By David Brickman
With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill this past December, nearly a century of prohibition of hemp came to a close, removing it from the list of federally controlled substances and ending policies that have hurt farmers and consumers alike.
Hemp, possibly the world’s most useful plant, is food, fuel and fabric. And hemp is medicine.
Both hemp and marijuana come from the species Cannabis sativa, but they are cultivated for different characteristics.
Hemp produces a negligible amount of the cannabinoid THC, the psychoactive compound that is responsible for the “high” marijuana users seek — federal law stipulates that the THC content of hemp be 0.3 percent or less. You cannot get high from hemp.
Cannabis also produces cannabidiol, aka CBD, which has been shown to have medical benefits to humans and their mammalian pets alike.
It is not uncommon to see exaggerated claims that CBD is a cure-all. It is not, but a recent Consumer Reports nationally representative survey showed that 15 percent of adult Americans had tried CBD and a majority (83 percent) said it helped, to some degree, the symptoms they were treating.
These findings are consistent with our observations at Hemp it UP. Another commonly voiced and valid concern is that, at present, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD products. Hemp it UP works only with producers who meet our strict criteria. First and foremost, producers must commission and publicly present the results of independent lab testing on each batch of their product. This is critical in the absence of FDA oversight, ensuring that the products contain the listed amount of CBD and that they contain no harmful impurities. Further, all hemp must be grown using organic practices.
There is much to learn about the most effective ways to use and dose CBD products. Finding a provider who can help separate fact from fiction is important, as is doing one’s own reading. Pay no heed to claims that there have been no studies on CBD. A database of studies can be found online at www.projectcbd.org/about/clinical-research. Another excellent resource is the National Institute of Health’s own website: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/. The NIH site is not CBD specific, so readers may wish to include “cannabidiol” among the search terms.
David Brickman is the owner of Hemp it UP (www.HempItUpGifts.com) and Bodymind Float Center (BodymindFloatCenter.com), both with locations in Syracuse and Rochester. He is a violinist in the Amenda Quartet (www.AmendaQuartet.org) and lives in Rochester with his wife and business partner Patricia Sunwoo and their daughter Lillian.