoactive chemical compound THC. The new Farm Bill makes it legal to grow and possess, hemp and hemp seeds once again.
Hemp can be used to produce many products including rope, paper, textiles, building materials, and biofuels. Hemp legalization in the Farm Bill clears the way to start planting the potentially lucrative cash crop. It could be especially helpful for tobacco farmers in some of the nation’s poorest regions, who were hit hard by the drastic drop in the use of tobacco. The Hemp Industry Association believes legalization could lead to a doubling or tripling of cultivation within a year.
Obviously, the new law is good news for the flower industry which is generating billions of dollars in sales and is expected to see rapid growth in the coming years. Along with the potential benefits to those suffering from health problems, it seems likely that, handled responsibly, the impact of this law will be extremely positive.