The Farm Bill, Hemp, and CBD: Here’s How CBD Has Changed Over the Past Decade


farm bill hemp

The Farm Bill of 2018 has ruffled a lot of feathers, and lots of rumors and misinformation is flying around about the legislation. What is the Farm Bill, exactly? Does it have to do with marijuana? Does it legalize CBD? Let’s break it down. 

What is the difference between hemp, cannabis, and marijuana?

It’s first important to note that even though hemp, marijuana, and cannabis are often lumped into the same category, they are very different. Cannabis is a family of plants, and hemp and marijuana are two unique species of plants within the cannabis family. When compared side by side, you can tell the difference between them by the breadth of their leaves. The most important distinction, however, is their concentration of THC, the chemical compound that causes users to experience psychoactive effects. While marijuana has a high concentration of THC at 15% — which amounts for the “high” — hemp has a relatively low amount of THC at .03% or less. 

What is CBD, and what does it do? 

In other countries, hemp has been cultivated for a variety of purposes, including to produce cannabidiol (CBD), a natural health and wellness product that is marketed and sold as a nutritional supplement. Among its many benefits, new studies of CBD have shown it to play a potential role in treating many common health issues, such as anxiety, depression, acne, and heart disease. For those living with cancer, it may also even provide a natural alternative for relief from pain and symptoms.

We’ve already established that CBD, a byproduct of hemp, does not contain enough THC to make any users high, but merely provides numerous health benefits. However, for decades, federal law did not differentiate hemp from other cannabis plants. Despite the differences discussed between hemp, marijuana, and cannabis, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis as marijuana. Marijuana and THC in any concentrations were both listed as Schedule 1 controlled substances, which made hemp illegal. 

What is the Farm Bill, and how does it affect CBD?

The Farm Bill has actually been introduced twice: in 2014 and 2018. 

The 2014 Farm Bill took a small step towards changing hemp policy by drawing a distinction between hemp and marijuana by defining industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any such part of the plant...with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent…” The primary goal of the 2014 Farm Bill was to generate hemp research and protect its cultivation, and the law did not expressly address the processing of hemp or the manufacture, distribution, and sale of products made from hemp. Also, the bill did not modify the Controlled Substances Act to exclude hemp or products containing THC derived from hemp, which led to confusion about the legality of industrial hemp products under federal law. 

In 2018, another Farm Bill was passed, which filled in the gaps with the previous Farm Bill of 2014. The bill was passed in a 389-to-47 vote in the House and by 87-to-13 in the Senate, and allocated billions of dollars worth of subsidies to farmers in America. The passing of the 2018 bill also removed CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, which essentially federally legalized hemp-derived CBD products.

Even though it’s a step in the right direction, the passing of the 2018 bill doesn’t remove all the barriers to production and sale of hemp-derived CBD products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still has the authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Any cannabis or cannabis-derived products that will be promoted for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of diseases are considered new drugs and must go through FDA drug approval before they are allowed to be marketed. Distributors and sellers of hemp products still must comply with strict state controlled substance laws. 

Essentially, the Farm Bill of 2018 legalizes hemp production and distribution within the guidelines of the Farm Bill only, and it doesn’t make a system to where people can grow it freely in their own backyards; it is a highly regulated crop in the United States.

So hemp is legal. Now what?

Despite the obstacles that remain, CBD products have now flooded the marketplace. A projection by the Brightfield Group states that the CBD industry could expect to be worth as much as $22 billion by the year 2022, dependent on other political and regulatory variables. 

It’s already been mentioned that CBD oil has been shown to have numerous potential health benefits, such as pain relief and reduction of anxiety and depression. Reverie is a brand new CBD oil on the market that is compliant with the Farm Bill and natural, broad spectrum, and sustainably sourced in the United States. Its goal is to clean and clear your mind from the anxiety and stress of everyday life. Reverie also takes its role as an educator of CBD products very seriously, due to the newness of CBD oil on the market. Check out our complete CBD guide to learn more about how our products can impact your life.


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