Hemp, a history, and where we are today

If you haven’t noticed, hemp, hemp oil, and hemp CBD products are literally showing up everywhere. There has been a hemp revolution of sorts you could say.

This influx of hemp products onto the market is big business but it wasn’t always that way.

Since 1970 and the Nixon administration, hemp was part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which likened it to its relative marijuana. This was the case even though hemp did not possess the same THC content that marijuana does. It was classified as a schedule 1 drug and made illegal.

The separation of hemp from marijuana didn’t start to catalyze until the signing of the 2014 farm bill. This bill sets the stage for growth in the hemp industry by allowing individual states to enact pilot research programs for industrial hemp. Unfortunately, at the federal level, hemp was still illegal which stymied legal interstate hemp commerce.

The DEA continued to make life difficult for farmers of hemp after by enacting the “marijuana extract rule”. This simply stated that any of the more than 70 cannabinoids that have been derived from the plant of the genus Cannabis would continue to be treated as a schedule 1 substance.

This meant again that the now very popular CBD based products manufactured under the 2014 farm bill were once again federally illegal.

Luckily congress continued to support the hemp industry by passing the Omnibus Appropriations act of 2016 and the Consolidated Appropriations act of 2017. This legislation effectively kneecapped the DEA by stating that federal funds could not be used to interfere with the cultivation or sale of hemp in any way.

Unfortunately, while this was very helpful to the blossoming hemp industry, there was still unease and uncertainty among the hemp industry insiders as hemp was technically still not federally accepted.

Fast forward to this last December and the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which fully legalizes and de-schedules hemp from its cousin marijuana. The cultivation and farming of hemp are completely legal and extracts containing hemp derived cannabinoids like CBD are also legal as long as they still contain less than .3% of the still federally illegal cannabinoid THC. The FDA still has strong oversight of these products and prohibits manufacturers from making unsubstantiated claims to cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any diseases or disorders such as curing cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, etc.

This leads us to our current trend of seeking out the newly discovered benefits of supplements containing hemp extracts such as the very popular CBD. CBD is everywhere and many people swear by it for themselves and their pets. You can get it at some grocery stores, fitness and health centers, online and even at your local pet store.

The list of reported benefits is extensive. Here are some of the most common:

Pets:

  • Reduced anxiety (fireworks, separation, social, travel, grooming)
  • Pain relief (post-surgery, sprains, strains, nerve and joint pain)
  • Reduced Inflammation (This is the most commonly reported side effect) reduced skin/coat problems, joint inflammation, inflammation of the liver, kidneys, pancreas etc., IBD/IBS (bowel inflammation), etc.
  • Immune system booster
  • Anti-nausea and adjunct to cancer treatments
  • Neuroprotective and antioxidant effects for aging pets
  • Seizure reduction

Until January first this year and the passage of Assembly Bill 2215, veterinarians were prohibited from discussing hemp CBD or any other supplements for your pets. A.B 2215 now allows veterinarians to discuss your options with supplements like hemp CBD without the fear of repercussions from any regulatory boards or associations. This is a huge win for pets and consumers.

People:

  • Improves skin conditions (used topically)
  • Reduced inflammation (Arthritis and similar complaints)
  • Pain relief
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced anxiety including PTSD
  • Reduced Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol
  • Reduced Diabetic symptoms
  • Bone stimulant (for fracture regrowth)
  • Improved brain health (neuroprotective and anti-oxidant benefits)
  • Reduced seizure activity
  • Immune system booster
  • Cancer remediation

With all these reported and studied potential benefits of CBD for both people and pets, there is increased interest by the FDA to create pharmaceutical versions and to further regulate the market. As of last year, there are two approved medicines containing CBD and THC.

These are marketed under the names Epidiolex and Sativex and are approved to treat epileptic seizures and MS respectively.

I hope you found this article informative and interesting. We will touch on this topic very soon more specifically to the pet industry.

Until then,

“Be well and wag tail”

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