Amidst all the excitement regarding cannabis legislation, there is still a LOT of misinformation out there – especially pertaining to hemp. An increasing number of companies are selling hemp extract and “hemp-derived” products, marketing them as medicines that can be used to treat any number of conditions and medical ailments.
However, the claims made by some of these CBD hemp oil sellers have left many customers disappointed with results they have seen – particularly those who were under the impression that CBD from hemp would act as some sort of a miracle treatment able to cure anxiety, stop the spread of cancer, etc.
While it is true that naturally-occurring cannabinoids in hemp (namely CBD) have shown dozens of key health benefits in scientific studies, there is still much misunderstanding when it comes to what exactly hemp is, how it works, and so on.
| “Hemp and hemp-derived CBD have shown to have many potential health benefits, but misconceptions still exist as to what the plant is – and how it works.”
Moreover, many Americans (some of whom alarmingly appear to hold key legislative positions) are still in the dark as to whether or not hemp is the same thing as marijuana – or even cannabis in general. In this hemp FAQ guide, in addition to discussing updated legalities concerning the new U.S. Farm Bill we answer several crucial questions about the non-psychoactive cannabis plant, in an effort to hopefully boost your knowledge and understanding on what the plant can – and CAN’T – do.
1 – Will Hemp Help Me Get High?
No. First and foremost, hemp and marijuana are not the same thing. While they both come from the same plant species (Cannabis sativa L.), they express very different genes. This makes hemp grow differently, possess different structural properties, and most importantly, exhibit different effects on the human body.
Simply put, hemp plants do not get you high because, unlike marijuana plants, they do not contain large amounts of THC. That said, some hemp strains have been bred to contain a high CBD content, which has made the medicinal benefits of legal CBD hemp oil appealing to millions of people across the globe. CBD (short for cannabidiol) is non-intoxicating and DOES NOT cause a high.
2 – Is Hemp Legal in the United States?
This question has been a frustratingly complex one to try and answer in recent years, but with President Trump’s signing of the U.S. Farm Bill in December 2018, things have (finally) become a bit more clear.
In short, yes hemp is now a legal crop in the United States. Its legality falls under the 2018 Hemp Farming Act, which is a small standalone bill included in the much larger U.S. Farm Bill.
That said, hemp is still a regulated crop which means that any farmer who is interested in growing the plant, must do so under a state-devised plan that has been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If a state has NOT developed and submitted a plan, then the plants must be grown under the regulatory framework set forth by the USDA – which as of January 2019, has not yet been set in place.
In other words, while hemp is now federally legal, states will still have the authority to set their own regulations on it.
Furthermore, other legal variations exist for the production and sale of hemp-derived CBD products, which we discuss below. (Though be advised that in the meantime, customers are still able to purchase hemp-derived products in all 50 U.S. states, including CBD oil, hemp protein powder, etc).
3 – What is CBD Hemp Oil – and is it Legal?
While the legality of hemp itself is relatively clear (at least at the federal level), the marketing, manufacturing, and sale of hemp-derived CBD oil (and other CBD products) is still fairly hazy. CBD hemp oil is easily available throughout the United States both online and in retail stores, but contrary to most manufacturer’s claims, it is not exactly “legal” – at least not in the way that most companies advertise it.
First off, CBD hemp oil is not allowed to be marketed as a substance with therapeutic or medicinal purposes (unless that substance is Epidiolex). While hundreds of studies exist showing the potential benefits of CBD, companies are not “legally” allowed to say that it can treat anxiety, cure pain, stop the spread of cancer, etc. (Of course, this hasn’t stopped dozens of them from doing so).
Moreover, since CBD has been used in clinical trials as an “investigative new drug” (for the aforementioned Epidiolex label), it cannot legally be marketed as a health or “dietary supplement” – which many companies have been doing for years.
Ultimately, the FDA holds authority to regulate “permissible ingredients” in ANY ingestible product, and as of early 2019, their stance remains the same in that CBD is not permitted in food or any dietary supplements.
That said, with the recent passing of the 2018 Hemp Farming Act, the FDA will likely be implementing pathways that will allow companies legitimate legal access to the marketing and sale of hemp-derived CBD products.
In fact, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has recently said in a statement to CNBC News that the FDA is “aware of the growing interest in [cannabis-derived products],” and is planning to hold a public meeting soon to come up with ideas on “how to legalize the marketing for [hemp-derived products],” and to “make sure the laws are more predictable and efficient.”
4 – Is the Declaration of Independence & The Constitution Written on Hemp Paper?
