Hemp Production from the 2018 Farm Bill
Anyone who’s interested in the incredibly multi-faceted hemp plant and all of the various cannabinoids that it contains is most likely familiar with the revolutionary piece of legislation known as the 2018 Farm Bill.
If you’re a fan of newly harnessed cannabinoids such as CBD, Delta 8 THC, and THCO and you don’t already know about the 2018 Farm Bill, then you should know that it has benefitted you greatly. You have this bill to thank for bringing all of these fascinating and beneficial chemical compounds into the cultural consciousness and your local dispensary.
Today we’re going to take a look at this culture-shifting bill, the long history of questionable legislation that made it necessary, and the tremendous impact on the world of cannabinoids it has already made in the brief time since it was signed.
Whether you’re a hemp aficionado or a novice enthusiast, we’re fairly certain you’re going to come across some interesting and enlightening information that you were not previously aware of in this article.
We hope it helps you gain a broader perspective about the hemp plant and its storied connection to humanity and a deeper appreciation for the bill that finally brought the two back together in America.
A Brief History of Hemp
Before we get into the 2018 Farm Bill, we need to take a look back at the miraculous plant that it is centered around: Cannabis sativa L., better known as hemp.
Hemp and humans have a long and storied history with one another. People have been using the plant for various purposes for at least thousands of years, if not significantly longer than that.
Evidence suggests that when humans first began to grasp the concept of cultivating their own plants, hemp was among the first to sprout up in those original gardens.
The Many Uses of Hemp
Ancient humans might have been so keen to figure out how to grow their own hemp because the plant is absolutely overflowing with applications.
Hemp can be used to create everything from paper, soap, pottery, rope, clothing, and even biofuel. Its seeds are also considered to be a superfood and can be used to create everything from crackers to oil to ice cream to tea and much more.
Hemp can even be made into a special form of incredibly strong yet lightweight concrete. It provides great insulation and is considered highly energy efficient.
Then, of course, there’s the hemp quality that probably drew you here in the first place: the plant is filled with various different cannabinoids, just like its close cousin, the marijuana plant. Although the plant itself is not psychoactive like marijuana, its chemical constituents can be extracted and concentrated enough to get someone high.
But that all came about recently. Several of the other uses for hemp have been part of human civilization for many millennia, so how in the world did it end up that hemp production was outlawed in America for so long?
Hemp in America
Ancient civilizations across the world have taken advantage of the miraculous hemp plant throughout the course of history. It was cultivated and used for textiles, paper, and more in ancient China.
The Ancient Egyptians used it in clothing, medicine, and construction. The Ancient Greeks and Romans used it to create an array of useful things, including canvas and rope.
There was actually a point at which various European royals signed legislation stating that all landowners must grow hemp crops. A similar law was passed by King James I in the 17th century regarding American colonies in Jamestown, which makes the decades of hemp prohibition in America even more confounding.
The thing is that America has as rich a history with the hemp plant as just about any other country up until the early 20th century. In fact, the first American flags, the first American currency, and the sails and ropes on Christopher Columbus’s ships — the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria — were actually all made of hemp!
Hearst vs. Hemp
Hemp remained a tremendous American crop up until the 1930s, when a timber tycoon by the name of William Randolph Hearst (who also happened to own 28 major newspapers and 18 different magazines, as well as a number of radio stations and movie production companies) began printing stories in his publications about cannabis.
These stories detailed the purported evils of the cannabis plant and its potential to bring about societal collapse. It’s been argued that this smear campaign against cannabis was a convenient way to turn the public against hemp, which offered a far superior alternative to products created from Hearst’s timber.
These theories are, of course, just that: theories. There have been sound enough arguments in either direction whether or not Hearst and his friends exerted their tremendous influence on public opinion specifically to move people away from hemp-based products.
However, one thing is not up for debate: hemp cultivation was, in fact, outlawed in America as a direct result of articles printed in papers owned by Hearst that portrayed cannabis as a danger to society.
Things began getting ugly with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was intended to regulate the production of cannabis by imposing harsh taxes on those who cultivated it. Ultimately, however, the public sentiment behind these unconstitutional regulations would lead to the full-on outlawing of both hemp and cannabis in America.
Although the U.S. government acknowledged the distinction between pot and hemp after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and even promoted and subsidized hemp growth as part of the war effort during World War II, things would somewhat inexplicably change in subsequent decades, and the two would once again be lumped together.
With the passing of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, both marijuana and hemp would be considered by the DEA to be Schedule 1 substances.
The Legalization Movement
In spite of, or perhaps as a direct result of the demonization and prohibition of marijuana in the 20th century, the plant only became more culturally notable. The 1960s hippie movement had a lot to do with it; their long hair, tie-dyed clothing, and philosophies of peace and love are all still closely connected to the plant to this day.
The growth of popularity in marijuana use among American youth inspired increasingly louder calls for its legalization. With this, some Americans, recognizing the seemingly nefarious reasoning behind hemp being outlawed, also began calling for the legalization of marijuana’s miraculously useful relative.
That battle was a long and arduous one. It took until the early 2000s for a federal court to rule that there was, in fact, a legal distinction between marijuana and hemp plants. But even then, it was well over a decade until cultivating hemp in America would finally become federally legal.
The piece of legislation that would finally bring about this revolutionary change and ultimately unleash a slew of different legal cannabinoids with various therapeutic and recreational applications was known as the 2018 Farm Bill.
What is the 2018 Farm Bill?
It may seem like it took a while to get to the heart of this article, but keep in mind that we just covered several millennia in about 15 paragraphs. Entire college courses could be taught about hemp’s connection to humanity and the legal strife that this relationship has endured over the past century, so that summary was very, very brief.
