The 2018 Farm Bill legalized American production of industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive strain of cannabis sativa containing less than 0.3% THC. As hemp’s popularity increases, more than 1 in 4 Americans have consumed CBD to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. Subsequently, the Cannabidiol industry is determined to hit $20 billion by 2024.
The hemp market is incredibly diverse, mixing the plant with food, supplements, personal care products, industrial applications, and textiles. Most popularly, hemp oil is also used to form the CBD, which is used to mitigate anxiety and stress, joint inflammation, and substandard sleep.
Although reducing epileptic seizures is the only proven use for CBD, many users report improved mental health and increased neuroplasticity after consumption. Within the past 2 years, American CBD use has reached all generations, with 40% of users aged 18 to 29. Users typically purchase their CBD products from dispensaries, retail stores, or online. Methods of consumption vary from edibles, spray, drops, pills, topical cream, vapes, and smoking.
The potential medicinal benefits have prompted many to incorporate hemp oil into their healthcare. 22% of people entirely replaced their over-the-counter medicine with CBD while 30% use both concurrently. Examples of drugs replaced by CBD include prescription sleep aids, anti-anxiety medication, prescription opioids, and over-the-counter pain relievers. As a result, staying current with the rapidly changing hemp regulations creates circumstantial challenges within the industry.
Although the Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD at the federal level, several states hold confusing and contradictory prohibitions. For example, CBD can legally be sold, but owning it is considered drug possession in Ohio. CBD requires a prescription in Kentucky, though the law is not widely followed, and CBD is only legal by prescription to treat epilepsy in Wyoming.
The hemp industry also creates opportunities for greater business. Wary of risk, U.S. Bank subsidiary Elavon recently stopped offering services to all cannabis-related companies. Hemp farmers, CBD manufacturers, retailers, and dispensaries must find alternative methods of financing. In 2019, Square started an invite-only beta test for CBD businesses. SAFE Banking Act proposed in Congress: the law would allow banks to work with state-legal cannabis businesses without risk of prosecution.
Meanwhile, proving quality of hemp can be difficult. Providing lab results to customers through your website or using a QR code on the product label can be helpful, as well as ensuring that certified Good Manufacturing Practices are followed throughout the manufacturing process.
The hemp industry is exploding due to the popularity of CBD. Be diligent and creative to keep up with industry trends, quality standards, and changing regulations. Are you ready for the future of the hemp business?