Putting it into Perspective—Cannabis, CBD, and Change

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” ― Heraclitus Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher who lived around 500 B.C., spoke of the always-changing world. Because of his interest in wordplay, he was called “The Obscure”. So his most famous quote reflects the nature of obscure, “not discovered or known about; uncertain”. Today’s evolving discussions around cannabis, hemp, and CBD certainly fall into the category of obscure. Especially in the way that consumers, companies and the government approach the subject. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The current head of the Department of Health and Human Services is Alex Azar, sworn in by President Trump in January of 2018. The FDA Commissioner is Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D who has served on the post since February of 2018. These two gentlemen, especially FDA Commissioner Giroir, have the task of sorting through what the legalization of hemp and as a result CBD means to consumers and hemp producers. Needless to say, the explosion of CBD on the market has forced them to work out quickly what that means.

Hemp Regulation and the FDA

With the ongoing back and forth by the FDA on the regulation of CBD, it is important to keep things in perspective. For those of us living in the CBD world—both consumers and producers—this can be challenging at times. Part of keeping things in perspective means looking at them in context. “Context” in this situation means looking at where the hemp/CBD industry is in the context of history. It also means looking at CBD products in the context of other products. By looking at the challenges and triumphs of products that are similar to hemp and CBD in some respects, we can see how they came into their own. But first, let’s begin with the lessons of history.

CBD and Hemp in the Context of Time

The way that humans have used cannabis throughout the centuries has changed. However, it is important to note that the use of cannabis and hemp are not new to the human experience. It is only recently that science and research have started to catch up with what people seemed to have known for 1000s of years.

Timeline of the Changing and Expanded Use of Cannabis

10,000 years ago, it was used as a cord in pottery in the area of modern-day Taiwan. That is really a seriously long time ago. Think saber-tooth tiger and woolly mammoth long time ago. 8,000 years ago, cannabis seeds and oil were used in food in China. Did you know that hemp seeds are a great source of protein? More than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein—comparable to beef and lamb. 6,000 years ago, textiles made of hemp were used in both China and Turkestan. 5,000 years ago saw the first recorded use of cannabis as medicine in China. So thousands of years before man even knew anything about the body’s endocannabinoid system, cannabis, CBD and the other 100 plus cannabinoids, was observed to influence the human body. 4,000 years ago, cannabis is used medicinally and ritualistically in India. 3,500 years ago cannabis is cultivated in China for food and fiber. 2,000 years ago, cannabis is used as an intoxicant. In the millennia since, the use of cannabis spread from Asia throughout the world. Its uses have broadened to include such things as paper, plastics, and as a painkiller. Changing-Nature-of-Hemp-CBD

The Changing Legal Status of Cannabis

For most of history, there was no distinction between the two types of cannabis we discuss today—hemp and marijuana. There was basically just three different types of hemp—Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. It wasn’t until the 20th Century, with the influx us Mexican immigrants in the US, that the Spanish word marijuana even came into use in the US. Prior to that, it was simply known as cannabis or hemp. That all changed in the 1930s when Henry Anslinger began using the term marijuana to strike fear into the hearts of Americans. This was done as part of a public relations campaign to demonize cannabis and hemp. It ultimately resulted in the sale and use of cannabis—marijuana and hemp alike—becoming illegal. And so it was that cannabis, a.k.a. hemp a.k.a. marijuana became an outlaw. This was a big change for a plant that had been used for every purpose from medicine to food, to rope, and even for paying taxes in early America. It was not until December of 2018, with the passage of the Farm Bill, that its legal status changed again. With the Farm Bill came the legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp was now defined as cannabis containing 0.3% or less THC. THC is the cannabinoid that causes the “high”. Legally, marijuana is any cannabis plant with above 0.3% THC, though most are much higher with the average being between 10 and 12%.

The Changing Cannabis Plant

Even the cannabis plant itself has changed. Where we once referred to three types of cannabis plants—Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis—there are now literally hundreds. Like the wolf that has become a dachshund and hundreds of other breeds, cannabis too has evolved. Thanks to genetics and cross-breeding, there are plants with higher levels of some cannabinoids like CBD and CBG and lower levels of others, like THC. The result has been that some cannabis plants that look like “pot” are actually hemp, containing less than .3% THC. This has made the job of law enforcement tougher than ever in places where hemp is legal but marijuana is not. Change-Continues-Hemp-and-CBD

Change Continues

The Farm Bill of 2018 represented a huge victory for the many individuals who had been battling to legally use hemp products containing CBD and all of its natural components. Since that time, the FDA and FTC have been working out how the hemp industry and its products fit into their overall mission. That mission being the protection of public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. This is an important mission to be sure. It is a mission fully supported by Fusion CBD and all honest hemp farmers and consumers. Where it gets challenging is when the agency potentially overreaches in the name of “protecting” the public. Such was the case when last month the FDA announced a new public guidance. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable responded on their website that the guidance “severely overstates the health risks of hemp-derived CBD and that ignores much of the scientific evidence of CBD’s safety, in particular at dosage levels typically found in foods and dietary supplements.”  “Further, without sufficient scrutiny or public input, the FDA makes a broad statement that it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), undermining its status as a food ingredient.”  “Combined with the FDA’s continued delay in sharing its long-promised timetable for regulatory action, yesterday’s announcements raise significant concerns for us the Roundtable. We will be discussing the next steps with our allies on Capitol Hill and will be sharing with you shortly a plan for political action.” – US Hemp Roundtable

This Too Shall Come to Pass

If it is any comfort, there have been plenty of beneficial products and ideas that have been fought or ignored to one degree or another throughout history—some of them in the not-too-distant past. In the coming article, we will discuss the challenges and victories of some of them.

The Complete Guide to CBD Topicals This Holiday Season

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. A time to connect and celebrate with friends and family. They are a time to exchange gifts and eat yummy food. Even so, with all sorts of reasons to be merry, the holidays can be stressful too. People often feel a higher level of family responsibility around the holidays. With the extra time and money required to celebrate, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

poll by the American Psychological Association found that 38% of people say that their level of stress increases over the holidays. That is saying something considering that 8 out of 10 Americans report suffering from stress sometimes (35%) or frequently (44%) outside of the holiday season.

Why all the stress? How can CBD topicals and other natural approaches help?

Stress Factors

While stress can be caused by a myriad of factors—around the holidays the stand out stressor is having high, and maybe unrealistic, expectations.

Who doesn’t want to give their spouse, friends, children and other family members the perfect holiday experience and gift? That can be a pretty expensive proposition depending on the age of the child and the expectations of the adults. And how about the expense of travel and the time off work?

Then there is the stress of the holiday celebrations themselves (or lack of them as the case may be.) What if Aunt Bertha insists on bringing up embarrassing moments from your childhood for the millionth time or Uncle Pat decides to drink a little too much? What if you are living away from friends and family and are celebrating alone?

What You Can Do About Stress


Talk to your children about the value of money and spending responsibly. Make the holidays a teachable moment!

It is also important to communicate with friends and family about the level of gifts that will be exchanged at family gatherings so no one feels pressured or uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean that everybody has to spend the same amount of money, but if gift-giving gets stressful, it’s time to talk it out. If Uncle Bill insists on giving you that Tesla you’ve been wanting, we are not suggesting that you turn him down. Just make sure he knows that he may be getting a fruit basket and a pair of socks in return.

A great way to get control of the financial stress is to establish a budget for your holiday spending. According to a Gallup poll, American adults spend about $800 on average each year on Christmas. Decide in advance what level of spending you are comfortable with and stick to it.

Be Social!

Connect with good friends and supportive family members. Your connections can help you manage your holiday challenges and you can help them too! Being around supportive and positive people is a great way to decompress.


Keep it Real

The holiday season is relatively short and then it’s over. So what is the worst that can happen? Uncle Pat gets falling-down drunk. Aunt Bertha tells the same old embarrassing stories. You accidentally burn the pot roast and drop the cherry pie just as dinner is being served. Well, at least you’ll have some stories to tell your co-workers after the holidays.

What if you don’t have plans for the holidays? That can be stressful too. If life circumstances have you spending time alone over the holidays, you can use the opportunity to volunteer. Volunteering not only helps others but can be an opportunity to socialize depending on what you do. You can also use that time to make extra money by taking on holiday shifts. Finally, you can simply do some things you have been wanting to do but haven’t had the time—read that novel that has been collecting dust on your bed stand, refinish that table, and pamper yourself (more on that below!)

So keep it in perspective. Enjoy the fun and let the rest roll off your back the best that you can (Yes–even Aunt Bertha). To do this, the next point is really important.

Take Care of Number One

The truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself first, it is going to be hard to take care of others. Being tired and stressed doesn’t make for a good mood, so make sure that your own needs are met. To help you relax there are a number of natural strategies you can use.

When it comes to your body’s systems and organs, the skin is a BIG player. The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It serves as the body’s first protective barrier against germs and the elements. The skin also helps the body regulate temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.

The skin covers an average total area of about 20 square feet on the adult human body. With that much real estate, it is no wonder that caring for the skin can help people relax and feel better all over.

Pamper Yourself with Fusion Full Spectrum CBD Topicals

CBD, aka cannabidiol, is the plant-based compound found in hemp—the same plant that helps us produce textiles, hemp protein powder, and hemp milk (a delicious alternative to cow’s milk.) CBD is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Our topicals contain full-spectrum hemp oil. This oil is extracted from the harvested and dried hemp plant. Full-spectrum means that all of the natural goodness of the hemp plant is left intact—all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. When you use CBD products, your body’s endocannabinoid system is affected. Fusion CBD has an array of topical products to help you relax and destress over the holidays—and all year round! They also make great Christmas gifts for friends and family that need a little help taking the edge off their own stress. applying-cream-to-shoulder-cbd-hemp

CBD Hemp Body Cream

CBD Hemp Body Cream pampers your skin with its mix of high-quality lavender & mint and 300 mg of full-spectrum cannabinoids and other essential oils. After an exhausting day of buying food and gifts, try rubbing the natural goodness of this cream into your sore and tired feet. Not only does this cream provide a soothing, relaxing experience, using it daily or as needed will help your skin stay smooth and soft.

