The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the farm bill) in the States legalized the production of low-THC hemp (that which falls under 0.3%) for industrial purposes. This law was passed on a federal level, and thus applies to all of the states. As a consequence, hemp oil is now available in huge quantities and varieties. Though, this is not the same as CBD oil—and the same plants are not used in the production of both hemp fibre/seeds and CBD-rich flowers.
2018 Farm Bill
The top uses for hemp are:
Now, where we place CBD on the hemp vs weed argument is a matter of contention. Legally, CBD-producing plants tend to fall into the hemp category. But in nearly all of their other characteristics, these plants are much more similar to marijuana. However, if we take the legal definitions for hemp, then yes, hemp is used to produce the lion’s share of the world’s CBD products.
These days, some industrial hemp producers are extracting CBD from leftover material and marketing it as “CBD oil”. These products are generally considered to be of lower quality—with reduced concentrations, and higher risk of contamination—than CBD oil harvested from plants specifically grown for medicinal use.
The specific order of crop rotation and types of crops being rotated with hemp will depend on the location of the farm. Hemp is also used as a rotational crop at farms where it is not the primary agricultural product.
As part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill), the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 reclassified hemp (with less than 0.3% THC) from Schedule I, the federal government’s most restrictive classification of controlled substances, which are considered highly prone to abuse and without medicinal benefits. This move to federally legalize hemp allowed for its cultivation and distribution as a legal agricultural product.
Hemp produces a broad range of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating cannabinoid in marijuana. However, hemp does not produce enough THC to create intoxicating effects.
Callaway, J. C. “Hempseed as a Nutritional Resource: An Overview.” Euphytica , vol. 140, no. 1-2, 2004, pp. 65–72., doi:10.1007/s10681-004-4811-6.
Hemp stalks are processed through decorticating, a multistep method for removing the long fibers from the rest of the plant. This can involve field retting, a process in which the plants are cut and laid out in the field for four to six weeks. During this time, any bacteria on the plant’s surface will break down the outer layer of the stalk. The retted stalks are then dried.
The country has a licensing program for those interested in growing certain cultivars of hemp that contain less than 0.35% THC.
Many countries differentiate hemp from marijuana by the amount of THC produced by the plant. In the US, industrial hemp is defined as Cannabis sativa L. that does not contain more than 0.3% THC. The European Union has set the limit at 0.2%, while in the UK the limit is zero, unless growers have a cultivation license to grow industrial hemp with no more than 0.2% THC.
Difference explained in official terms
Sativa strains are typically taller, loosely branched, and have long, narrow leaves. They are usually grown outdoors and can reach heights of up to 20 feet. Sativa plants typically have a higher concentration of CBD enzymes, essentially causing no mind-altering effect.
Psychoactive cannabis, or “marijuana” as it is widely known, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Many states are slowly legalizing recreational marijuana, but marijuana remains federally illegal. An amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp in the U.S.
Hemp is now fully legal at the federal level, though many state and federal regulations and policies are still behind the times. Meanwhile, marijuana is slowly becoming legal state by state, and could someday be federally legal too.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects. An average batch of marijuana contains anywhere from 5-20% THC content. Some premium marijuana can have up to 25-30% THC.
In the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana was grouped with all types of cannabis and was made illegal to grow in the US. This, unfortunately, classified hemp as a drug even though it doesn’t include any of the chemicals that make marijuana a drug.
Today, hemp can be used in variety of ways that marijuana cannot. These include healthy dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, and accessories. Today, you can buy legal hemp products not just online, but in many grocery stores and everyday businesses. Overall, hemp is known to have over 25,000 possible applications.