Source: LEX18 Full story and video click here
A look inside one of the nations largest CBD Hemp farms.
A new video and story posted by Lexington Kentucky’s news LEX18 Hemp story HERE offers a fascinating glimpse behind the curtains at one of the nations largest pilot program Hemp farms. The farm is focused on Hemp strains that are high in CBD or Cannabidiol, a Cannabinoid that has received a large amount of public attention in the last couple of years thanks to broad media coverage regarding Cannabidiol and Epilepsy in particular, not to mention a host of other conditions. As more states running these early Hemp programs come online in the coming years, scenes like this will become more and more commonplace in the nation. Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues involved with farms like this one in the United States.
HOPE NOT DOPE
The first thing that strikes many familiar with Cannabis when they look at a farm like this, is the fact that the plants on the surface appear to be indistinguishable from Marijuana plants and not what people are accustomed to when they think of the traditional look of Hemp plants. The reason for this is that most Hemp fields planted in the past have been planted for production of both the seeds of the plant, as well as the stalks which are used for fiber and pulp production. As a result, both male and female plants are allowed to grow in the fields side by side and the males are allowed to pollenate the females resulting in female flowers that are absolutely brimming with seeds. Once a female flower is pollenated, it switches its energy to seed production, where as when it is allowed to remain un-pollenated, the flowers continue to swell and the plant focuses instead on resin production which is the source of the Cannabinoids contained within Cannabis plants.
This style of growing Cannabis, otherwise known as “Sinsemilla” or without seeds, is the way that illicit marijuana has been traditionally cultivated, in order to maximize the production of Cannabinoids in the plant. Hemp has not traditionally been grown for its flowers, as its flowers are so low in THC that it has no value in drug culture, so Hemp has wound up being relegated to industrial applications. It was not until recently, with new research into one of the other primary Cannabinoids contained in Cannabis, Cannabidiol, that Hemp has been looked to as a source of Cannabinoids and not just a source of seeds and stems. And it just so happens we have found that many Hemp strains carry the recessive traits for high CBD production that were lost in Cannabis over the last 50 years as Marijuana was hybridized for its THC content.
NOT YOUR GREAT GRANDPAS HEMP FARM
When you look at a farm such at the one profiled in the story, you see a farm that is producing Hemp in the same manner that Marijuana is commonly grown. You see only female plants present with absolutely no male plants allowed, keeping the females perpetually in bud production throughout their entire life cycles. The high CBD strains are typically hybrid crosses of Hemp and Marijuana that are chosen for flower production, so they grow squatter, and less lanky, with less stalk production along with the high CBD trait. This is a brand new approach to growing hemp, where the plant is being grown for CBD production, and not pulp and seed base. Prior to the recent surge of interest in finding a legal source for producing CBD, growing hemp this way would have been unthinkable, there would simply have been no financial incentive for growers to do so. With the current increase in demand for Cannabidiol, and Marijuana’s ongoing legal challenges, low THC industrial Hemp has risen to the forefront as the go to source for legal CBD production, as the Cannabinoids contained within the industrial Hemp plant are considered distinct from Marijuana under U.S. law and are not subject to DEA or FDA regulation.
The legal precedents that allow for the production of CBD derived from hemp are primarily HIA v. DEA 2004, as well as the Farm Bill of 2014. The 2004 ruling stipulated that the Cannabinoids contained within industrial hemp were outside of the regulatory scope of the DEA and the Farm Bill of 2014 went further in defining industrial Hemp as being distinctly separate from Marijuana where it had been lumped in with the term Marijuana under the CSA definitions for decades. State by state guidelines are further detailing the distinction between Marijuana and industrial Hemp under law.
WAITING FOR RELIEF
The LEX18 story points out that parents and patients in Kentucky are still waiting for the CBD from this farm to become available, but this is only in regard to the CBD being produced on this particular farm and a common source of confusion for both the media and patients alike. The CBD produced on this farm will be locked up in the concurrent university trials that will be run in Kentucky along with the pilot Hemp programs. To obtain the CBD from this farm, patients will have to participate in one of these sanctioned programs to be able to obtain a prescription from a doctor for Cannabidiol. But CBD derived from Hemp not produced by this particular farm, is already legal for purchase in the U.S. , only certain criteria must be met.
You can readily purchase CBD products derived from industrial hemp right now, in all 50 states. There are literally dozens of companies producing hemp based CBD with major retailers such as Amazon selling it and this has been going on for the last couple years and growing faster every month. There are now more companies starting to offer whole plant extracts, where the initial companies that first introduced Hemp based CBD a couple years back, were using imported Hemp base from strains grown for seed and stalk overseas that also had also happened to have retrievable levels of CBD in them.
