Hemp, What’s it all about
Hemp is proclaimed by many as the most useful plant to ever be grown - with potential uses in every category of products. This is an exaggeration.
Hemp is typically grown for seed and fiber and is a cannabis plant with low levels of THC (the psychoactive substance found in cannabis/marijuana plants). We know however, that THC is fat soluble and accumulates in the body’s fatty tissues. We don’t know if that accumulation of low-level THC is benign.
Hemp seed is sometimes touted as good supple of CBD (another cannabinoid -not psychoactive - found in cannabis plants). The quality and the bio-availability of CBD coming from hemp seed is questionable however, and CDB products are currently illegal in the US. CBD has recently been rescheduled to a class 5 Controlled Substance, which continues to make it illegal to sell without FDA approval. To date, there is one FDA approved CBD-based product in the market place and that manufacturer (GW Pharmaceuticals) controls their entire supply chain including growing their own CBD plant supply. All other CBD products are being sold illegally. See the CBD section of this web site for more detail.
Their are two other problems with expanding hemp acreage in America.
First, there are no visible differences between hemp and other marijuana strains with high levels of THC. So in no time, a hemp farmer could be growing marijuana without any detection. The only way to know if a plant is hemp is to chemically test it. A hemp plant could be growing next to a high-THC variety and both would have to be tested to know which was which. Regulatory enforcement is expensive and is not currently well funded in any state. There is no reason to believe the FDA will be able to adopt necessary enforcement to contain hemp crops. “Cultivation of low-potency industrial cannabis hemp as a commercial field crop would necessitate enormous monitoring costs to prevent it from being diverted to the illegal drug use market. Making a psychoactive, addictive, and illegal drug readily available would undermine public health and safety, diminish environmental quality, and contribute substantially to the world’s drug problems. These predictable consequences should convince all nations to reject the false claims of cannabis/marijuana hemp legalization advocates.” (Dr. John Coleman, DEA Operations Ret.)
Secondly, the market potential for hemp is always grossly overstated. Only 252,187 acres of hemp were planted in the entire world, including Canada in 2016. At no point since 1988 has hemp acreage reached 500,000 acres worldwide. This means at no point has demand for hemp seed and stock been significant. The world-wide acreage in 2016 produced 165,424 tons of hemp (seed & stock). US acres of USDA approved hemp totaled 9,651 in 2016. There is no market and even if the US tries to force one, which has corrupted food supply in the past absorbing excess and unneeded crops - think corn syrup - America will not compete well against the subsidized European niche market or China, with its extremely cheap agricultural labor dominating the hemp market and production today. (FAOSTAT)