Hemp is rather more than CBD
The passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) and the legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives, including cannabidiol (CBD), resulted in massive CBD craze in workout wear, according to a 2019 study. Sales of these products, conducted by Cowen Research, are projected to reach $ 16 billion by 2025.
However, the potential of hemp lies beyond CBD. Indeed, as the market saturates and the value of hemp and CBD falls (the total price of hemp biomass fell 79% from April 2019 to April 2020), U.S. companies must and should move to other product offerings.
The good news is that you don’t have to look far. The hemp plant is an underrated and high quality crop that is used in a wide variety of products and types of products, including food, textiles, auto parts, and building materials, to name a few.
Virtually every part of the hemp plant has a purpose.
Hemp seeds are high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fats, and other essential nutrients and vitamins, and can also be ground into flour.
Hemp seed oil can be used for human consumption (in fact, hemp seed oil, along with hulled hemp seeds and hemp seed powder, has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, but it can also be used to make non-toxic paints, detergents, adhesives and inks, and plastics.
The stem’s outer bast fibers can produce textiles, canvas and rope, while its wood core is used for paper, animal bedding and construction, including “hemp concrete,” a lightweight insulating material that is strongly reminiscent of cement.
But one of the most exciting uses of hemp probably lies in the sustainable nature of the culture and incredible environmental benefits.
The hemp plant can be successfully grown in a wide variety of soils, providing farmers with the most environmentally friendly response to soil pollution and soil erosion that have threatened our ability to grow food. The crop can also be grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides and only requires moderate amounts of water. For example, while 10,000 liters of water are required to produce one kilogram of cotton, hemp only requires 2,700 liters. In addition, the hemp plant grows faster, provides two to three times as much fiber as most traditional plants, and returns nutrients to the soil so that it remains in optimal condition after it is grown.
Hemp also has the potential to help reduce carbon dioxide and fight global warming. International scientific studies have shown that hemp absorbs more carbon dioxide per hectare than any forest or crop (one hectare of hemp can absorb between 15 and 22 tons of carbon dioxide), making it the ideal “carbon sink”. In fact, once the carbon dioxide is absorbed, it is permanently bound in the fiber, which is then used to make other hemp-derived products such as textiles, building materials, and auto parts.
Another by-product of hemp legalization and versatility is the creation of thousands of new jobs in multiple sectors. Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, several recruitment agencies, including Indeed and HempStaff, have reported a significant increase in hemp jobs, ranging from high-level managerial positions to work-type jobs and everything in between.
As the overwhelming demand for and focus on CBD products will wane, hemp offers entrepreneurs an exceptional opportunity to invest in and develop technologies that will help the industry thrive, but also have a positive economic and environmental impact.
Nathalie works in Harris Brickens Portland office and focuses on the legal framework for hemp-derived CBD products (“Hemp CBD”). She is an agency for FDA Enforcement, Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, and other laws and regulations pertaining to hemp and hemp CBD products. She also advises national and international customers on the sale, distribution, marketing, labeling, import and export of these products. Nathalie speaks frequently on these topics and has made national media appearances, including on the NPR marketplace. For two consecutive years, Nathalie was selected as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine, an honor given to only 2.5% of eligible lawyers in Oregon. Nathalie regularly writes articles for her company Canna Law Blog.