Confusion amongst the public on how exactly hemp oil differs from cannabidiol or CBD oil has prompted the nonprofit Hemp Industries Association (HIA) to issue a statement explaining the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil in order to ensure that consumers — specifically, medical marijuana patients — are not misled about the intended uses.
Hemp is often mistaken for its cannabis cousin, marijuana, even though smoking an entire garbage bag of hemp would not produce an altered state of consciousness like THC does, as hemp contains low levels of THC. Confusion between hemp oil and marijuana oil has spiked recently, as states have passed medical marijuana laws that allow for the use of strains of marijuana that are low in THC and high in CBD.
With hemp research and development pilot programs taking off this spring, and the hemp retail market growing at an incredible rate, it’s crucial that consumers and retailers alike understand the difference between hemp oil and CBD extracts, Eric Steenstra, executive director of Hemp Industries Association, said in a separate statement.
Our Hemp Industries Association position regarding this distinction calls on makers of CBD products to brand and market their products truthfully and clearly, so as to not further the confusion surrounding CBD products in the marketplace.
Though hemp oil does contain lower levels of CBD, typically less than 25 parts per million (ppm), CBD extracts “are produced either directly from cannabis flowers that are up to 15 percent CBD (150,000 ppm), or indirectly as a co-product of the flowers and leaves that are mixed in with the stalks during hemp stalk processing for fiber.”
It is important for American farmers and processors of hemp to understand that most CBD in products mislabeled as ‘hemp oil’ is a product of large-scale hemp stalk and fiber processing facilities in Europe where the fiber is the primary material produced at a large scale, the association says.
CBD from other parts of the hemp plant
Not all CBD is derived from the flowers of the industrial hemp plant. Some publicly traded companies have developed proprietary methods to extract CBD from the seeds and stalks of the industrial hemp plant.
Furthermore, reputable publically traded companies, who must operate within FDA guidelines, and who derive, manufacture and sell CBD extract components and products, cannot make false claims about their products, or the derivation of their products.
These companies have rigorous, and again, many also have proprietary testing standards that not only certify THC levels (industrial hemp must not have THC levels above 0.3%) but purity as well for heavy metals, for example, and other contaminants that may be harmful to consumer health.
It should be noted, that in comparison, the HIA, is held to no such rigorous standards, and therefore is free to make misleading claims to consumers, even if unintentionally, or made without thorough researched, or based on educated facts.
CBD is not a product or component of hemp seeds, and labeling to that effect is misleading and motivated by the desire to take advantage of the legal gray area of CBD under federal law.
Although hemp was once the most important cash crop in the United States — more so than corn and wheat combined — hemp was banned and classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While classification as a Schedule I drug meant hemp could no longer be grown in the U.S., products containing hemp, such as lotions, fabric, and food, are legal for purchase in the U.S. and are often found at natural and health food retailers including Whole Foods, Costco and Sprouts grocers.
In 2001, the Drug Enforcement Administration aimed to change that by attempting to ban people and companies from importing and selling food products containing hemp seed and oil. The Hemp Industries Association responded to this block by successfully suing the DEA, arguing that hemp oil is primarily consumed as a nutritional culinary oil and used in body care products — not to get people high — and therefore, should be allowed.
Products made from hemp could boost a stagnant economy
Since hemp can be used to produce thousands of items including paper, clothing, construction materials, automobile parts and foods and can even be used as a biofuel, 39 states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 22 have actually passed it. The legislation may have started off as symbolic, but earlier this year, in a move supported by hemp legalization advocates, Congress voted to include an amendment in the Farm Bill that would legalize hemp production for research purposes.
It is unfortunate that public companies who are creating the infrastructure for the domestic industry that can not only bring the multiple benefits of CBD and industrial hemp to the public on a mainstream scale, but could also create jobs, not only for American farmers who are currently shut out of the estimated $500 million US hemp import industry, but for Americans as well in processing mills — entrepreneurs creating ‘American Made’ industrial hemp-based products — all of whom are being maligned by an Association that should consider working in tandem for the sake of American jobs, the creation of a new infrastructure, a huge boost to the economy and would vastly benefit consumers on a level unparalleled by any other product currently in the US market.