One Year Since the Farm Bill: Understanding Hemp Legalization and Murky FDA Regulations in the CBD Market

cannabis plant - cbd chemical structure

It’s been a whole year since hemp legalization and we can finally say it out loud: hemp is federally legal!

That’s national scale, positioning millions of consumers and businesses consuming and handling this green gold, no longer as “criminals”; as strange as it sounds. That’s a bright green light to go full steam ahead and begin capitalizing on this mega-industry.

And while that’s great and all, there are still many hurdles to overcome:

  • The FDA is still very much indecisive about the CBD market, and how to approach regulating it. They want to figure out how to protect consumers from this wild-west-like market. It seems that there are more “snake-oils” sold out there rather than legitimate high-quality products into which a lot of R&D investment was poured.
  • There is an abundance of medical claims that are thrown out there that are unsupported by sufficient studies or clinical trials, according to the FDA.

Because of all this, the FDA has stepped up its game and has begun cracking down hard on companies that are violating their guidelines. This is a double-edged sword, to say the least, but you can certainly capitalize on this by understanding how the Farm Bill and the FDA can come together.

The Double-Edged Sword of Regulation after the Farm Bill Revolutionized the Market

On one end of the spectrum, the exponential growth of consumer demand for CBD products has the industry poised for a $20B market potential within the next 4 years. But this is somewhat contingent on the shaky regulatory landscape of the market.

The Farm Bill placed the CBD industry in this liminal space between a legitimate legal market and an unruly wild west scenario—leaving uninformed consumers and businesses alike vulnerable to the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” You have “CBD consultants” without relevant education or experience, companies making unfounded medical claims, and limited transparency in the market.

Thus, it is not surprising that the FDA has stepped in to push that pendulum forward by putting pressure on businesses that do not appear to put consumer safety first. That’s the other end of the spectrum. The shaky landscape can make it hard to know where to go for legitimate CBD products backed by years of experience in OTC pharmaceuticals, like CBDCLINIC™.

That is why we encourage you to do your due diligence and learn more about high-quality CBD. To get started, you’re invited to read our article, Choosing Quality CBD: Why the Source of Your CBD Matters.

Likewise, please read on to learn more about the after-effects of the 2018 Farm Bill below and how you can do your part in helping your clients safely navigate this confusing landscape.

The Farm Bill in Retrospect

Farm Bill infographic - CBD Market

There’s still a lot of confusion concerning hemp’s relationship with marijuana. Therefore, it’s important to clarify that hemp is not marijuana, although it does come from similar species of the cannabis plant. More specifically, industrial hemp is of the Cannabis sativa L. strain.

Historically, hemp has been classified as a schedule one substance under the controlled substance act, as a result of its similarity to marijuana. However, that changed with the 2014 Farm Bill, which allowed the production of hemp under certain circumstances by universities and state departments of agriculture for research purposes.

The most recent Farm Bill, released in December of 2018, went a step further and, more broadly, legalized hemp production in the US and removed it from that schedule-one list.

It also included an actual definition of what is considered industrial hemp, setting a threshold of 0.3% THC (That’s the ingredient that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties). In other words, any hemp that goes above this threshold is considered illegal and, in fact, not hemp.

Additionally, the Farm Bill listed hemp as a covered commodity under crop insurance. That’s wake-up time for many risk-averse farmers who can now, more confidently, capitalize on this mega-market.

All of this paved the way for the CBD market.

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The Farm Bill Ignited the CBD Fire (…and it’s here to stay)

One thing is clear about the 2018 Farm Bill: It lit up the market with a hot new item. According to Roy Bingham, Co-Founder and CEO of BDS Analytics, a leading Colorado-based cannabis market intelligence and research provider:

“We’re witnessing CBD maturing from a cannabis sub-category into a full-blown industry of its own”.

Soon, specialized stores and dispensaries will give way to sales of CBD products in general retail stores. Consumers are fascinated by the benefits of CBD, yet the penetration of hemp-derived CBD products in the US is only about 15%.

This is your opportunity to use high-quality, professional-grade CBD products as part of your treatment and to sell CBD products in your office for aftercare. In doing so, you can attract new clients and augment your services.

While there’s an enormous opportunity for you here, there’s still a great deal of work to be done, as the FDA has warned us. This includes the need for:

  • More research on ingredient amounts
  • Greater enforcement of consistent labeling practices
  • Better transparency about ingredients and business practices
  • Reliable customer service to answer consumer questions
  • Better market education

For these reasons, CBD CLINIC has taken on an educational role as a trusted company in the industry backed by 15 years of pharmaceutical research and development.

If you’d like to speak to an account manager about how you can implement CBD products into your practice, please register today.

How Can Clinicians Benefit From the Farm Bill?

You can take advantage of the CBD hype and confusion, as a way to boost your practice. As you can see from the infographic above, CBD topicals are the 2nd most popular type of product in the market and a great entry point for retailers to enter the market. By offering these products, you can satisfy the hunger of the crowd by giving them the products and services they want.

As a clinician, this is your chance to:

  • start a conversation about complementary medicine
  • provide knowledge to your customers about CBD
  • offer quality care with trustworthy products

It’s important to note that the more knowledgeable you have in this industry, the better your chances are at enjoying the fruits of this growing market. CBD CLINIC can help you every step of the way.

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Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It has not been approved by the FDA to diagnose, treat, prevent, cure, or mitigate any diseases or conditions. We use CBD in our products for cosmetic purposes only.