Anyway, on to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Simply put, this piece of legislation, which was enacted on December 20th of 2018, made the cultivation of hemp federally legal in the United States of America. This widely supported change in the law means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and that’s because hemp can offer so incredibly many different things to human beings.
Impact of the Bill
One of the biggest areas where legalizing hemp cultivation has positively affected America is (as you may have already guessed by the name of the bill) the farming industry.
But simply growing the hemp is just the very first step in a tremendous chain that has the potential to support and uplift various other industries, including food and drink, health and wellness, construction, clothing, and much more.
Perhaps the greatest effect of the 2018 Farm Bill is the door it has opened into the study of all of the various cannabinoids that can be found in the hemp plant.
While studies into, and public interest in, the potential therapeutic applications of the cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp have been steadily gaining steam over the years, the 2018 Farm Bill has really blown the door wide open.
A Cavalcade of Cannabinoids
You’re probably well aware of the fact that you can now enjoy a number of different cannabinoids that were never previously available to the public, thanks to the legalization of hemp.
Not only is it far easier to study the chemical components of the plant today, but it is also possible to turn the findings into actual products that you can legally purchase and enjoy.
The first cannabinoid to experience a tremendous leap into the cultural consciousness thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill was CBD. The non-psychoactive component of both marijuana and hemp has been known since 1940, but it’s only just now being utilized and studied for its various potential health benefits thanks to hemp legalization.
More recently, however, various other cannabinoids that offer not only potential therapeutic benefits but also recreational ones have begun to find their way into stores.
Psychoactive cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC, Delta 10 THC, and THCO are all proving to be viable legal alternatives to cannabis, and there seem to be more joining them every single day.
The Newly Harnessed Cannabinoids
Let’s take a look at some of the cannabinoids that the 2018 Farm Bill has helped bring to the masses. Most of these were discovered long ago, but it wasn’t until hemp was legalized that it became feasible to figure out how to isolate and concentrate them and then turn them into different products that could be made available to consumers.
Read on to find out more about these cannabinoids.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most recognized cannabinoids, alongside THC. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce the “high” typically associated with cannabis. There’s growing interest in the potential supportive qualities of CBD.
Some believe CBD might promote comfort, support a balanced mood, and possibly aid in a healthy inflammation response. There’s also interest in its potential to support overall well-being in various situations, though more comprehensive research is needed to fully understand its range of effects.
Given the interest in CBD, it’s no surprise that it’s found its way into a wide array of products, from edibles to topicals and even some unconventional items like CBD-infused underwear.
Delta 8 THC
The name “THC” is more than likely quite familiar to you. It’s the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant and the most well-known cannabinoid on the planet. But THC is just an easy abbreviation, and its full name is actually quite a bit longer than that. It’s delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or Delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 THC is closely related to the more commonly known Delta 9 THC. While both are psychoactive components, Delta 8 is typically found in smaller amounts in cannabis compared to Delta 9. Some users report that the effects of Delta 8 are milder and may not produce some of the intense feelings occasionally associated with Delta 9. However, individual experiences can vary, and it’s essential to approach any cannabinoid with caution and awareness.
With the 2018 Farm Bill opening the door for hemp-based cannabinoid exploration, Delta 8 has now become a popular alternative for people in states where recreational cannabis is not legal, and with that has come a variety of different products, such as gummies, flower, vape pens, concentrates, and even moon rocks.
Delta 10 THC
If you’ve got a grasp of Delta 8, then you probably get the idea of what Delta 10 THC is. It’s another relative of Delta 9, and it offers similar psychoactive effects and potential therapeutic benefits. However, like Delta 8, Delta 10 is not quite as strong as its more well-known relative.
That doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthwhile experience to give Delta 10 products a try, though. This is especially true if you’re the type of person who enjoys a THC high but is susceptible to getting a little overwhelmed by the effects.
THCO, otherwise known as THC-O acetate, is another psychoactive relative of Delta 9 THC, but unlike Delta 8 and Delta 10, it’s actually stronger than Delta 9. In fact, it’s been estimated that THCO is up to three times more powerful than the world’s most famous cannabinoid. That’s really strong.
While Delta 8 and Delta 10 offer a great legal alternative to cannabis, THCO suggests that things are just getting started in this department, and the future of cannabinoids may be quite a wild ride. It may be the most potent psychoactive cannabinoid we know of, and it may offer a number of different medical benefits, too.
HHC, otherwise known as hexahydrocannabinol, is perhaps the most interesting of all of the cannabinoids on this list. Unlike the others, it is not a THC compound, which gives it some unique qualities.
Among those qualities is the fact that it can potentially combat the movement to ban hemp-derived products containing THC compounds such as Delta 8, Delta 10, and THCO by offering an alternative that, again, is not actually a THC compound.
HHC is just starting to gain in popularity, so you may not have heard of it yet, but it’s worth checking out some products containing it if you’re looking for a legal alternative to Delta 9 including HHC flower, pre-rolls and vape carts.
How Are These Cannabinoids Legal?
It’s sort of hard to believe that there are actual psychoactive cannabinoids that you can go purchase from a local store or online shop without the threat of legal ramifications, but we’re here to tell you that it’s absolutely true, provided you’re in a state that hasn’t banned things like Delta 8.
This is possible because it’s not actually psychoactive cannabinoids that are illegal; it’s specifically Delta 9 THC. All of these cannabinoids are derived from legally grown hemp, which contains less than .3% Delta 9. This means that they are completely federally legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
As we mentioned, though, certain states have moved to ban these products since 2018, and there are more currently considering it. Always stay up-to-date with the laws in your state.