Hemp production has become a saving grace for American and Kentucky farmers through production of multiple verticals: medical, textile, agricultural advancements and more. Hemp is a versatile and valuable cash crop for Kentucky and Kentucky has become a major play in the production of hemp. Hemp grows well in conditions similar to that of tobacco and grows very well in Kentucky. Kentucky has a history in Hemp. Kentucky was the primary producer of hemp in the USA and the world. Kentucky produced 75% of the hemp in the nation before the rise of tobacco i the state and the war on drugs in the 1970s that essentially banned the production of industrial hemp. Further, Kentucky submitted the first proposed plan to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (known as the 2018 Farm Bill).
Hemp is an extremely fast-growing plant, similar in look to bamboo. It is the same species of plant as cannabis, but hemp is not cannabis. Cannabis is marijuana.
It is legal to sell hemp and hemp products in the U.S. Hemp flowers, leaves, seeds, seed oil, and protein are used as food and/or medicine. Hemp is used in a wide variety of applications, including textiles, building materials, composite materials, paper, food, nutritional supplementation, water and soil purification, and biofuels. You have probably seen products such as cloth/clothing, rope, cosmetics, soaps, oils and paper made from hemp.
How Is Hemp Defined Legally
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 USC § 802(16)(B)) specifically excludes hemp from being a controlled substance
(16)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B), the term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.
(B) The term “marihuana” does not include—
(i) hemp, as defined in section 1639o of title 7; or
(ii) the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination. 21 USC § 802(16)(B)
The 2018 Farm Bill defines what constitutes “hemp” (7 U.S.C. § 1639o(1)), as distinguished from illegal marijuana.
The term “hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. 2018 Farm Bill 7 U.S.C. § 1639o(1)
Hemp vs Marijuana/Cannabis
Cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the intoxicating component of marijuana. However, hemp and cannabis are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and very different uses. Unlike cannabis, hemp contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), less than 0.3% in the United States.
A common hemp derivative is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD’s popularity over recent years has skyrocketed. CBD is being marketed and utilized as a wellness supplement. Proponents of CBD claim that the supplement can assist in a variety of conditions including epilepsy, Parkinson’s’ disease, inflammation, pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, sleep disorders and social anxiety disorder, to name a few. However, more research is needed to officially confirm these claims.