CBD Hemp Soap

There is nothing more relaxing than a nice hot shower. Add to this our all-natural CBD soap infused with full-spectrum cannabinoids and other natural oils and now you’re really talking! Whether you are showering in preparation for your day or after exercise (another good way to destress!) a shower and our bar of CBD soap is a great combo. Each 4 oz. bar contains 150mg cannabinoids.

CBD Targeted Spray

Feeling a bit stiff and sore with all the holiday hustle and bustle? Give yourself fast comfort and relief with our topical hemp CBD spray. As a spray, it allows for direct applications to the areas where you need it most. After your busy day, put on some soothing music, put your feet up, and spray away. It’s time to relax and enjoy the moment.

CBD Salve & Ointment

Let’s face it—walking around stores and shopping can be a pain (in the feet that is!) Target annoying aches and pains wherever they are with this soothing full spectrum hemp extract salve. Kick back in your recliner and rub this salve in as needed on specific areas. Turn on relaxing tunes and give the CBD salve 20 minutes to fully soak in. This little beauty of a product contains over 300 mg of cannabinoids for your delight and enjoyment. legs-with-cream-applied-cbd-hemp

CBD Hemp Salve with Lavender & Peppermint

This little lovely packs a CBD punch and then some! In addition to 150 mg of full-spectrum hemp extract with terpenes, this hemp CBD salve comes with some extras. These extras include coconut oil, beeswax, menthol crystals, arnica oil, emu oil, lavender & peppermint essential oils, and camphor oil. Super easy-to-use, just rub it in! (Because who needs something hard to use when you are just trying to chill out right?) Sit down, drink some green tea, and target annoying aches and pains in specific areas. Breath deeply and allow 20 minutes for this relaxing salve to fully soak in.

CBD Hemp Roll-on

Sometimes you just gotta let it roll. And this is certainly the case with our convenient hemp CBD roll-on. Each roll-on offers 150 mg cannabinoids and lots of enjoyment. Sit back, apply where needed, and let the good times roll. All of our hemp CBD products contain less than .3% THC. Remember to consult your doctor if mixing with medications.

More Natural Ways to Care for Yourself over the Holidays

Do your best this holiday season to keep your mind and body healthy. Being healthy makes it much easier to deal with stressful situations as they arise. Physical activity is a great way to keep healthy and destress. Physical activity can also help us to sleep better—another key component to staying healthy. After opening gifts on Christmas morning, instead of retiring to the couch for the rest of the day, consider taking the family out for a walk. Getting out into nature promotes a calm mental state and can be a great bonding experience for everyone. Another obvious self-care strategy is maintaining a healthy diet. While this is easier said than done over the holiday season, it is something to keep in mind. Where you may be tempted to enjoy all of the desserts at cousin Nick’s holiday party, try just eating a small piece of one or two. By enjoying unhealthy, albeit delicious food in moderation we increase our chances of staying strong. So from the Fusion CBD family to you our reader, stay healthy and enjoy a wonderful holiday season!


Cats and Dogs Taking CBD Together – What’s the Story

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France Pets, especially dogs and cats, have long been an important part of our families. Pets truly bring distinct positive benefits to their owners’ lives. As a result, Americans are spending more and looking for new ways to provide a better life for our furry friends. 67% of U.S. households (85 million) own a pet according to a 2019/2020 survey done by the American Pet Products Association. This number is up by 56% since the study was first done in 1988. How many dogs and cats does that work out to be? There are 89.7 million dogs and 94.2 million cats. So obviously, many pet owners have more than one pet in the house. There are probably a few cat ladies skewing those numbers as well. Regardless, that is an average of around 2 pets per household. Spending is also up. In 2010, the annual expenditures on all pets were $48.35 billion, this number jumped to $75.38 billion in 2019. A lot of that expense is basic needs: food visits to the vet, chew toys, and a feather on a string. However, there is a rapidly growing market for wellness products for pets. It seems pet owners are looking to go beyond just providing the basics and are looking to ensure that our four-legged friends are really enjoying their lives.

What Fluffy and Fido Do For Us

Most of us understand the emotional benefits of caring for, playing with, and snuggling up with our four-legged friends. Almost nothing makes you feel better after a bad day than being greeted by Fido at the door, tail wagging. He is happy to see you and doesn’t care how your performance review went. However, beyond just the warm fuzzy you feel, studies show that there are real physical and mental health benefits of pet ownership. Dogs and cats reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, as well as encouraging exercise and playfulness. Here are a few of the studies’ findings.
  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which help you to relax and feel calm.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

But What About Non-Furry Friends?

Not necessarily surprising but check this out; this is true even when the caregivers don’t interact very much with the pets in question. In a 2016 study, elderly people were given five crickets in a cage. OK, we don’t consider crickets as much of a pet either. However, in the name of science, researchers monitored these seniors’ mood over eight weeks while they had the crickets. They then compared them to a control group that was not caring for any crickets. The result? Participants given crickets became less depressed after the eight weeks than those in the control group who had no crickets. Therefore, researchers concluded that caring for a living creature, even a cricket, produces mental health benefits. With all of the positive support our pets provide us, it only makes sense that we want the same for them. old-man-with-his-pets-cbd-hemp

CBD and Health and Wellness

Many people have begun to add CBD to their wellness routine. Whether they are adding it to their morning smoothie or applying a topical lotion, many folks feel that it is having a positive impact on them. While not enough studies have been completed to prove what exactly CBD is doing, there are some things we do know. The main one being the discovery of a new system in the human body. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was discovered in 1988. The ECS serves to regulate and maintain balance within the human body. It does this by monitoring functions such as the immune response, sleep, appetite, cognitive function, energy level, metabolism, cardiovascular health as well as breathing and mood. The main part of this system are endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids. are naturally occurring chemical compounds produced by the body to signal and communicate with the endocannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located on the surface of cells and organs throughout our bodies.

How Does Hemp Fit Into This Discovery?

Hemp as a plant has evolved over 100 different types of phytocannabinoids, CBD is one of those. Phyto means produced by a plant, while endo implies that is was produced by your body. These phytocannabinoids work with and fit into the body’s endocannabinoid receptor system. For more detailed information on this system and how it all works, you can read more about it in our other posts on this subject. Suffice it to say that it is the interaction of CBD with our own endocannabinoid system that is a point of continuing study. It is also the theory behind CBD’s potential wellness properties in humans. Hemp as it is defined legally contains no more than .03% THC and varying percentages of CBD. So it won’t get you or your pet high. The big takeaway here? You guessed it. Dogs and cats have an endocannabinoid system as well. With this in mind, many people and veterinarians are now discussing the possible wellness benefits of CBD for Fluffy and Fido.

CBD and Pets What Do We Know?

If you have searched online for CBD for your pets, you may have noticed that there is much more information regarding dogs and CBD than cats using CBD. There is no evidence that CBD is more effective with dogs than cats. Both have an endocannabinoid system, so it would seem that doggy use of CBD has simply been more documented. Veterinarians have generally been very conservative when it comes to talking about CBD with their clients. However, like our human doctors, this is changing as we all learn more about the natural benefits of CBD. A growing number of natural remedy vets are speaking out and recommending that pet owners look into CBD. It is important to note that your vet can not currently prescribe or recommend specific CBD products. In response to increased interest in CBD, the American Kennel Club has published a What You Need to Know article on its website for dog owners. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Canine Health Foundation (CHF) are sponsoring a study through Colorado State University into treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. But you might be reading this and thinking, but I am a cat person. I don’t have a dog. What about my kitty? Can CBD be a helpful part of ensuring that my cat is living her best life? Much like with dogs, the information on CBD being used with cats is still anecdotal. There are a growing number of cat owners who are reporting its benefits but there are some things to understand before deciding if CBD is right for Whiskers. cat-hiding-in-a-basket-cbd-hemp

Five Signs Your Kitty Might Be Anxious

Cats can suffer from anxiety and this is an area that CBD research is being done with humans. While far from conclusive, there is accumulating evidence that the endocannabinoid system has a role in regulating stress and anxiety. Here are a few of the signs that your kitty may be suffering from some sort of mild to major anxiety. You should always check with your veterinarian as some of these symptoms may be indications of a more serious health problem. Here are five common manifestations that indicate kitty is having a hard time coping with something.
  1. Too much time spent hiding – While all cats need some alone time if your cat is spending a large amount of time hiding it could mean she is anxious about something.
  2. Lots of meows and vocalizations – We all like to hear our kitty talk to us. However, an excessive amount could mean your cat is concerned and trying to tell you something.
  3. Excessive grooming – Fluffy likes to keep clean. Too much could be a sign she is trying to compensate for her nerves.
  4. Kitty follows you everywhere – Cats can develop separation anxiety. If your kitty won’t let you out of their sight, it can be endearing, but it could mean she is anxious.
  5. Your cat is constantly pacing – Cats generally spend about 16 hours a day sleeping. So if Fluffy is unusually active and pacing around, it is a sign that something is up.

How You Can Help Fluffy to Chill

A common contributing factor with a cat’s anxiety is change. While change may be good for a person from time to time, it is really pretty rough on Fluffy. They don’t like it. So do your best to keep the environment consistent. Try not to rearrange the living room once a month—if this is your way of coping with stress it may be stressing out your cat. It is also important that you provide kitty with a safe space that she knows is her place and can retreat to if things get stressful for her. Here are four simple things that you can do to help your cat live more stress-free. She helps with your stress, here is how you can help her with hers. No sense in you both being stressed out.
  1. Provide a good hiding place for kitty – Hiding helps kitty to cope. So provide her a place, it can be a full-on fancy cat tunnel from the pet store or it can be a cardboard box.
  2. Ensure you spend some interactive playtime – This is the best one as it is good for you both. Find time, twice a day, to have some playtime. A stick, string, and feather can really do wonders.
  3. Open the curtains and let her sunbathe – Easy and cost-effective, open the shutters and let the sunshine in. Cats enjoy napping in the sun and looking out the window.

Kitty Still Isn’t Chill – Now What?

If your kitty’s behavior doesn’t respond you may want it to, discuss it with your vet. Your vet will do his best to address each cat’s individual circumstances. In some instances, they may want to provide prescription medication. However, you may want to consider discussing CBD as a natural alternative. It should be on the table as an option as PetMD and many vets routinely suggest catnip, valerian root, chamomile, and hops for nervous kitties. If you are looking at CBD, know that you are going to want an organic full-spectrum CBD. As the industry is still under-regulated, there are products that may contain synthetic chemical compounds and other additives that may be harmful to your pet.