These products however, when sold as Hemp based nutraceuticals, may not be referred to as “medicine” under law, and therefore, a doctor is also unable to generate an RX for Cannabidiol except for under a very limited number of affiliated university research programs being set up to go along with the CBD laws being passed in various states. These folks are waiting for it to be available by PRESCRIPTION from a doctor but CBD is however, already available for purchase without a prescription, in the form of CBD rich Hemp based nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion about the distinctions between Hemp based CBD and Cannabidiol that has been extracted from illicit or medical Marijuana.
REDEFINING THE TERM INDUSTRIAL HEMP
What farms like this one and Realm of Caring’s operation in Colorado show, as well as the current laws in the U.S. is that the word “Hemp” is a rapidly morphing term, where traditionally it had come to mean one thing in peoples minds over the last 80 years, and that was Hemp = seeds and fiber. Marijuana = drug/medicine. This is something Cannabis culture at large as well as the media is having to come to terms with. The only difference between the plants being grown on these farms and traditional illicit medical marijuana is the concentration of THC present in the strains. Over .3% THC, its a marijuana plant. Under .3% THC, it is considered an industrial Hemp plant. Any number of the 120 or so other Cannabinoids contained within Cannabis may be present in any concentration in a industrial Hemp plant as THC is the only Cannabinoid that defines Hemp. When you utilize a whole Hemp plant grown in this manner for extracts, the results also contain a high number of beneficial terpenoids and flavonoids, that also play a major role in Cannabis chemistry.
A small and vocal segment of the Cannabis community that is blissfully unaware of the genetics involved with Cannabis continue to this day to look at Hemp as we have for the last 80 years and that is as an inferior source of Cannabinoids, due to the fact that the only Cannabinoid most of that segment is concerned with is THC. As well, the term “Industrial” conjures up all sorts of unsavory images for people, bringing to mind pollution and contamination. The term however, relates to nothing more than the legal amount of THC a Cannabis plant can have to still qualify as industrial Hemp. It can be grown in an airtight room, with sterile media and organic feed and still be an “industrial” Hemp plant by definition.
What most of these folks, i call them “Hemp Haters” fail to realize, is that Hemp can be grown identically to its illicit cousin Marijuana, in order to maximize its production of flowers and resins, and does not have to be cultivated like traditional hemp has been grown for decades. Most of the Hemp haters focus on THC as the main beneficial substance in the Cannabis plant, when the real story of Cannabis lies within the 120 or more other Cannabinoids and the interactions between them all in differing concentrations, otherwise referred to as the “entourage effect”. Not all patients require or want THC in their Cannabis preparations, and for this segment, custom Hemp hybrids, developed for high concentrations of other Cannabinoids will be the wave of the future. Charlotte’s Web was the first example of this type of breeding to receive national attention. Because marijuana breeders systematically bred CBD out of Cannabis for the last 50 years in favor of high THC selections, most current strains of Marijuana have little or no CBD left in them, where natural levels of CBD in Cannabis used to be more prevalent 100 years ago.
Hemp presents the exact opposite story. Hemp breeders reduced the THC to meet international standards for the definition of hemp, but the CBD was left intact, so that today, Hemp strains are the carriers for the recessive CBD traits that are missing from the Cannabis gene pool. As modern research uncovers the applications for Cannabinoids such as CBD, breeders are taking a second look at Hemp genetics and creating High CBD hybrids that are low in THC. They take High CBD Hemp strains and mix them with traditional Marijuana strains to increase things like flower production, density, structure, and come out with new strains such Charlotte’s Web that have all the properties of a medical Marijuana strain, but low enough THC levels to be classified as industrial Hemp. That is what you are looking at when you view a Hemp farm like the one profiled in this report or Realm of Caring’s Hemp facilities. In the most simple way of looking at it, the difference between Hemp and Marijuana comes down to THC and CBD levels with each one potentially carrying high levels of each individual Cannabinoid and low levels of the corresponding one.
A NEW BEGINNING
Now that there is a clearly defined line as to what is considered Hemp and what is considered Marijuana in the U.S., as well as the increase in our awareness of other non scheduled Cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol, we will see rapid advances in breeding and hybridization that will see the country looking at Hemp in an entirely different light than it has been viewed in most of our lifetimes, and that is as not only an unbelievable renewable resource in terms of pulp and fiber applications, but also as an important source of fully legal beneficial Cannabinoids such as CBD.