For centuries, industrial hemp (plant species Cannabis sativa) has been a source of fiber and oilseed used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products. Currently, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market. In the United States, however, production is strictly controlled under existing drug enforcement laws. Currently there is no large-scale commercial production in the United States and the U.S. market depends on imports.
In 2014, I founded New Frontier Data, an analytics and business intelligence reporting group dedicated to the global cannabis industry, after more than 20 years in finance, industry analytics, intelligence reporting and emerging markets. As such, I have had the privilege of following hemp’s emergence and evolution. Half a decade later, this robust, environmentally friendly, low -cost-to-produce plant has become one of the most diversely applied and globally significant natural resources in the world. Here is a look at its applications across several mature industries:
38 states and Puerto Rico considered legislation related to industrial hemp in 2017. These bills ranged from clarifying existing laws to establishing new licensing requirements and programs. At least 15 states enacted legislation in 2017 — Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, North Dakota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada authorized new research or pilot programs. The governors of Arizona and New Mexico vetoed legislation, which would have established new research programs.
Cannabis is mostly used for recreation or as a medicinal drug, although it may also be used for spiritual purposes. In 2013, between 128 and 232 million people used cannabis (2.7% to 4.9% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65). It is the most commonly used illegal drug both in the world and the United States. The countries with the highest use among adults as of 2018 are Zambia, the United States, Canada, and Nigeria. In 2016, 51% of people in the United States had ever used cannabis. About 12% had used it in the past year, and 7.3% had used it in the past month.
The leaves, stems, flower buds and extracts from the marijuana plant can be eaten, brewed in a tea or put into a tincture. It can also be vaporized using an e-cigarette pen. Yale University researchers surveyed 3,847 Connecticut high school students about this practice in a 2015 study that was published in the journal Pediatrics. The study found nearly one in five e-cigarette users also have vaporize cannabis or byproducts like hash oil using the device.
According to Delphic analysis by British researchers in 2007, cannabis has a lower risk factor for dependence compared to both nicotine and alcohol. However, everyday use of cannabis may be correlated with psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability or insomnia, and susceptibility to a panic attack may increase as levels of THC metabolites rise. However, cannabis withdrawal symptoms are typically mild and are never life-threatening.
Specific city and county laws have been enacted to regulate how citizens and tourists may possess and consume marijuana. Penalties exist for driving while under the influence of marijuana. Someone driving under the influence of marijuana is considered impaired in both Colorado and Washington when five nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood or more of active THC is detected.
There’s no definite amount that’s appropriate for everyone, but the ratio of CBD to THC will indicate how psychoactive the product is and if it’s legal in your state. The more CBD compared with THC, the less of a high, and vice versa. “Managing psychoactivity is key to successful cannabis therapy,” says Lee. “Amounts should be made clear on the label and lab-certified so people know what’s helping them and what’s not.”
Researchers in New Zealand have studied whether cannabis can be used to treat severe motor and vocal tics in those suffering from Tourette syndrome. The study concluded that subjects who took a controlled THC-CBD medicated spray showed marked improvement in the frequency and severity of motor and vocal tics post-treatment. Although the study is only a small clinical trial, it is one of the first to specifically analyze the effects of cannabis on Tourette syndrome.
The U.S. hemp-derived CBD market alone is projected to reach $450 million by 2020, and China's cannabis market could grow to 100 billion yuan by 2022 (approximately $14.5 billion). Hemp is already interwoven into the futures of the automotive, construction, energy, environmental mediation and technology industries. Once fully utilized and legal, this plant could impact the global economic positionings of North America, China and Africa.
As with a fermented food like kombucha, slight natural variations are normal and to be expected in a product such as CBD oil because it is made from living plants. Changes in the weather, soil, and water can all impact the biology of the source material. While we verify Certificates of Analysis (and take many other criteria into consideration during our review process), even the most reputable five-star companies have no way to control for every variable in this organic process.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content.