With Congress seemingly poised to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp for many uses, including the production of biomass for CBD oil extraction, many questions remain unanswered. How will the DEA reschedule CBD now that Epidiolex has been approvedÂ as a pharmaceutical CBD isolate? To what extent will the FDA reguate hemp-derived CBD? What policies should be implemented to ensure wide and easy access to high quality, lab-verified CBD-richÂ products?
Project CBD encourages consumers to seek out products made from the unfertilized female flower tops of high-resin CBD-rich cannabis (sometimes referred to as marijuana), which is much better suited for medicinal oil extraction than low-resin fiber hemp or industrial hemp grown for seed oil andÂ protein.
Currently, the most prolific source of cannabidiol is high-resin CBD-rich cannabis that slightly exceeds 0.3% THC, so technically it doesnâ€™t qualify as industrial hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill defines hemp as cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC in any part of the plant; if the THC level tops 0.3%, itâ€™s considered to be marijuana under federalÂ law.
The debate over sourcing CBD from marijuana rather than hemp is quickly becoming moot, as plant breeders focus on developing high-resin cannabis varietals that satisfy the Farm Billâ€™s criteria for industrial hemp â€“ with CBD levels exceeding 10% by dry weight and THC measuring less than 0.3%. If grown, extracted, and processed well, such plants qualify as decent starter material for producing CBD-rich oilÂ concentrates.
As for those who donâ€™t live in a state or country with a robust medical marijuana or adult use program, they can access CBD products via online storefronts or, in some states, actual storefronts. But choosing among the many unregulated CBD brands â€“ which â€śtypically have less manufacturing oversight than kitty litter,â€ť as one industry insider put it â€“ can beÂ problematic.
Many hemp-derived CBD products are mislabeled. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that 69% of 85 products surveyed had an incorrect amount of CBD and/or THC on the productÂ label.
Another survey found significant discrepancies among some of the leading hemp-derived CBD brands that falsely claim full-spectrum CBD-rich oil is in their products; lab tests of several samples revealed only one cannabinoid â€“ CBD â€“ was present, indicating that these products were made with a CBD isolate rather than a more efficacious whole plant CBD-richÂ extract.
Another problem: Some overly processed hemp-derived CBD products are tainted with toxic solvent residues, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, and otherÂ contaminants.
But good quality CBD-rich products are also available. Which products deserve ourÂ trust?
Here are some tips when shopping for hemp-derived CBD: