2018 sales from hemp and hemp-derived products were around $390 million.
That number is expected to increase to $1.3 billion by the year 2022 according to the Hemp Business Journal.
The recent passage of the Farm Bill is being credited, at least in part, for this anticipated growth.
The Farm Bill explained
The formal name of the Farm Bill is the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and, once signed into law on December 20, 2018, it removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. This made hemp and hemp derivatives federally legal in the United States, essentially opening the door for hemp supplement manufacturers to offer their products to a wider range of consumers.
However, the Hemp Business Journal further states that there
are no current rules or regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of hemp
and CBD products. Ultimately, this can create concerns about the individual
hemp products themselves.
This concern seems to be well-founded as one Penn
State University study found that almost three out of every four CBD
extracts (70 percent) sold “are either over or under labeled, causing potential
serious harm to its consumers.”
Hemp supplement considerations
So, how does one tell which hemp seed oil supplements are higher in quality and which ones should be avoided due to possible safety or efficacy issues? By paying attention to these four factors:
1.The source of the hemp.
The Ministry of Hemp explains that “the hemp plant easily absorbs anything that is present in the ground that it was cultivated and farmed.” Therefore, ideally, you want a hemp seed oil supplements that comes from hemp plants grown in rich soil versus those grown on land that contains potentially harmful substances such as heavy metals, thereby pulling them into the plant itself and passing them on in the supplement created from it.
2. How much THC is in the hemp seed oil supplements.
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and is the compound in the hemp plant that creates a psychoactive response. This is perhaps one of the biggest concerns for healthcare providers and patients alike because of the high this substance creates. State statutes dictate how much THC hemp can contain to still be legal, though most set this limit at 0.3 percent according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Still, it’s important to know what the limit is for your particular state, not only to stay within the confines of the local laws but also to know what type of effect that supplement could potentially have when taken.
3. Whether the hemp seed oil supplements is “full spectrum.”
Not all hemp products are “full spectrum, which ECHO—an organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids—defines as when the product “contains all the same cannabinoids and compounds found in the original hemp plant.” According to ECHO, this is critical as full spectrum hemp provides more than just CBDs; it also creates what is called an “entourage effect” of all its compounds working together to offer a more powerful therapeutic response.
4.If it has been tested by a third party lab.
The marijuana website Leafly shares that the use of independent, third party labs ensures that the hemp products have been tested “using known methods in order to offer transparency, quality control, and trust.” Among the things tested by these labs include the amount of cannabinoids the product contains, the types of terpenes that exist (which contributes to a product’s smell and effects), if there are solvents present as a result of the extraction process, and also whether it contains any potentially harmful pesticides.
Until more regulations are put into place and all of this
type of information becomes more readily available, finding the answers to
these types of questions requires reaching out to the product manufacturers
themselves. It involves specifically asking them about where they source their
hemp, how much THC their supplements contain, whether their products are full
spectrum, and if they use third party labs.
Individual state legislation
It’s also important to know your state’s laws regarding
these products. Although the federal government has legalized hemp and hemp
derivatives, it is still largely up to the individual states to determine what
is legal when it comes to buying and selling products that contain this
The NCSL provides a list of hemp-related state statutes and acts on its website, as well as a basic summary of what each of this legislation mean. While more research may be necessary to learn exactly what these statutes and acts say, it at least provides a good place to begin your search.