A Who’s Who of Hemp & CBD

The use of hemp for a variety of purposes dates back thousands of years. So it’s no wonder that there are some pretty famous folks that have advocated its use.

From Thomas Jefferson in the late 1700s to Mitch McConnel in the 2000s, hemp has gotten attention. It is only recently, however, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill which took hemp off of the Schedule 1 narcotics list, that its use in the form of CBD oil launched it into celebritydom.

Here is a breakdown of SOME of the who’s who of hemp and CBD. We say some because there are so many high-profile advocates that it would be impossible to create a full list.

Here goes.

Historic Who’s Who

Emperor Shen Neng of China: As early as 2737 B.C., the mystical emperor was prescribing cannabis tea for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria, and poor memory.

King Henry VIII: In 1535, the king passed an act compelling all landowners to grow a minimum of 1/4 of an acre of hemp, or face being fined.

George Washington: The first American President grew hemp and encouraged all citizens to sow hemp widely.

Thomas Jefferson: This Founding Father and President bred improved hemp varieties, and invented a special tool for crushing the plant’s stems during fiber processing.

“Hemp … is abundantly productive and will grow forever on the same spot,” Jefferson wrote in a letter on December 29, 1815.

Hemp fiber was so important to the new American nation that farmers were compelled by patriotic duty to grow it. There were even allowed to pay taxes with it.

US Politicians Who’s Who

Mitch McConnell

Senator Mitch McConnell: Perhaps the most well-known supporter of hemp in the political arena is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Senator McConnell began advocating the legalization of hemp in 2013. The senator even called on the head of the DEA for a face-to-face meeting when it tried to shut down a pilot hemp-growing program he had helped set up in Kentucky.

“As the proud senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky who has served on the Agriculture Committee since my first day in the Senate, I know exactly how important this legislation is to agricultural communities,” Senator McConnell said upon the passage of the Farm Bill of 2018 which legalized the cultivation of hemp. “Kentuckians know as well as anyone just how important American agriculture is — and we understand as well as anyone all the unique challenges that it faces. That is why I proudly supported this bill, which will bolster programs supporting our producers.”

Kevin Cramer

Republican Kevin Cramer of North Dakota was part of the coalition that helped push through the 2018 Farm Bill. A representative at that time, he is now a U.S. senator. He has proven his ability to reach across the aisle to work with his fellow politicians to move the ball forward for the hemp industry and farmers.

Pat Roberts

Senator Pat Roberts is a republican from Kansas. He serves as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee. In July of this year he tweeted:


Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

Oregon Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were also part of the coalition that helped pass the 2018 Farm bill. In fact, the bill includes provisions from both Wyden and Merkley. 

They continue to push for progress in the hemp industry. Just this month, they sent a letter urging FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to ease regulations on hemp production to make it easier for farmers to grow and distribute the newly legalized crop. 

“Outdated regulations limit producers from taking full advantage of the industrial hemp market,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Gottlieb. They referenced a stipulation that prevents hemp-derived CBD products from being sold in interstate commerce.


Celebrity Who’s Who

In additional to leaders both past and present, high profile individuals have also spoken out publicly for hemp. 

Hemp has proven to be useful in the creation of textiles, bioplastics, rope, paper, and as a biofuel. But the truth is, today hemp is probably getting the most notice for its nutritional benefits and topical use. This brings it full circle to the days of Emperor Shen Neng of China. 

The chemical makeup of hemp which includes over 400 terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids has brought it to the attention of many health conscious celebrities. The most well known of these components is CBD. Here is what some celebrities have said about it.

Kim Kardashian Loves her CBD

Kim Kardashian loves her CBD so much that she had a CBD-themed baby shower before the birth of her son Psalm West. She offered everything from CBD-infused chocolate fountains and kombucha to CBD massages to her guests. 

“So, because I’m freaking out and the baby is coming in, like, two weeks, I thought ‘what better way to celebrate than to have a little CBD’,” she told her guests in a video posted to a fan Instagram account

In another video clip, Kim K can be heard explaining why she decided to have a CBD themed party for this child rather than a shower. 

“Let’s zen out on a Saturday,” she said. “I thought it was kind of ridiculous to have a fourth baby shower.”

Jennifer Aniston is “Impressed” with Cannabinoil Oil.

Jennifer Anniston, the former Friends star, told Us magazine in an interview that she found impressive results with CBD oil. 

“It has all the benefits of marijuana without the high,” she said.

Dakota Johnson Flies with CBD Oil

Actress Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, did an interview with Elle magazine. Dakota has starred in big film productions like Fifty Shades and Suspiria. In her interview, she discussed her love of scents and oils. Among her favorite oils are CBD which she said she used when flying. 

“I try to knock myself out on planes,” she told Elle. “Otherwise my whole world falls apart.”

Busy Philips likes CBD Gummies

Actress Busy Phillipps generously shares her life’s triumphs and struggles on social media and in interviews. In a recent interview with Health magazine she talked about her struggle with anxiety. 

“I grew up in a family where mental health issues are…we’ve got ’em!” Busy told Us. “I’ve had that since I was a kid—racing thoughts, unable to get control of my thoughts, spinning out into paralysis of not being able to do anything and crying hysterically about it, or just feeling totally helpless.” 

Like many celebrities dealing with similar issues, Busy deals with the issue holistically. She works out daily, has done acupuncture, infrared sauna, and used CBD and THC gummies which she says she is a “very strong proponent of now.”

Emma Roberts Bathes with CBD

Emma Roberts, of American Horror Story fame, posted on Instagram in January that she genuinely loves her CBD-infused bath tonic. The tonic was created to make bathing more relaxing. She even used the hashtag #notanad” on the post.

Alessandra Ambrosio’s Sleeps Better with CBD Oil

Brazilian supermodel and Victoria’s Secret angel, Alessandra Ambrosio, told Well + Good that she uses CBD oil. 

“The most important thing to do [to prep for the Victoria’s Secret Show] is to sleep eight hours the night before,” she said. “It’s hard because the mind gets anxious, so I try CBD oil and I think it helps.” 

Ambrosio also said that to prepare for a show she doubles down on her workouts.

Olivia Wilde’s Feet Love CBD Lotion

Olivia Wilde told the New York Times some of her favorite tips for beauty and wellness. The actress revealed that she uses a body lotion with CBD to soothe body aches and relax tensed up muscles without resorting to over-the-counter painkillers. Olivia noted the relaxing properties of CBD and how it helped her after 6 exhausting months on Broadway “left her body wrecked.” 

Olivia’s feet are not the only celebrity feet to have CBD lotion rubbed on them. In January, The New York Times reported that Karla Welch, stylist to stars like Olivia Wilde, Ruth Negga and Katy Perry, applies CBD lotion to her clients’ feet before they walk in big events.


Who’s Who of Athletes

In 2016, NFL lineman, Eugene Monroe, became the first professional athlete to come out in support of CBD. Shortly after, he was joined by NFL Linebacker, Derrick Morgan. NFL players like Monroe and Morgan are concerned about the addictive nature of the industry-standard prescribed pain medications. 

Since 2016, many more athletes have come out in favor of the benefits of CBD. CBD’s impressive roster of athletic supporters includes: former NFL Defensive End Marvin Washington who has become a CBD ambassador; UFC Fighter Yair Rodriguez who touts that CBD oil has helped him recover between trainings; UFC Fighter Nate Diaz who created controversy when he publicly vaped CBD at a press conference; former NFL Quarterback Jake Plummer who thanks CBD for helping him; and former NFL Left Tackle Kyle Turley who has been quoted as saying, “CBD can save football.” 

Chris Carmichael, the CEO/Head Coach of CTS, an athletic training organization, recently wrote about CBD for athletes. In his article CBD for Athletes: What You Need to Know About Cannabidiol, Carnmichael explains how cannabinoids already exist in the body and discusses how CBD supports the body’s natural process and why athletes may want to use it.

CBD is an Individual Experience

With all of the folks including celebrities and athletes trying and talking about CBD, it is important to remember that everybody is different. What helps one person may not help another. Any and all positive experiences of the individuals mentioned in this article are their own and do not necessarily reflect normal expectations of CBD oil.



All About CBG—the Molecular Companion of CBD

The cannabinoid cannabigerol a.k.a. CBG is like an older child who finds themself outside of the center of attention when their younger siblings arrive. And yet, if it weren’t for CBG, cannabinoids like CBD and THC would not even exist. 

So today we are shining the light on this unsung hero—CBG. For those of you new to this subject, we are going to fill you in on some basics first so you don’t get lost. For the more educated on this topic, read the subheads and skip ahead.

What is a Cannabinoid?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds. The first thing to know is that there are actually two distinct types of cannabinoids. 

“Phytocannabinoids” are chemical compounds produced by plants (Phyto means “plant”). They are specifically produced by cannabis plants. “Endocannabinoids” are produced by the body (Endo means “in”). 

There have been over 100 different phytocannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant. Now they don’t all appear in every single plant at the same time. In fact, one of the things to know is that the cannabinoids themselves change from one type to another depending on environmental factors. These factors are things like Ultraviolet light, heat, and oxygen. 

There are two main endocannabinoids that have been identified in the human body—anandamide and 2-AG. (For Star Wars fans, these names may bring up mental images of a Jedi Knight—“Adandamide” and his trusty droid–2-AG—on Tatooine.) Anandamide is the Sanskrit word for “joy” and “bliss”. 

Cannabinoids are one part of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The Endocannabinoid system is one of 12 systems in the human body. Other systems include the nervous system, the circulatory system, and the endocrine system. But unlike some systems—like the skeletal system, which is pretty darn easy to spot—the ECS is well hidden. 

Relative to the discovery of all of the other bodily systems, the ECS is the new kid on the block. The ECS is so newly discovered that it is often not included in lists of the body’s systems. 

The Endocannabinoid System was discovered in 1988 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. The ECS is comprised of the following:

  • Endocannabinoids—the chemical compounds produced by the body to communicate with and signal the endocannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2
  • CB1 and CB2 receptors which are found on the surface of cells throughout the cells and organs of the entire body
  • Enzymes that synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids

The ECS serves to regulate and maintain balance in the body. The ECS monitors such critical functions as immune response, sleep, appetite, cognition, energy level, cardiovascular, metabolism, breathing, and mood. 

