Navigating CBD Regulations: A Brief History of Hemp and the Future of CBD


Hemp-derived CBD is becoming more mainstream as major brands and national retailers, like CVS and Walgreens, begin to enter the fast-growing market for CBD products. While hemp has been touted as the next big thing since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, it turns out that hemp isn’t a new thing at all. In fact, hemp’s origins and uses can be traced back over 6,000 years. 

Understanding the history of hemp and how we’ve gotten where we are today can help suppliers and manufacturers alike navigate both the opportunities and challenges that this “new American cash crop” present.

How the 2018 Farm Bill Came to Be

The first known uses of hemp were uncovered in China in 4500 B.C.E. where the plant was used to make everything from nets and scrolls to medicines and food. (Fast forward to 2019 and many of those ancient applications are now being revived, this time with technology to aid in both the farming and processing of hemp.) 

What many people don’t know is that hemp and the United States also have a unique history. During World War II, the Army and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rallied farmers to grow hemp to assist with wartime efforts. But after the war, legal hemp farming was effectively banned. Over the next few decades, the U.S. alternated between banning hemp outright and importing it from international trade partners.

The first major step toward hemp legalization was in 2004 when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to overturn a 2001 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ban. This protected the sale of any imported foods that contained hemp seed.

After importing hemp became legal, it took three more years for a handful of farmers in North Dakota to be granted industrial hemp licenses, the first in more than 50 years. This sparked a renewed interest in commercial applications of the plant and research began in earnest to make sure it could meet health and safety standards.

Then in 2014, President Obama passed the 2014 Farm Bill, which outlined industrial hemp as different and distinct from marijuana and paved the way for the legalization of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 removed hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects) from Schedule I controlled substances, normalizing it as a viable agricultural product.

Hemp is Legal, Now What?

Despite hemp’s legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill, the industry faces some challenges as it makes its way forward in previously uncharted territory. Perhaps the largest hurdle is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) review of the impact of hemp use on the human body. Though preliminary results are promising, the FDA does warn consumers about purchasing products that claim unverified results.

Still, most agree that hemp is poised to become the next American cash crop. And leading consumer products goods companies from cosmetics and skincare brands to food and beverage leaders as well as pet product manufacturers are looking to utilize hemp-derived CBD to innovate and bring new products to market. Key to their success will be successfully navigating what’s sure to be a complex and quickly changing regulatory landscape. 

Contact us to learn more about how Integrated CBD is helping multinational companies produce high-quality hemp-derived CBD products.

Integrated CBD Plants First 1,200 Organic Acres of Hemp with More on the Way

In Yuma, Arizona, near the borders of California and Mexico, there are about 100,000 residents—and 10,000 acres of certified organic cropland. The contiguous acreage, located in one of the most productive farming areas in the country, was originally earmarked for spinach and lettuce. 

But after the 2018 Farm Bill passed in December 2018, legalizing hemp cultivation and declassifying hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance, that plan changed. Seeing an opportunity to ensure every person on the planet has affordable access to the life-changing wellness benefits of phytocannabinoids, Integrated CBD converted the farmland to organic hemp production and is bringing institutional agriculture experience to the fast-growing U.S. hemp industry.

The first 1,200 organic acres of Integrated CBD’s hemp plants are in the ground.

The first 1,200 organic acres of Integrated CBD’s hemp plants are in the ground.

Upon receiving its Arizona license to grow hemp on June 5, 2019, Integrated CBD started planting its first 1,000 acres. Now, at just over 1,200 acres planted, the company expects to plant 3,000 total acres by the fall and begin its first harvest in just a few weeks.

According to Integrated CBD’s director of farming operations, Richard Phelps, “We were able to take advantage of unseasonably mild weather and begin planting in late June. That puts us on track to begin harvesting our first crop in September and start utilizing our state-of-the-art post-harvest processing facility located right here on the farm in October.”

Agriculture Meets Technology to Revolutionize Hemp Farming

Integrated CBD’s approach to growing hemp is far from traditional. Unlike other hemp suppliers that source from a number of farms, Integrated CBD owns and operates all 10,000 acres of its operation, and its acreage is both contiguous and certified organic. By growing hemp alone across the single 10,000-acre plot, Integrated CBD is able to prevent the cross-pollination common among mixed-use farms—and ensure the highest consistency and purity.

An organic hemp plant being transplanted on Integrated CBD’s 10,000-acre farm.

An organic hemp plant being transplanted on Integrated CBD’s 10,000-acre farm.

The latest agricultural technology is also being deployed to make every aspect of the growing process as predictable and sustainable as possible. For example, the entire farm is outfitted with sub-surface drip irrigation, which allows for year-round growing and 25-40% annual water savings over traditional farming practices. And Integrated CBD is using the Verified Organic Ethereum blockchain platform to track their organic hemp production from seed to final deliverable to provide unprecedented supply chain transparency.

Hemp is being touted as the next American cash crop. And hemp-derived CBD products represent a multi-billion dollar opportunity for forward-thinking skincare, cosmetics, food, beverage, and pet brands.

Contact us to learn more about how Integrated CBD can help you produce high-quality hemp-derived CBD products.