This is a cool tale, but it is unfortunately false — kind of. While the first and second drafts of the Declaration of Independence were indeed written on Dutch hemp paper, the final version was apparently copied onto parchment.
5 – What Kind of Effects Can I Expect to Feel After Using Hemp Oil?
While we can’t provide you with a definitive answer – everyone’s experience is different – we can provide a general overview: users tend to feel more relaxed and less stressed out, and although they can’t get high, there is a suggestion that hemp oil can improve mood, lower anxiety, and decrease pain and inflammation.
Hemp is filled with phytocannabinoids (naturally-occurring chemical compounds) which are known to influence the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is essentially responsible for keeping the body in ‘balance,’ as it produces an array of endocannabinoids and receptors that work to influence things such as mood, appetite, pain, and many more functions.
6 – What is the Best Way to Consume Hemp?
For the most part, this is a matter of preference. Topical creams and hemp CBD lotions can be rubbed into specific areas, and have arguably been the best option in the past for people with joint-related inflammation (from arthritis) that is in a specific localized area.
Hemp-derived CBD edibles generally take longer to work, but these can taste absolutely phenomenal and also pack a potent punch in terms of effectiveness. CBD oil of course works faster, but some people dislike the taste, whereas hemp CBD capsules are an ideal consumption method if you dislike the raw taste of oil.
In other words, there are hemp products for just about everyone – try a few of them out, and see for yourself which one you prefer, and which one works best for you and your specific needs.
7 – Does Hemp Have Any Negative Side Effects?
All of the research to date suggests that hemp causes minimal side effects, although we will need longer-term studies to be 100% sure.
As hemp seed oil is filled with polyunsaturated fats, some have suggested there may be a slight risk of cardiac conditions if you consume too much of it. Of course, however, there have been studies coming out that show the potential heart benefits of hemp and hemp seed, so no one can really say for sure yet.
Hemp-derived CBD is known to block enzyme activity which may alter the metabolism and breakdown of certain medications, however, so be sure to speak with a physician if you plan on taking CBD oil along with other drugs (prescription or otherwise), as it may alter their effects.
8 – Why Do Some Hemp Oil Brands Add Extra Ingredients?
For the most part, top-quality hemp sellers tend to keep added ingredients to a minimum, as they understand the full-spectrum effects of the active compounds and the synergistic response they can have on a range of chemical and physiological processes.
However, other companies have taken to adding “extra ingredients” such as clove and black pepper, claiming that these can increase the efficacy of the product. While clove and black pepper do contain beta-caryophyllene – a phytocannabinoid known to bind to CB2 receptors in the body – most of these claims are likely nothing more than marketing techniques.
CB2 receptors have, however, been linked with immune and nervous system function, and may lead to a feeling of calm and relaxation. Rosemary is also a natural antioxidant that includes several terpenoids (including pinene, camphene, and limonene) which may be able to promote relaxation and a healthy inflammatory response.
9 – Why is Hemp Used to Make Clothing?
Simply put, hemp is used to make clothing because it provides a wonderfully tough fiber. Although the cloth created by hemp isn’t as soft as that made from cotton, it is far more durable. It is also more environmentally friendly — did you know, for instance, that 50% of all U.S. pesticide use is on cotton crops?
(Also, did you know that Levi’s first blue jeans were made from hemp)?
10 – What is the Right CBD Hemp Oil Dosage?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on many different things: the quality of hemp, the number of cannabinoids it contains, the size of the person using it, the reason for consuming it in the first place, and so on.
For example, someone using hemp oil to treat epilepsy would likely need a hemp plant with an extremely high level of CBD, while those who use it for something like stress or mild pain will need less. Here’s a great guide we recently did on some common CBD hemp oil doses that people take for a range of different conditions.
11 – When is the Best Time to Take Hemp Products?
Again, we are assuming here that you are using hemp for its CBD content. Thus, the answer to this question depends on the form of consumption; it can take an hour for hemp products taken orally to work, while inhaling hemp via a vaporizer or vape pen works much faster.
If you’re using hemp to deal with pain, you’ll probably want to take it in the morning. If you want to improve sleep, on the other hand, it is best to use it an hour or so before bedtime. For anxiety and stress, hemp oil can be taken anytime of the day (or night) as needed – just make sure you are consistent when using hemp, and always remember that your body becomes more sensitive to cannabinoids over time.
Lastly, be advised that neither hemp nor CBD are recognized medicines, and you should not treat them as such. In other words, be realistic in terms of what the natural therapeutic compound can – and cannot – do.