USDA EXTENDS COMMENT PERIOD

Make your voice known! The USDA has extended their comment period on the interim regulations governing hemp cultivation and CBD production from Dec. 31st, 2019 to January 29th, 2020. If you’d like to learn more or submit your comments be sure to visit the second link below and share your thoughts! We know we have.

Personally I think these regulations are an amazing step forward, and although they do have some issues, they are a step in the right direction. Specifically I think they could be improved when addressing THC testing and registration of producers at the federal level (I can’t believe I even just advocated for increased oversight).

As it stands right now the proposed interim rule would essentially kill the CBD production that has fueled the rapid expansion of the hemp industry. The new rules make it nearly impossible to comply with the new testing standards which are arbitrarily strict from a scientific standpoint. With the new rules measuring both the non-psychoactive (THCa) and the psychoactive (Delta-9 THC) components as if they were one and the same. While we see and fully understand that there is a need a limit on total THC. The proposed (.3% THC) is not that limit and is so strict it is  impossible to be currently complied with when producing for high CBD content. It would be like requiring 110 out of 100 points in order to pass an assignment. Make it 1% total THC as is a reasonable level generally accepted industry wide and in some places is already the current level. This would help producers, consumers, and regulators to all be on the same page and create the framework for a legitimate industry that can thrive rather than being hamstrung before it even develops. These testing limits (.3%) are going to place a huge burden on producers and regulators alike as they scramble to test and comply with an impossible limit.

That being said there do need to be limits put in place. By not limiting total THC, and failing to implement some type of federal framework, we will just be adding to the general confusion and mistrust of the industry that currently exists. We need sensible regulations that help producers, consumers, and law enforcement to all be on the same page and aware of what is and what isn’t allowed. As producers we want to know that the rules we must comply with are actually attainable. As consumers we want to know that those rules are not so lax that anyone can try and produce CBD in manners that are unsafe. As law enforcement they probably just want to know what the rules actually are as they’ve changed more than basically any other over the last 4 years and it can definitely be confusing.

If you’re interested in learning more I’d suggest checking out Oregon CBD’s blog post on the proposed rules. They do a great job of summarizing the new rule changes specifically as they relate to testing and compliance with required THC levels.  https://oregoncbdseeds.com/blog/?post=new-usda-rules-pose-significant-challenges-to-hemp-industrybut-well-survive

Submit your comments! Or be a nerd like me and read the proposed changes in their legal form via the federal register at ​https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/10/31/2019-23749/establishment-of-a-domestic-hemp-production-program#open-comment

OLCC BANS CBD-INFUSED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) recently announced this ban on CBD-infused alcoholic beverages is going into effect on January 1st, 2020. It has said enforcement will not begin until February though in order to give the OLCC time to educate their licensees on the new rules around CBD-Infused products. So if you enjoy your CBD beer stock up now while you can!

For the near future you will still be able to order a cocktail where CBD is mixed in at the bar. However, for it to be brewed or distilled in is a clear violation of the new rule. They are also working to change this to outright ban the addition of CBD into cocktails as well classifying it as an “adulterant” in order to be more in line with FDA guidelines on CBD. Those changes were intialized yesterday but are expected to take about four months before being adopted.

There was no mention of banning CBD foods, CBD tinctures, CBD creams, or any other CBD products although more oversight for food products (thankfully!) is expected to be coming soon.

FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL INCLUDES HEMP INDUSTRY FUNDING

Congress appropriations bill includes almost $20 million earmarked for implementation of hemp provisions of the 2018 farm bill. With $2 million allocated for the research of hemp. $1 million is allocated in order to implement a crop insurance program for the upcoming planting season. This bill is also directing the FDA to “perform a sampling study of the current CBD marketplace to determine the extent to which products are mislabeled or adulterated” within 180 days and provide a report to congress.

Farmer’s take: all of these updates are welcome news to us! Especially the portions regarding testing for product consistency and crop insurance. We would have liked to see more funding allocated to research on CBD and other cannabinoids but it is definitely a step in the right direction

A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF CBD TERMS AS WE KNOW THEM TODAY

What is CBD oil? What is CBD distillate? What is CBD Isolate? What is Hemp Oil? Read on to find out!

What is CBD or Cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is one of the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. These compounds are also known as cannabinoids. Some of the other cannabinoids commonly present are THC, CBG, CBN just to name a few.