The ECS is really important to the balance and function of bodily systems. It is so important that some scientists believe that deficiencies in the system may result in common diseases and health conditions.


Phytocannabinoids Mimic Endocannabinoids in the Body

What is really fascinating about this entire area is that the phytocannabinoids in cannabis fit perfectly with the ECS receptors in the human body. Scientists believe that the reason for this is that the plant species evolved to adapt to humans and other vertebrates. The study “The Endocannabinoid System: An Osteopathic Perspective” puts the genuses of the ECS system at 600 million years ago. Cannabis, on the other hand, only arrived on the scene 34 million years ago. So it is clear simply from the timeline of evolution which one adapted to the other. 

“Humans likely did not evolve receptors for a cannabis compound. Indeed, the cannabinoid receptor evolved long before cannabis,” reported the study. 

Ancient medicine men from places like China, Tibet, and India did not understand the chemistry (or even the existence) of the ECS. But thousands of years ago, cannabis came into use for healing in each of these places.

What do Cannabinoids DO in the Body?

What a particular cannabinoid does in the body depends very much on which cannabinoid you are talking about. 

Marijuana is legally defined as a cannabis plant containing higher than .3% THC. The average marijuana plant has 12% THC. Cannabinoids like THC actually bind with the CB1 receptors in the body. This effectively blocks the body’s own endocannabinoid, anandamide, from interacting with these same receptors. 

According to WebMD, medical marijuana is most commonly prescribed for the following conditions: chemotherapy side effects—nausea, vomiting and weight loss; muscle spasms and stiffness caused by multiple sclerosis; various pain syndromes; and seizures. 

CBD, on the other hand, does not bind with ECS receptors. Instead, it interacts by preventing the body’s enzymes from degrading and eliminating its own endocannabinoids. This allows the body’s own endocannabinoids to do their job of creating homeostasis (balance) in the body’s systems. 

Interestingly enough, Healthline reports that CBD is often used by consumers for many of the same things that THC is used for—pain, nausea, inflammation, insomnia etc. The primary difference being that CBD does not produce the “high” of THC. CBD also does not produce the potential temporary side effects of THC such as coordination problems, shower reaction times, memory loss or the potential long term psychiatric effects.

And Now For CBG

CBG was discovered in 1964 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his team at Hebrew University in Israel. We have written about Dr. Mechoulam in the past because it was he and his team also discovered CBD and THC. 

CBG is considered a “minor” cannabinoid. It is available in low quantities from most strains of cannabis. As measured in weight by volume, CBG typically composes below 1%, although some strains may have between 6 and 8%. 

Like THC, CBG binds with the receptors of the ECS. Unlike THC, CBG does not have mind-altering side effects, so it will not make a person high.


CBGA – The Source of Cannabinoids

If you have been following and studying the fascinating topic of the endocannabinoid system (and cannabinoids in general), this section is going to answer some questions. If you haven’t asked these questions, this section will preempt you having to ask these questions in the future. 

Questions like, “Why the hell can’t I find a definitive list of the pytocanniboinds that have been discovered?” and “Why do many sites give a specific number of cannabinoids without backing it up with an actual list?” 

Well, the fact is, there is a relatively small number of core phytocannabinoids. The rest of the discovered cannabinoids are variants or analogues of that core group. According to research published in the 2016 book Neutraceuticals, the core group of cannabinoids includes: 1. Cannabichromene (CBC) 2. Cannabicyclol (CBL) 3. Cannabidiol (CBD) 4. Cannabielsoin (CBE) 5. Cannabigerol (CBG) 6. Cannabinol (CBN) 7. Cannabitriol (CBT) 8. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

However, Phytocannabinoids Don’t Stop There

This core group all have a natural form, an acidic form, and a varian form. Take CBG. There is the neutral form, CBG; the acidic form, CBGA; and a varian form (this has fewer carbon atoms), CBGV. Just to make things even more interesting, varian forms additionally have acidic precursors i.e CBGVA. 

Both CBD and CBG, for instance, have seven variants! The seven variants of CBD are analogs of one another as are the seven variants of CBG. According to a study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, this explains the wide disparity in the number of cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant that are cited in research and what is reported in the popular press.

All cannabinoids actually derive from their acidic precursor. In their 50-page white paper, Hemptown USA gives a great description of this process. So, THC comes from THCA and CBD actually comes from CBDA. 

But both CBDA and THCA come from CBGA. So who’s your mama? 

CBGA baby, that’s who.

What Research Says About CBG

Some researchers believe that CBG may partially counteract the psychoactive effect of THC (similar to CBD). 

The study “Beneficial Effect of the Non-psychotropic Plant Cannabinoid Cannabigerol on Experimental Inflammatory Bowel Disease” (2017) explored the potential of CBG helping those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

“We investigated the effect of CBG, a non-psychotropic cannabis-derived cannabinoid, in a murine model of colitis,” reported the study. The study found that CGB reduced colitis in mice and concluded that “CBG could be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients.”


Research and Huntington’s Disease

The 2015 research study “Neuroprotective Properties of Cannabigerol in Huntington’s Disease found that CBG may help those battling Huntington’s Disease. 

Huntington’s Disease is a fatal genetic disorder “that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities usually during their prime working years and has no cure,” according to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. 

The study which involved mice found that cannabinoids like CBG deliver benefits through a variety of mechanisms. 

“Different plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids have shown to be neuroprotective in experimental models of Huntington’s disease through cannabinoid receptor-dependent and/or independent mechanisms,” reported the study. 

Researchers stressed the neuroprotective qualities of CBG. 

“CBG was extremely active as a neuroprotectant in mice, improving motor deficits and preserving striatal neurons against toxicity.” The study also noted the antioxidant properties of CBG, stating that it “improved the levels of antioxidant defenses.” 

The study’s authors concluded, “Our results open new research avenues for the use of CBG, alone or in combination with other phytocannabinoids or therapies, for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Disease.” 

CBG research has been done in other areas as well. These areas include CBG as an appetite stimulant, an antibacterial, for bladder disorderscancer, tumors, immune responsemultiple sclerosis, and glaucoma. Much more research must be done using human subjects to determine CBG’s exact effect on the human body, however, initial research shows that CBG has high potential and warrants further study.

CBG Dominate Hemp

Not only is CBGA the mama of all other cannabinoids produced by cannabis, but CBG cannabis may also own an entire slice of the cannabis sativa genome. 

A 2002 research study, which was confirmed by multiple follow-on studies, found a CBG strain to be a potential fourth cannabis chemotype—in addition to the universally recognized sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Research has shown that CBG dominant cannabis can sometimes yield up to 94% CBG and as little as .001% THC. 

In addition to this, cultivars of hemp have bred and evolved CBG dominant strains of hemp over time. Fusion CBD is one of the pioneer hemp farms growing and harvesting CBG dominant hemp. 

“The future of the hemp industry is offering specific strains that are dominant in one cannabinoid or another,” said Fusion CBD co-founder Adam Kurtz. “CBG has very similar properties to CBD, just potentially different effects to the end consumer. We are still learning about it.”


Hemp CBD, the FDA, and the FTC

For the majority of folks in the hemp CBD industry, the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are new.

Not only are they new, but they are also practically another language.

In the process of learning the lingo and the ropes of these two agencies, we have learned some things. We think they will be interesting to anyone wanting to advance the hemp CBD industry—consumers and companies alike.

What Do the FDA and FTC Do?

Most people have heard of the FDA and FTC. Many people understand that they regulate and enforce policy relative to products sold in the United States. But we may not know the roles that they each play.

The Federal Trade Commission is a bipartisan federal agency with a dual mission to protect consumers and promote competition. The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. The FTC collects complaints about hundreds of issues from data security and deceptive advertising.

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting public health. They are responsible for the labeling of products.

The FTC and the FDA work together closely and share their databases—the FDA regulating labeling and the FTC regulating advertising of products.

It Starts With the FDA

When it comes to hemp CBD and other products, the truth is, enforcement really starts with the FDA.

The two primary responsibilities of the FDA include:

A. Ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices.

B. Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, supplements, and cosmetics.

A Closer Look at Group A — Drugs, Biological Products, and Medical Devices

drug is a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. It is also a substance (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.

A drug can also be a substance intended for use as a component of medicine.

Examples of drugs are: prescription drugs like morphine (for pain relief) and nonprescription drugs like Tylenol.

biological product is used to diagnose, prevent, treat, and cure diseases and medical conditions. Biological products are a diverse category of products and are generally large, complex molecules.

Examples of biological products are: vaccines and adalimumab (which treats arthritis). A medical device is an instrument, machine, implant, or other similar things, including a component part, or accessory.

A medical device is recognized and intended for use in the diagnosis of a disease or other conditions. They can also be intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals.

Examples of medical devices are: syringes and MRI machines.

Big Takeaway: The FDA defines Drugs, Biological Products and Medical Devices as items intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate or treat disease.


A Closer Look at Group B — Food, Supplements, and Cosmetics

These are a little easier to understand.

Food would be something you eat, like a jelly bean or slice of bread.

dietary supplement is a vitamin; mineral; herb or other botanical; amino acid; or dietary substance. They are used to supplement your diet by increasing the total dietary intake of each of these substances. Hence the term “supplement”.

Examples of dietary supplements are: vitamin C and magnesium.

cosmetic is a product (excluding pure soap) intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance. The key to cosmetics is that it is used topically, not internally.

Examples of cosmetics are: body cream and lipstick.

Big Takeaway: Food and Dietary Substances are taken internally. Cosmetics are used topically. The FDA defines them as items NOT intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate or treat disease.

Advancing Public Health

As part of all of this, the FDA is responsible for advancing public health by helping to speed innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable. The FDA also helps the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health.

How Does the FDA Regulate?

How the FDA regulates a particular item depends on what type of item generally with the two groups A and B mentioned above.

The Double Life of a Jelly Bean

One of the most interesting things about the way the FDA regulates is that it all depends on how something is labeled and marketed. In other words, anything, even a jelly bean, can lead a double (or even triple!) life. 

In August of this year, Lowell Schiller, from the FDA’s Office of Policy explained it this way: 

“Let’s say I sell you a jelly bean and claim it will cure your cancer or relieve your pain. That jelly bean is a drug, and it’s subject to FDA’s drug authorities. But if the jelly bean is intended just as a tasty snack, and it’s not marketed with any drug claims, and there’s no other evidence that it’s intended for a drug use, then it’s not a drug.” 

