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.