As the research continues to uncover tons of truly amazing and groundbreaking benefits offered by CBD (Cannabinoids), it’s no surprise that there has been so much excitement from doctors, manufacturers and consumers over the use, production, and sales of the substance here in the United States.
A major roadblock in the way of the CBD market, however, has been the confusing and sometimes complicated legality of CBD.
The DEA and the law
In 44 states, CBD is legal—but at a Federal level, its legality is unclear. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently issued a sort of “clarification” stating that CBD is a derivative of Cannabis and is therefore illegal under Federal law. The DEA is not Congress, however, and whether or not this statement carries any legal weight is still under heavy debate.
Thankfully, this confusion could soon be brought to an end by Senator Mitch McConnell’s proposed Hemp Farming Act of 2018.
Hemp and industrial hemp
The main controversy and confusion behind CBD comes from not correctly differentiating between hemp and industrial hemp. Hemp itself is simply a plant in the Cannabis family, but industrial hemp is hemp that has been specifically bred to contain no more than 0.03% of THC in its flowering heads and leaves.
This extremely low percentage is easily maintainable as long as the plants are pollenated by other low-percentage plants. “Natural” hemp can contain higher amounts of THC, which is another reason why hemp is often associated with marijuana, despite the fact that even natural THC levels in hemp aren’t known for getting you high.
To this end, industrial hemp is bred specifically to have truly negligible THC levels and, therefore, completely avoid psychoactive effects. This industrial hemp is the focus of Senator McConnell’s proposed Act.
What could the Hemp Farming Act bring?
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would take industrial hemp off of the Schedule I Controlled Substances list, making it unequivocally legal at a Federal level. Of course, states would reserve the right to decide legality within their own borders, but in general Senator McConnell hopes that this could make hemp the economic equivalent for the country to what tobacco was for Kentucky, and his hopes don’t seem far-fetched.
CBD has recently begun to skyrocket back into popularity both at a consumer level and at a medicinal research level here in the U.S. Along with new findings and increased demand, innovation follows. CBD products have already become amazingly diverse and ambitious, tackling everything from anxiety to acne to Alzheimer’s.
Perhaps even more exciting are the implications the Hemp Farming Act could have on further CBD research. As we know (and if you don’t, you can read all about it here on the AceApe blog), relatively new research has linked CBD to a staggering list of benefits.
Essentially, CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in your Endocannabinoid System—a biological system that regulates many physiological processes. Different amounts of CBD will affect these receptors in different ways, offering everything from anxiety and pain relief, acne treatment, increased levels of energy, better sleep, to even potential links to reversing brain damage, protecting against seizures and epilepsy, and even treating cancer.
The Hemp Farming Act would allow for more regular and rigorous testing of CBD, and most importantly, would allow this research to be federally funded. With federal funding to back the research, we could get the answers we need on CBD dosing and other benefits that much faster.
Other questions the medical community wants to answer about CBD include:
- How exactly does CBD rewire neuronal activity?
- How can we use that more effectively to treat anxiety and Alzheimer’s?
- How exactly does CBD combat cancer?
- How soon can we start to effectively fight cancer this way?
The other enormous benefit that could come through this Act is one that has been long needed. Every four years we hear a lot about this: the farmers. Truthfully, farmers have been in long need of a break, and should this Act pass, they might very well get one. Like we mentioned before, CBD products include innovative ideas that have brought us oh-so-close to a new, flourishing market in the U.S. Of course, in order for CBD to truly take off as a local product in a local market, it needs to come from within the country—specifically, from American farms.
Experts have already projected that CBD will become a multibillion dollar industry here in the U.S. by the year 2022—that’s a growth of about 700 percent in mere years. Through our country’s farms, this could absolutely give the economy that “grassroots jumpstart” it needs to help folks from all tax brackets. Up until now, Europe has been the standard for quality in CBD products and ultimately the world leader for research and manufacturing, but this Hemp Farming Act could absolutely be a game changer for our economy and the global market.
So many amazing medicinal benefits are possible thanks to CBD, and so many amazing (potential) economic benefits are, thanks to industrial hemp. The biggest political move that industrial hemp is trying to pull off is finally killing the psychoactive stigma. Hemp is not marijuana, and industrial hemp specifically doesn’t have the THC levels to give you any sort of “high” effect. Because hemp and marijuana come from the same family of plants, the two are often paired together as dope with psychoactive effects, but this is simply false.
CBD is an incredible substance and is capable of so many things. Being able to treat so many different conditions without any significant side effects is a marvel at each and every height of medical application, from acne to epilepsy. Having a single substance to offer that sort of solution at all different levels is absolutely astounding, and it has been said that ignoring the immense medicinal value of CBD would be nothing short of “medically irresponsible.” Beyond all of that, industrial hemp has the potential to drastically change the economic, medical, and political landscapes in the coming years, which is—at the risk of sounding too corny—just another amazing benefit offered by CBD.