Big Takeaway: Words matter. It’s not the substance, but the words being used to describe the substance that matter. These words determine how the FDA categorizes a substance and therefore how they regulate that substance.

FDA Regulation of Cosmetics and Topicals

The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, except for color additives, to be approved by the FDA before they go on the market. However, cosmetics must not be adulterated or misbranded. This means that they must be safe for consumers when used according to the labeling, or as people customarily use them, and they must be properly labeled.

How the FDA Approves Drugs

Drugs, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter, are regulated and approved by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). The CDER is the largest of the FDA’s six centers and is located in Silver Springs MD. 

Prescription drugs must receive approval before they can be sold to the public. 

Some companies submit a new drug application (NDA) to introduce a new drug product into the U.S. Market. It is the responsibility of the company seeking to market a drug to test it and submit evidence that it is safe and effective. A team of CDER physicians, statisticians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other scientists reviews the sponsor’s NDA containing the data and proposed labeling

New over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can be brought to market under a similar process.FDA-Approved-Graphic

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Health Claims

So what does it all mean? All these different ways the FDA views products? Well, probably the biggest thing that it means is what you can say about your product—the “claims” you can make about your product.

There are three types of health claims

Drug Claims are those claims which state that the product alters the physiology or function of any part of the human body. Cosmetic claims do not describe any physiological effect on the body. 

A company can make a drug claim only after the FDA approves the claim. The FDA has the authority to force a company to remove its product from the store shelves if any drug claim is made about the product without prior agency approval. Or, when consumer safety is at risk, the FDA itself can seize the product. 

Authorized Health Claims have been reviewed by the FDA and are allowed on food products or dietary supplements to show that a food or food component may reduce the risk of a disease or a health-related condition. 

To be approved by the FDA as an authorized health claim, there must be significant scientific agreement (SSA) among qualified experts that the claim is supported. The standard for an authorized health claim is very high. There have only been 12 FDA Authorized Health Claims since 1990

Qualified Health Claims (QHCs) are supported by scientific evidence but do not meet the more rigorous “significant scientific agreement” standard required for an authorized health claim. To ensure that these claims are not misleading, they must be accompanied by a disclaimer or other qualifying language to accurately communicate to consumers the level of scientific evidence supporting the claim. 

Though the standard of scientific evidence for a Qualified Health Claim is not as high as for an Authorized Health Claim, it is high nonetheless. To use a QHC, one must obtain a letter from the FDA. There are only 35 such letters that have been issued and made available on the FDA’s website.

What Makes a Qualified Health Claim?

Here is an example of the Qualified Health Claims that were approved by the FDA for calcium and hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and preeclampsia. 

1. Some scientific evidence suggests that calcium supplements may reduce the risk of hypertension. However, FDA has determined that the evidence is inconsistent and not conclusive. 

2. Four studies, including a large clinical trial, do not show that calcium supplements reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension during pregnancy. However, three other studies suggest that calcium supplements may reduce the risk. Based on these studies, FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that calcium supplements reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension. 

3. Three studies, including a large clinical trial, do not show that calcium supplements reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy. However, two other studies suggest that calcium supplements may reduce the risk. Based on these studies, FDA concludes that it is highly unlikely that calcium supplements reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

Structure-Function Claims

Structure/Function claims are different than Health Claims. These claims describe the relationship between a nutrient deficiency and disease, the effect of a nutrient or dietary ingredient on a structure of function in humans, or how the dietary ingredient maintains structure or function. They are focused on the maintenance of healthy metabolic function, not preventing disease

The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and truthfulness of the claims, and they are not evaluated/approved by the FDA. 

Structure/Function Claims appear on the labels of conventional foods, dietary supplements as well as drugs. Examples of this type of claim are: “calcium builds strong bones,” “fiber maintains bowel regularity,” and “antioxidants maintain cell integrity.” 

Structure/Function claims on dietary supplements are not pre-approved by the FDA, but the manufacturer must have substantiation that the claim is truthful and not misleading. 

If a dietary supplement label includes such a claim, it must state in a “disclaimer” that FDA has not evaluated the claim. The disclaimer must also state that the dietary supplement product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” because only a drug can legally make such a claim. 

Structure/function claims for conventional foods focus on effects from the nutritional value. (Structure/function claims for dietary supplements may focus on non-nutritive as well as nutritive effects.) The FDA does not require conventional food manufacturers to notify FDA about their structure/function claims, and disclaimers are not required for claims on conventional foods. 

Nutrient Content Claims describe the level of a nutrient or food substance in a product, using terms like “good source,” “high in,” or “free.” Nutrient content claims are typically made for substances that have an established daily value, such as vitamins and minerals.


Financial Incentive for Comprehensive Studies of CBD Hemp?

The global pharmaceutical market is almost 1 trillion dollars with the US holding 45% of that market. The profit incentives for drug research to cure disease is high. $60 billion spent per year for industry research on drugs, biotechnology, and medical devices. 

As a comparison, the fruit and vegetable industry in the US is about 100 billion dollars—20% of the US pharmaceutical industry. Total federal spending for nutrition research across all agencies is only about $1.5 billion per year

In spite of these numbers, the truth is, our dietary habits are the leading driver of death and disability. Poor diet causes 700,000 deaths each year. Diseases like heart disease, stroke, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancers, immune function, brain health—all are influenced by what we eat

We can see that research money for nutrition pales compared to the money that is poured into drugs, biotechnology, and medical devices. Will the research for CBD hemp be put at a lower echelon in the same way? That is the question. 

While the amount of research done on CBD and other cannabinoids has certainly increased since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the amount of research will most likely be at the same level as food and nutritional supplements.

The Wild West of the Current CBD Hemp Industry

The FDA is still in the process of determining exactly how to handle CBD products. While this is happening, it is vital that the industry takes responsibility for getting educated on existing rules and regulations and self-regulating. 

An example of this was an FDA letter sent out just this week to a Florida-based Hemp CBD company warning them about marketing unapproved cannabidiol products with unsubstantiated claims to treat teething and ear pain in infants, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Warning letters sent are not an indication that people have not found CBD hemp products to be helpful for various health conditions. Rather, the warning letter is an indication that more studies must be done in order to obtain FDA approval and prove that health claims can be made. Meanwhile, it is up to consumers to educate themselves on their body, health, and nutrition.


Marijuana-CBD vs. Hemp-CBD—Is One Better Than The Other?

With CBD oils and products appearing on shelves and on-line stores everywhere, the awareness of this product has increased tremendously. 

With this increase in awareness has come an obvious increase of questions. One of the key ones being, “What is the difference between CBD products? Is hemp-derived CBD or marijuana-derived CBD better? What about full-spectrum CBD vs. isolate? 

The first thing we need to do is to discover that “hemp” and “marijuana” don’t really exist. 

Whoa. Say what? 

Yes, you read that correctly. Hemp and marijuana do not really exist EXCEPT as an arbitrary legal decision. This legal decision was only made just recently with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This arbitrary is different in Europe. So a hemp plant here in the U.S. may be considered a marijuana plant in Europe.

The Legal Definition of Hemp and Marijuana

Both “hemp” and “marijuana” are varieties of the cannabis plant (more on cannabis later). As cannabis plants, both hemp and marijuana contain hundreds of chemical components. However, there is only one that determines whether or not the cannabis plant is considered hemp or marijuana—tetrahydrocannabinol a.k.a. THC. 

THC is the chemical compound that produces the mind-altering high. And while THC is but one of hundreds of components found in cannabis—it is most certainly the most well known. 

Until the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, there was no clear distinction between the definition of hemp and marijuana. Now, U.S. law states that a cannabis plant is considered to be hemp if it contains 0.3% or less THC and marijuana if it contains over 0.3% THC. 

That is a very fine line of distinction, and if crossed, the plant and the products derived from the plant go from legal to illegal in many states. 

There is an arbitrary line between the legal definition of hemp and marijuana, in fact the legal line in the European Union is crossed at 0.2% THC. However, cannabis with a level of 0.3% THC is considered hemp here in the US and marijuana in Europe. 

Go figure.

THC Levels Today

But the reality is, whether marijuana is sold for medical or for recreational purposes, the THC levels today are much higher than 0.4%. 

Citing Colorado, an early legal state for legal cannabis, the publication Missouri Medicine reported that the THC content of cannabis is not like it used to be. Prior to the 1990s, THC levels of what was considered marijuana were less than 2%. In the 1990s it grew to 4%, and between 1995 and 2015 there was been a 212% increase in THC content in marijuana. 

In 2017 the most popular strains found in dispensaries in Colorado had a range of THC content from 17–28%. The paper goes on to say that cannabis plants producing high levels of THC are incapable of producing much CBD, the protective component of the plant so these strains have minimal CBD. 

Most balanced strains will tend to have CBD and THC levels in the neighborhood of 6-12%.

  CBD Molecule

Are CBD Molecules from Hemp and Marijuana Different?

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” 

Juliet from the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespere 

Just as the rose of Juliet’s muse would smell as sweet no matter what you called it—rose, rosa (Spanish), róża (Polish)—so is CBD the same molecule no matter what type of cannabis plant it comes from. Whether it’s hemp-derived CBD with a THC level of 0.3% or below, marijuana-derived CBD with above that level, it makes no difference. The CBD molecule and its pharmacology are the same. 

CBD oil, whether from hemp or marijuana, will have the same anti-inflammatory properties, the same anti-anxiety properties, the same pain relieving qualities and so on.

If the Terms Hemp and Marijuana are Arbitrary, What isn’t Arbitrary?

You may be thinking at this point, “OK, OK. Hemp and marijuana may legally be an arbitrary tenth of a percentage apart—but there ARE different plants, right?” 

And the answer to that is yes, there are. 

So here is the deal. 

If you look at the taxonomy of cannabis (taxonomy being the way that plants and animals are classified and organized) cannabis is part of the plant family Cannabaceae

Under the Cannabaceae family are three categories, or more properly three genuses.