CBD Oil:
CBD oil generally is referring to a diluted form of CBD concentrates (isolate or distillate) which is mixed with things such as coconut or MCT oil and then sold in the form of tinctures or ‘CBD Oil.’ This mixture is created in order to hopefully increase the bio-availability of the CBD and the ease of controlling dosage.

CBD Concentrates (Distillate + Isolate)
The concentrates to make these oils come from the cannabis sativa plant (hemp) and are conceptually similar to the way olive oil is a concentrate of olives. In order to produce the oil, solvents, generally butane, CO2, or ethanol, are run through the plants material and then bind with the cannabinoids in the plant. Those cannabinoids are mostly CBD when coming from hemp although there are small amounts of other cannabinoids such as THC, CBG, and CBN but lets not get ahead of ourselves…

CBD Distillate (70%-80% CBD + other cannabinoids)
These solvents are then removed and what remains is the CBD and other cannabinoids which is known as CBD distillate. Among the cannabis community this is generally accepted as the most effective type of cannabis concentrate as the small amounts of other cannabinoids are purported to create what is known as “the entourage effect.” This effect is claimed to be caused by the other cannabinoids increasing the efficiency of CBD although there is little if any clinical evidence to prove this as of now. Although we are patiently awaiting studies to provide their conclusions!

CBD Isolate (~99% CBD)
To take it one step further and create CBD isolate (~99% CBD), the purest form of CBD, CBD distillate is further refined to remove just the CBD molecules and create a pure form with no other ingredients. This form is generally considered safest for those who want to know for absolute certain there is 0% THC in what they are taking.

Hemp Seed Oil (generally 0% CBD or other cannabinoids)
Hemp seed oil is made from hemp seeds from a food-grade strain of hemp specifically bred for grain and fiber and generally does not have CBD or other cannabinoids in it. It is however rich in vitamins and fatty acids that are shown to have other positive health effects. It is also great on salads 🙂

Hemp Oil (CBD content unknown generally published on total cannabinoid content)
Hemp oil is an anomalous term which can refer to either hemp seed oil (above) or whole plant (aka whole spectrum) extraction which in layman’s terms means not just the buds (where the highest concentration of cbd and cannabinoids are) but also the stalk and remainder of the plant. This type of oil generally has lower (if any) concentrations of CBD and limited information on its actual contents aside from the total cannabinoids by weight.

MLB CHANGES STANCE ON MARIJUANA

An ESPN study conducted last spring concluded that of the 123 teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL 111 play in states or provinces where marijuana is recreationally or medically legal. This may have played into the MLB’s recent decision to announce it will no longer be punishing players who test positive for marijuana. The league will also implement more rigorous testing for opioids under their new policies.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR ISSUES PARDONS ON DAY OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

January 1, 2020 marks a historic day for many reasons. In addition to the beginning of a new decade it also marks the start of legal recreational marijuana for the 11th state in the US, that of Illinois. As a result the Governor of Illinois has announced he will be pardoning 11,000 residents convicted of low level drug offenses involving marijuana. This pardon paves the way for these innocent people to now move forward with their lives unburdened by a prior conviction. These people will now no longer have to list convictions on job applications and be eligible to qualify for student loans and other financial aid as well as housing. Hooray for progress!

TWO CANNABINOIDS STRONGER THAN CBD AND THC POSSIBLY DISCOVERED

In a study published December 30th, 2019 researchers identified two cannabinoids that may be even more potent (for lack of a better word) than either CBD or THC. Those being known as THCP and CBDP which have “even higher binding affinity for CB1 receptor” meaning, in layman’s terms, that it is more effective and better processed by the body. This phenomenon could explain why some strains, despite having lower THC and/or CBD levels, have a much more pronounced effect on users.

These are some awesome new developments and we can’t wait to see what further research comes as a result of this study. We think we are just scratching the surface on cannabinoid research and a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of marijuana on our bodies. I am really excited to see what else is in store as we are more able to study these amazing compounds.

HEMP AND CARBON SEQUESTRATION

Did you know that for every 3 tonnes of hemp fiber grown per acre .6 tonnes of carbon is sequestered? This is done as the roots which remain after harvest are naturally returned into the soil. Compared to wheat crops growing ~.75 tonnes per acre and sequestering .15 tonnes of carbon back into the soil. Hemp in this scenario has an additional .45 tonnes of carbon, per acre, that it recaptures. This was proven by a Canadian study all the way back in 2001!

There are so many other ways hemp can positively impact our world. Stay tuned to learn more!

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