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Green Gold

The signing of the 2018 Farm Bill by Trump in December last year paved the way for a more widespread (yet still restricted) cultivation of hemp and a more regulated cannabidiol (CBD) market. And that market is currently booming, with a forecasted revenue of over 22 million by 2022.

But there is still a lot of confusion over what exactly is CBD, with many people thinking cannabis, hemp, marijuana, CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the same thing. They are not.

Cannabis is a plant, and there are two main types; Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. While marijuana can be derived from both types, hemp is only derived from the Cannabis Sativa family.

This means that even though hemp and marijuana have a few things in common, there are notable differences, with the most crucial being that hemp is almost devoid of THC, which is the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high. In fact, by law, hemp must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be considered hemp, otherwise, growers are at risk of prosecution under federal law.

The main active ingredient in hemp is CBD, and CBD does not have any psychoactive properties. Instead, CBD has been credited with relieving anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, and pain, although “credited” does not mean proven. Because of the historical regulatory landscape, there are hardly any well-conducted trials backing up those claims, although research is expected to ramp up now that laws distinguish between hemp and marijuana.

Expect an explosion of products containing CBD from protein powders to pain-relieving patches to products for period pain. In June 2018, Epidiolex became the first FDA-approved plant-derived CBD medicine to be available on prescription in the U.S. for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. Even the big names are supposedly getting in on the action with rumors circulating that Coca-Cola is preparing to launch a new CBD-containing range of drinks.

In addition to the medicinal uses of CBD, hemp is also a great resource for making 100% biodegradable, environmentally-friendly products such as biofuel, building materials, clothing, and paper.

So, step aside turmeric. There’s a new player in town.

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