  • Genus Humulus aka hops. Hops are used primarily as an agent in beer, to which, in addition to bitterness, they give floral, fruity, or citrus flavours and aromas. Hops are also used in other beverages and herbal medicine.
  • Genus Celtis (hackberries). Unlike it’s overachieving cousin cannabis, hackberries are good for almost nothing. (Every family has one of these cousins right?) Mostly, people just hack them down—literally. But seriously, hackberry trees do produce edible berries and are occasionally used for landscaping.
  • Genus Cannabis aka hemp and marijuana. The species and varieties of cannabis are used to produce everything from medicine, to fiber, to fuel and bioplastics. Cannabis is truly the shining child in the Cannabaceae family.

That brings us to the three specific species that have been identified under Genus Cannabis. 

Species: Cannabis Sativa 

First described by biologist Jean-Baptist Lamarck in 1785—Sativa strains are large and coarse. They are typically taller (6-12 feet), loosely branched and have long, narrow leaves. They are usually grown outdoors and can reach heights of up to 20 feet. 

Species: Cannabis Indica 

Again, first described in 1785 by Lamarck)—Shorter, densely branched and have wider leaves. They are better suited for growing indoors. 

Species: Cannabis Ruderalis 

First described by botanist D.E. Janischewsky in 1924—Very short. Not commonly grown for industrial, recreational or medicinal use.

  Hands Holding Marijuana Flower

Cannabis—An Unstable Species

OK—now for the bad news. In spite of the nice, clean description given of the Cannabis species above, and the very clear visual distinction between the three types of cannabis, it is not quite as clear as it looks. 

The fact is, there is no consensus among scientists about how to precisely define a species, and likely never will be. Scientists even admit it themselves. 

So from here, it gets messy. 

In fact, it gets messier and messier every year. 

As cannabis continues to be cultivated for a variety of purposes, the three species above have been interbred to retain desirable traits like hardiness. Cannabis species have also been cultivated to produce hybrids with specific chemical make-ups. Some hybrids are cultivated to produce exceptionally high levels of the cannabinoid CBD, THC or one of the other hundred cannabinoids found in cannabis.

Clearing up the Hemp Identity Crisis

When talking to Fusion CBD Founder Adam Kurtz on this subject, he expressed the difficulty in getting the true information about hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD understood. 

“I hear the statement that marijuana CBD is somehow superior to hemp CBD most from dispensary workers. People that make this statement do not understand this area,” explained Adam. “They think industrial hemp is tall skinny stalks, and that the CBD contained in those plants is not as good because it does not contain the full spectrum of other cannabinoids and terpenes found in marijuana.” 

Adam said that they might have had a point 3 or 4 years ago but it is not the case now. The cannabis plants that are grown under industrial hemp laws in the U.S., which is about 80% of the cannabis grown, have been bred to lower the THC, while preserving CBD, minor cannabinoids and terpenes. The result is a more “marijuana-like” CBD, for lack of a better term.

Where the Heck did the Terms Hemp and Marijuana Come From?

The term hemp has been used to describe cannabis—especially species Cannabis Sativa, the tall skinny one used for fiber—since the time of colonial America. Marijuana as a word came into common use in the U.S. much later. 

The term marijuana entered the U.S. between 1900 and 1930. It was brought by Mexicans who migrated to this country and brought with them the concept of smoking cannabis. As a result of the fear generated by this new use of cannabis in the U.S., the first bill passed against cannabis cultivation came in 1913. Later, Harry Anslinger, the Commissioner of Narcotics, made the abolition of all cannabis his mission. Anslinger used the foreign-sounding word “marijuana” when waging his war against the plant and made this term a household word. 

Hemp and marijuana became inextricably intertwined at that point. They were only just recently detangled as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Because of its racist, pejorative history, many prefer not to use the term marijuana at all. Health Canada, which has regulated medical marijuana since 2001, stopped using the word marijuana in its most recent set of rules, Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, adopted in 2016. Instead, they refer to it simply as cannabis. The word cannabis does not suffer from the negative connotations that the word marijuana has suffered from historically.

  CBD Oil

What Kind of CBD IS Better?

Now that we have made it clear that there is absolutely no difference between the molecule CBD regardless of what type of cannabis plant it comes from, there is a little more information you should have. 

The real choice in CBD products is not between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD. The real choice is between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. 

It is important to know that cannabis contains A LOT more than just CBD or THC. Cannabis actually contains several things. In a full-spectrum CBD oil product, all of these are present in one quantity or another and work together in the body.

What is in Full-Spectrum CBD

  • Cannabinoids – There are about 100 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Research suggests that cannabinoids reduce anxiety and inflammation, relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, kill cancer cells, slow tumor growth, relax tight muscles, and stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS. Exactly what each individual cannabinoid does is not fully known. More research in this area must be done. The cannabinoid CBG, for example, is known for its relaxing effects.
  • Terpenes – These are fragrant essential oils. They are widely used for medicinal purposes and have been found to help alleviate a variety of non-optimal health symptoms like insomnia, inflammation, pain among many others.
  • Flavonoids – Flavonoids are a group of nutrients found in plants. They are most known for providing vivid non-green color pigments to the plant kingdom such as the blue in blueberries and the red in roses. Flavonoids in cannabis also produce a range of effects. Flavonoids produce antioxidant and cardiovascular health benefits as well as positive effects on cholesterol levels.

Research has shown that full-spectrum CBD creates what is called the entourage effect. Because of the entourage effect, CBD works better when left together with everything else naturally occurring in hemp.


Legal Update on Marijuana and Hemp Law Enforcement

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was effectively legalized in all 50 states. The bill removed hemp from the DEA’s schedule 1 narcotics list. This opened the doors for farmers across the country to plant this versatile crop. 

However that didn’t necessarily clear the air for everyone in the hemp industry or law enforcement. A Minnesota driver carrying 300 pounds of hemp through South Dakota was recently stopped for speeding and arrested for possession of marijuana. The driver was bringing the hemp to a Minnesota processor from Denver, Colorado. The Argus Leader reported the driver was released and is awaiting the next steps in the legal process, but the total cost so far in legal fees and product loss exceeds $36,000. 

Unlike hemp, the legal status of marijuana was not changed with the passage of the farm bill. Marijuana remains a schedule 1 narcotic and is illegal in most states. Making matters more complicated, the legal status of hemp is even still in question in a few states like South Dakota. 

So while the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized industrial hemp, South Dakota legislators did not override Gov. Kristi Noem’s veto of a bill legalizing hemp in the state this year. 

The Department of Public Safety in South Dakota points out that hemp is still illegal in their state and that includes transporting it. 

Meanwhile the Minnesota Hemp Association is calling out South Dakota for violating the 2018 Farm Bill. This case highlights the urgent need for consistent state laws regarding the hemp industry.

The Backstory of Hemp

Hemp and marijuana are both part of the plant species cannabis. The truth is, the term marijuana did not enter into common use in the U.S. until the 1920s and 1930s. At the time the term marijuana came into use, there wasn’t a specific marijuana plant or definition of marijuana. 

There were and are three different types of cannabis species–cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. These have historically been referred to blanketly as hemp. 

Hemp has been a part of U.S. History since the founding of our country. Prior to the 1900s, hemp was not generally used for smoking in the US. Prior to the revolutionary war the colonies produced sacks, paper, cordage, cloth and canvas from hemp. This continued into the 1800’s. The psychoactive properties of hemp were well known by the 18th century. However, there is no evidence that colonial Americans used hemp for mind-altering purposes.

Enter Marijuana

Between 1900 and 1930, there was a large-scale migration from Mexico to the US. With them came the concept of smoking cannabis aka hemp. The first bill to be passed against the cultivation of cannabis was in 1913. Later, Harry Anslinger, in his position as Commissioner of Narcotics, leveraged the cannabis issue for professional advancement and security. He made the abolition of smoking cannabis his mission. Anslinger used the foreign-sounding term “marijuana” when campaigning against the plant and it was he who made this term a household word. 

At that time and for the decades following hemp and marijuana were legally regarded as the same thing.

What is the Difference?

Up until recently, the question of the difference between hemp and marijuana was very difficult to answer. With all of the new strains of both hemp and marijuana being developed. 

But today, because of the 2018 Farm Bill, the answer to the question is very straightforward. Cannabis is considered hemp if it contains less than 0.3% THC and marijuana if it contains over that amount. This is the first time that there is a stated definition of each that allows the two —hemp and marijuana —to be identified as distinct plants. 

The bill defines hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

Why Cannabis Enforcement is a Problem

The problem with enforcing marijuana laws, is that apart from the invisible chemical makeup of hemp and marijuana, the difference in the level of THC, there are virtually no outward physical characteristics differentiating the two. In addition to that, even testing the level of THC is difficult. 

It was for exactly this reason that Commissioner of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, was able to effectively ban both hemp and marijuana in the 1930s—essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  Why Enforce Cannabis?

How a Few States are Coping with Cannabis Law Enforcement Issues


Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new law on June 10 which allows for a federally approved program for farmers to grow hemp as an industrial crop. The law also expanded the type of products that can be purchased in the state to include any hemp or hemp-derived product containing less than 0.3 percent of THC. 

But marijuana is still illegal in Texas. 

As a result of the new law, on July 10, all Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers were instructed to cite and release people with a misdemeanor amount of the suspected drug —less than 4 ounces —when possible. 

The difficulty in differentiating between hemp and marijuana has led prosecutors in some Texas jurisdictions to drop hundreds of low-level marijuana cases and stop accepting new ones.

 DPS said that before the hemp law, they were arresting and booking people on marijuana possession cases in most counties. They further stated that they will continue to do that in jurisdictions where prosecutors are accepting cases without a quantitative lab report.


This loosening up on enforcement of marijuana laws goes even further in the state of Ohio. 

On July 20, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 57 approving hemp in that state. 

Subsequently, the Ohio Attorney General’s office sent a letter to every prosecutor in the state. The letter says: 

“BCI (the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation) is in early stages of validating methods to meet this new legal requirement. Suspend any identification of marijuana testing in your local jurisdiction by law enforcement previously trained.” 

Most crime labs in Ohio only have the ability to detect the presence of THC but not the specific amount. Even the state crime lab at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) cannot distinguish between the legal and illegal amount of THC. 

A spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office told 10TV WBNS that the passage of SB 57 effectively puts a temporary stop to any prosecution of any marijuana cases statewide. The bureau is continuing to work on getting instrumentation and procedures necessary to measure the quantity of THC, a process which is anticipated to take many months.


Meanwhile In the Sunshine State, the state legislature also recently passed SB 1020 on July 1st. The legislation legalized hemp and CBD products. 

In response, in the same month, the Florida Sheriffs Association sent out a legal alert stating that law enforcement officers can no longer use the sight or smell to determine possession of marijuana. They need extra indicators like other drugs, paraphernalia or guns. 

“Sheriffs should not assume that a positive field test provides probable cause to search or arrest,” the alert reads. “Additional factors aside from a canine alert may be needed to establish probable cause.” 

As with other states, law enforcement simply does not have the ability to distinguish hemp from marijuana. “Hemp is legal, marijuana is not. So how do we know one from the other?” said Dr. Dave Thomas, a criminal justice expert from Florida Gulf Coast University.

  Minnesota In The Morning


Some states, like Minnesota, are seeing a loosening up of already comparatively loose marijuana law enforcement. Minnesota decriminalized the possession or sale without the exchange of money of less than 42.5 grams of marijuana in 1976. The first offense became a petty misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $200 fine and possible drug education. Additional infractions face increased penalties. Possession of larger quantities of marijuana or the sale of any amount is a felony in Minnesota. 

Minnesota has been growing hemp since the passage of HF 1437. Passed in 2015, the bill featured a hemp amendment which provided for the framework to develop a hemp pilot program under the state’s Department of Agriculture. 

Even before the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Minneapolis police quit the practice of targeting small-scale marijuana sellers in downtown after revelations that nearly everyone arrested was black.

South Dakota

Right next door to Minnesota in South Dakota, it is a whole different story. Hemp Farming and research is not legal in South Dakota. Current state law in South Dakota even makes all forms of CBD oil illegal in that state. 

House Bill 1191 was introduced this year and would have legalized the growth, production, and processing of industrial hemp and derivative products. 

“After a robust discussion of HB 1191 during the recent legislative session, the legal status under state law did not change, hemp and CBD oils remain illegal in South Dakota,” said Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. 

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed the bill on March 12.

Where it is Not a Problem

In states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California and many others, where recreational marijuana is legal, the issue of enforcement is obviously not an issue. 

The question for law enforcement in other states will be how to deal with the issue moving forward. As with any new field cooperation between hemp farmers and CBD manufacturers and those entrusted to enforce existing laws within their state is vital. 

At Fusion CBD we have been called upon for advice and help from law enforcement to make sure that laws are being followed.


Hemp Legal in Ohio! Governor Signs CBD Bill Into Law

Hemp Legal in Ohio as of July 25th 2019! Legislative actions affecting the farming and distribution of hemp products are being passed at an amazing rate. 

In fact, Law.com reports that it’s rare a day goes by without changes in how the hemp industry is regulated. 

The most recent major legislative action happened in Ohio, home of the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. On July 25, Mike Dewine signed Senate Bill 57

This bill directs the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to draft rules to regulate the licensing and processing of hemp. This action was music to the ears of Ohioans in the hemp business. Even after the Farm Bill of 2018 was passed, taking CBD off the schedule 1 list of narcotics, stores carrying CBD in Ohio were forced to remove CBD hemp products from their shelves. 

But no more. Now with hemp legal finally, CBD products are back on store shelves in Ohio, and this time for good. 

Consistent with the 2018 federal Farm Bill, SB 57 removed hemp from the controlled substances list.

What Happens Now with Hemp Legal in Ohio?

Much to the delight of CBD users, the law allows CBD to enter the state freely and on an immediate basis. However, it will be a while before hemp can be commercially grown or processed in Ohio. 

As with any law, it is now over to the agency whose job it is to enforce it. In this case, the torch has been passed to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The department will create a hemp program which they will administer. 

They will also set up a licensing structure for farmers who are interested in growing and/or processing hemp legally. 

Ohio agriculture officials have six months to draft new rules and regulations regulating the industry. From there, the rules will go to the feds for approval. The goal is to get everything in place so farmers can plant their legal hemp crops in the spring of 2020.

  Ed McCauley of Fusion CBD discusses CBD + Hemp Legal in Ohio

Fusion CBD and Ed McCauley

Fusion CBD co-founder Ed McCauley is all too familiar with the process that Ohio policymakers, hemp farmers, and hemp producers are embarking on. 

“New York made farming hemp legal in 2017. We are now in our second year of planting in this state,” said McCauley. McCauley relocated from New Jersey to Orange County, New York just before jumping into the hemp industry in Oregon with partner Adam Kurtz. 

“Even though it has been a few years in New York, the state is still struggling with the rules and regulations of oversight of this industry,” he further explained.

Fusion CBD operates in several states, including New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Maryland. McCauley is actively participating in the draft reviews and possible edits to the current bill at the New York legislative level. 

“We have found that it is easier to farm hemp in Oregon from a regulatory standpoint. However we look forward to smoother regulatory controls in New York in the future,” said McCauley. “Our goal is to take what has been learned and offer it to new states as they navigate the departmental and rule making process.” 

One of the challenges for hemp farmers in New York in the past has been getting a license to plant. It looks, however, like Ohio hemp farmers may not have to face that particular obstacle. 

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director, Dorothy Pelanda, stated that the agency does not plan to limit the number of licenses issued to cultivate or process hemp. 

Despite the challenges that lie ahead since Ohio made hemp legal, the recent passage of SB 57 is worth celebrating.

Making CBD + Hemp Legal is an Opportunity for Learning

With the passage of SB 57, universities will now have an opportunity to cultivate and process hemp for research purposes. 

In fact, that application process is already open for Ohio universities. No hemp cultivation or processing license is required to participate. 

One university, Central State University, is ready to start. They are hoping to become Ohio’s first public university to plant seeds under the university hemp research program. 

Hemp is an incredibly diverse crop. It is grown for fiber, grain, and cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp can be used thousands of products—food, rope, textile, and of course for health. 

Ohio Central State’s cultivation will include four varieties of hemp at the research farm. It will provide valuable education to students and Ohio growers alike. 

It also will provide the ODA and the medical community with access to their current research findings. 

The university-sponsored research would help Ohio farmers explore alternative crops to diversify and optimize their farm operations. 

Dr. Craig Schluttenhofer, a research assistant and professor of natural products, is leading Central State’s hemp research team. 

He is focusing on the production, processing, genetics, breeding, and biochemistry of hemp. Schluttenhofer began conducting hemp research in May 2014 at the University of Kentucky.

  CBD + Hemp Legal in Ohio

Hemp Expected to be BIG in Ohio

Ohio is the 47th state to regulate hemp. The Ohio Farm Bureau has predicted it will become the state’s third-largest crop, behind corn and soybeans. 

The bill allows for the cultivation and research of hemp as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. In fact, the legal difference between hemp and marijuana, both cannabis plants, is that level of TCH. 

Cannabis with a level above .3% is considered marijuana. It should be noted that most marijuana, as you think of it, has levels of THC much higher than .4%. 

THC is the psychoactive compound of cannabis and is what that gives marijuana its high. Hemp is a cannabis plant that does not produce intoxicating effects. 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will be testing hemp products for safety and accurate labeling to protect Ohio consumers. 

In August of 2018, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy asserted that the sale of CBD products fell under its control as part of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP). 

This made the sale of CBD without a license unlawful. SB 57 expressly removes all hemp products from the definition of controlled substances under Ohio law and clarifies that neither CBD or hemp are subject to the OMMCP.

The Work Ahead for Keeping CBD + Hemp Legal

According to Cleveland.com, the Ohio Department of Agriculture plans to ask the state for $12 million next month. Expenditures would include buying equipment to test plants and hemp products. 

Between now and when state testing and labeling rules are approved, agency officials will check products for unauthorized claims and conditions that don’t meet food safety guidelines.

Regulation of the Hemp Industry and CBD at the Federal Level

As the Ohio Department of Agriculture starts its processes of regulating their state’s hemp industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is making its own plans to issue federal rules for hemp cultivation and processing in the entire country. 

According to the Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government, an action to establish rules and regulations for the domestic production of hemp was to happen in August of 2019. The purpose of this action is to implement provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) 

“I don’t think we are going to see the rules that soon,” said Ed McCauley. “From everything that I am hearing from various people involved in the hemp industry politically, we are probably looking at October at the earliest.” 

Sonia Jimenez, the Deputy Administrator, Specialty Crops Program at the Department of Agriculture is the agency contact. 

She was not able to shed any additional light on the date that hemp farmers and processors can expect to see the regulations.

“USDA is working diligently to issue hemp regulations this fall to allow for a 2020 crop to be grown,” was all Ms. Jimenez was able to say. 

“The truth is, what the USDA is putting together are regulatory minimums,” said Ed McCauley. “Things will still look different in each state as they are able to add their own provisions on top of whatever is dictated at the federal level.”

  1/8th of hemp legal in Ohio

Unintended Effects of Ohio Making Hemp Legal with SB 57

As a result of the passage of Ohio SB 57, city law enforcement in Columbus Ohio will no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession cases and is dropping all pending cases. 

That’s the decision of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. He announced the move on Wednesday, August 7, just weeks after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the hemp legislation bill. 

Klein says the legalization of hemp in Ohio, signed by Governor Mike DeWine on July 30th, prompted his decision. 

“The passage of Senate Bill 57 requires a distinction between hemp and marijuana, but our current drug testing technology is not able to differentiate, so we will not have the evidence required to prosecute these cases,” said Klein. 

“SB 57 has opened up a broader conversation about how we should prosecute minor misdemeanor marijuana possession cases in the future.” 

Klein cited the substantial cost of new equipment and testing versus the possible benefit of prosecuting these often-dismissed cases. 

In addition to the recent ordinance passed by Columbus City Council, as reasons his office will discuss whether to make this new policy permanent. 

The ordinance referred to by Klein was passed on July 22 by the Columbus City Council passed to reduce penalties for possessing marijuana. 

Offenders caught with up to 100 grams would be fined $10. Those caught with 100 and 200 grams would pay $25. Unlike state law, possession of up to 200 grams will not lead to possible jail time.

Making Hemp Legal is A Boost to Farmers, A Problem for Law Enforcement

SB 57 promises to provide a huge boost to Ohio farmers. However, it creates a problem for law enforcement, who are unable to easily distinguish between hemp and marijuana. 

Most crime labs in the state only have the ability to detect the presence of THC, not the specific amount. 

Even the state crime lab at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) cannot distinguish between the legal and illegal amount of THC. 

A spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office told 10TV WBNS that the Bureau is working to implement the instrumentation and procedure necessary to measure the quantity of THC. 

Meanwhile, the passage of SB 57 effectively puts a temporary stop to any prosecution of any marijuana cases statewide. 

It will take months for the agency to have the testing equipment required to enforce marijuana laws. This week the Ohio Attorney General’s office sent a letter to every prosecutor in the state. The letter says: 

“BCI is in early stages of validating methods to meet this new legal requirement. Suspend any identification of marijuana testing in your local jurisdiction by law enforcement previously trained.”

Experienced Hemp Farmers Aid in Law Enforcement

Fusion CBD owners Ed McCauley and Adam Kurtz are familiar with the confusion experienced by law enforcement between hemp and marijuana. 

In the past, shipments of Fusion’s own hemp have been held up for long periods of time as local law enforcement tried to sort out what they were looking at. 

More recently, law enforcement officials have called upon Ed and Adam for advice in this regard. 

“There has been great progress working with law enforcement forensics in trying to develop testing that can distinguish marijuana from hemp”. 

This may happen sooner than later at the lab level, but will still be some time before testing of this type is available for roadside stops,” said McCauley. 

“In the interest of a successful Hemp industry, both stateside and nationally, we do whatever we can to help,” McCauley concluded.


Oregon State University Takes State to Next Level in Hemp Industry

There are a lot of special things about Oregon. It is the home to the deepest lake in the U.S. (Crater Lake), the smallest park in the world (Mills End Park), AND the most ghost towns in the country. 

Just this month, Oregon got something else to be proud of when Oregon State University (OSU) launched the Global Hemp Innovation Center

In a press release from the university, Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, said the OSU center will be the world’s most comprehensive resource for the study of hemp. 

“Our faculty are already recognized internationally as the go-to experts for hemp research,” Sams said. “The launch of this center signifies our commitment to continue to build upon that established expertise and grow our impact across the state, the nation and globally.”

What Does This Mean to the Hemp Industry?

With the world’s leading experts in hemp, the center will work to advance the research of hemp and its uses in many different industries. The most prominent hemp products on the market today are CBD products: oil, lotions, and CBD-infused foods and beverages. But in fact, there are thousands of ways to use hemp including bioplastics, energy, and even home building. The center hopes to find ways that hemp will solve worldwide demand for food, health products, and fiber. 

The location is ideal as Oregon is on the 45th parallel. The 45 parallel is halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. This is optimal for hemp growth according to OSU faculty.

In addition to learning how to best grow and use hemp, OSU will tackle some very basic issues. The goal is to bring the hemp industry up to speed with other, more established, agricultural industries. 

OSU will help create standards including universal units of measurement by which hemp is sold and, more importantly, consistent certification standards. Both of these are now lacking in the hemp industry.


Oregon Agriculture—A Treasure of Variety

The announcement of the new research facility came as no surprise to Fusion CBD co-owner and hemp farmer Adam Kurtz. He has known for a long time that there is a lot more to Oregon than deep lakes and ghost towns. 

Adam grew up farming in New York with his parents and grandparents. When he and his partner, Ed McCauley, started Fusion CBD in 2016, Adam could have gone anywhere. But he and Ed chose Oregon for the first Fusion CBD hemp farm, Oregon Fusion. 

“Oregon is on the forefront of innovation in agriculture,” said Adam. “There are over 250 aagriculture crops grown and processed here in Oregon.” 

These products include milk, hops, cattle, berries, pears, potatoes, peppermint, wine grapes, cherries, hay, and sweet corn. 

In fact, there is only one state that has more agricultural commodities than Oregon—California. (And let’s face it, California is A LOT bigger and has a lot more people.)

Variety is the Spice of Life and Innovation

Having a wide variety of crops means that there are a lot of different types of farming equipment in Oregon. This is a really important factor in a new industry like the hemp industry. Farming equipment for hemp must be created where it did not exist before. 

“There is equipment for harvesting hops, harvesting berries, and all kinds of things,” said Adam. “So we can take different types of equipment, experiment with them, and modify as needed.” 

Adam explained that in Oregon there are custom mini-factories fabricating agricultural equipment.

Adam has no fear of innovating the equipment he needs himself. This spring Fusion custom designed and ordered a three row mechanical planter, allowing them to plant 15 acres per day. Sometimes new equipment does not work out the first time. On this particular planter, one of the rotors ended up being a little over an inch off, meaning that Adam needed several more hours to remove, re-drill, and reinstall. 

But for Adam, it was just part of the process. 

“Item number 326 on the day’s to-do list,” he laughed.

A Network of Innovative Hemp Farmers

“You don’t see as much variety and innovation in other states that have a lot fewer crops,” explained Adam. “Here in Oregon, farmers are used to taking chances and experimenting.” 

In 2018, Oregon saw the cultivation of approximately 8,000 acres of hemp. In 2019, there are over 53,000 acres registered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. 

Of the 38,500 farms in Oregon, 1,500 grow hemp. That is a really large number when one considers what a new crop this is. 

“We are living in an explosion,” said Adam. 

Fusion CBD farms are part of that explosion. Fusion CBD works with Oregon farmers on a partnership and a contract basis. The hemp farmers within the Fusion CBD network have the same innovative spirit that Adam has. 

Billy Friebel, a Fusion CBD partner farmer, has been working with Adam for the past two years. He and Adam are continuously innovating and expanding their knowledge. 

“We learn from each other,” said Billy. “It has been a great deal.” 

The innovative spirit is the same at the Kirk family farm. The Kirks are raising hemp as a Fusion CBD contract farm

“My son Lester actually created our own bucking (shucking) method,” said Julie Kirk. 

Julie and her sister-in-law Lisa (who also works on the farm) are incredibly excited about the new Oregon State University Global Hemp Innovation Center.


History of Farming in Oregon

Oregon farmland and industry have attracted farmers for generations. So when Adam moved his young family all the way across the country to farm hemp for CBD oil, he was really continuing a long tradition of migration to the state. 

Oregon has lush forests and fertile soil for raising crops and livestock. Oregon’s temperate climate is also favorable to many crops. 

People from all kinds of backgrounds and parts of the country have settled in Oregon to farm. 

Of course, it was a lot tougher, in the beginning, to get to Oregon. Starting in the 1830s, pioneers traveled the 2,170-mile Oregon trail—many of them walking the distance next to their small wagons. A large portion of those sturdy pioneers became farmers. 

Orchards with hazelnuts and cherries flourish in the cool weather and abundance of rain so these were among the first to be farmed. In fact, Oregon is the birthplace of the Bing Cherry, now one of the most popular cherry varieties in the world. 

Starting a farm in Oregon wasn’t easy though. The Hudson Bay Company (HBC) had a commercial hold on the area with an early seed monopoly. As a result, pioneers didn’t have easy access to seeds and seedlings. That changed in 1847 when a pioneer nurseryman named Henderson Luelling settled in Oregon with his wife, eight children, and over 700 fruit tree sprouts. Thanks to Luelling, pioneer farmers were able to bypass the HBC and get their orchards going. Luelling’s influence is felt even to this day with the success of certain crops such as pears, directly traceable back to his nursery.

Agricultural Necessity—the Mother of Invention

Some crops did not grow easily in Oregon. Agricultural innovation was required right from the beginning to see what would work. The climate in Oregon varies so getting certain crops to thrive required adaptation and experimentation. 

As time passed, pioneer farmers figured out the perfect locations and methods for growing various crops. Onions grow well in the marshy land of Gaston, Cipole, and Lake Labish while the Willamette Valley became wine country. More and more different crops were added until Oregon became the #2 state in terms of number of products even though it is #9 by state size and #27 by state population.

Oregon—an Early Adopter in the Cannabis Industry

Oregon has been out ahead in the cannabis arena for some time. 

Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973. This meant that the penalty for possession of a small amount of pot was on par with a traffic ticket as opposed to resulting in jail or prison time. 

Oregon was the second state to legalize medical marijuana in 1998. (Once again second to California who legalized medical marijuana in 1996.) Oregon was also one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana when Oregon voters said “yes” to legal marijuana in 2014.

Hemp Research Returns Home to Oregon

Oregon was the site of national research on hemp from the 1880s all the way up until 1932 according to Jay Noller, the Director of the Global Hemp Innovation Center. 

It is not surprising that hemp research in Oregon came to an end in 1932. This was shortly after Harry Anslinger was appointed Commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). Anslinger’s mission during his 32 years in that position was to rid the U.S. of all drugs—including cannabis. As a result of Anslinger’s policies, the cultivation of hemp became nearly nonexistent. This has only changed in the last few years. It was in 2018, with the passage of the Farm Bill, that it finally made sense to pour time and resources into hemp research. 

“Bringing this center to Oregon—we can also think of it as returning home,” said Noller.


Some More Oregon “Mosts” and “Firsts”

In 1971 Oregon passed the Oregon Bottle Bill and became the first state to ban the use of non-returnable bottles and cans. As a result, the use of recycling containers greatly increased and items which used to make up around 40% of roadside litter now represent about 6%. 

Portland, Oregon has more breweries than any other city in the world. Within its city limits, Portland has more than 60 breweries. (Portland also has more strip clubs than any other city in the country but we won’t talk about that!) 

Oregon also has the world’s tallest barbershop pole, standing at 72-feet tall, in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Oregon Hemp Industry Exploding – Will it be #1?

In 2018, Oregon was #3 in the production of hemp in the U.S. Montana was #1 at 22,000 acres, Colorado came in seconds with 21,578 acres, and Oregon came in #3 at 7,808 acres. 

But could Oregon be #1 in 2019 or 2020? 

Colorado, Oregon, and Kentucky are all projecting 50,000 hemp acres in 2019. Montana has taken aggressive legislative action with its governor signing three new bills into law aimed at smoothing the way for greater hemp production. 

So for now, getting the #1 spot for hemp production in 2019 is anyone’s game. 

The good news is that no matter which state gets the #1 position in hemp production, the entire U.S. wins as this valuable crop regains its well-deserved position of agricultural importance. 

For Fusion CBD, the continued progress upward of Oregon in the hemp industry is key. 

“As much as we expand our farms around the country,” said Adam, “it is vital that Fusion CBD is here in Oregon with a large farming presence.”