Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: Hemp Opinion

Can CBD Oil Help With Depression?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults every year and one in six people at some time in their life. For anyone who…

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults every year and one in six people at some time in their life.

For anyone who suffers from depression or who has a loved one who has bouts of depression symptoms, millions of people will agree that this disorder is one of the most debilitating conditions people can face.

Luckily, each year, more people who are diagnosed with some form of this disease are discovering that CBD oil is a natural option for alleviating some of their symptoms. To be clear, CBD cannot cure depression. Rather, studies show that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a collection of cell receptors and the corresponding molecules (agonists) in the human body, which helps to regulate essential human functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and pleasure among other things.

So, how do CBD products interact with the human body in order to mitigate some of the side effects of depression? The intent of this article is to explore the answer to this question, based on scientific research recently conducted in the cannabis community. But first, let’s gain a better understanding of this disorder.


Depression can be a predisposed condition (something you were born with) or brought on by an unfortunate event or trauma. Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of depression are often the same: feeling sad, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, loss of energy, feeling worthless, and difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.


CBD and Depression

While human neurochemistry plays a vital role, it is commonly debated that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Rather, Psychology Today argues, “regarding depression as ‘just’ a chemical imbalance wildy misconstrues the disorder.” Scientists agree that levels of neurotransmitters (i.e chemicals in our brains) are reduced during depression, but this reduction is a symptom of depression rather than a cause.

Two of the neurotransmitters affected during depression are serotonin and dopamine. As previously mentioned, it is common for someone experiencing a bout of depression to feel sad, have a lack of interest in activities, have difficulties sleeping, and loss of energy. Because levels of serotonin and dopamine are affected by things like diet, exercise, mental state, and stress levels, research supports the idea that some depressed people have reduced serotonin and dopamine transmission. This is where the use of CBD products can come into play.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 60+ naturally occurring compounds found in all cannabis plants. In the human body, endocannabinoids are the molecules that act as chemical messengers in the “endocannabinoid system,” the parts of our nervous system containing cannabinoid cell receptors which respond to cannabinoids and tell the body to do certain things. The human body naturally produces its own cannabinoids (endogenous or endocannabinoids) with the help of fatty acids found in foods such as nuts, seeds and fish, but the same receptors bind to the compounds found in cannabis.

Unlike THC, the cannabinoid associated with causing marijuana’s “high effect,” CBD has a different, more indirect interaction with these cell receptors. At the same time, CBD has the unique ability to directly interact with other cell receptors, including serotonin and dopamine receptors. Thus, when ingested, CBD influences brain activity and one byproduct is the release of serotonin and dopamine throughout the body.


CBD's Effect on Depression

Two recent studies uncovered these benefits of CBD oil with symptoms of depression. In one study, conducted in 2011 while studying the modulation of the serotonin system through endocannabinoid signaling, researchers found “ample evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.” Thus it can be assumed that, during depression, plant cannabinoids such as CBD have the ability to regulate one’s response to stressful situations.

Additionally, Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and King’s College in London observed that, at high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-anxiety effect.

While there are many testimonials and independent studies that give those suffering with depression hope for a natural alternative, more research needs to be conducted before it should be considered as an alternative to prescription medication. Any changes to treatment should always be made with the advice of a medical professional.


Now that we’ve explored the science of CBD and depression, I want to share my personal experience with this amazing supplement.

A year ago, I walked away from a successful real-estate career because I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. The stars aligned when I was introduced to the founders of The CBDistillery who gave me the opportunity to learn about CBD and the potential benefits of non-psychoactive cannabis products.

I quickly learned through reading customer testimonials and one-on-one conversations about the incredible impact CBD is having on thousands of lives. I wake up now on a daily basis knowing that our efforts are doing good for millions of people.

Like our friends at Ministry of Hemp, we hope that you’ll discover the potential of CBD firsthand, and become as passionate about this beneficial supplement as we are.




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Indiana Attorney General Declares CBD Illegal: What Happens Now?

CBD oil could soon become harder to access in Indiana. To put it mildly, we were disappointed when Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill issued an opinion on November 21 suggesting CBD…

CBD oil could soon become harder to access in Indiana.

To put it mildly, we were disappointed when Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill issued an opinion on November 21 suggesting CBD oil is illegal for most state residents to use. Although his words don’t carry the force of law, the statement could lead to more crackdowns on CBD vendors and leaves consumers under a haze of legal uncertainty.

In September, we wrote about how an Indiana state law meant to improve access to CBD for epilepsy sufferers actually led to raids on shops selling CBD oil. But things were looking up after police realized they couldn’t determine the supplement’s actual legal status, and products were back on the shelves in many shops.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is an extract made from industrial hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant. But unlike psychoactive cannabis, or marijuana, it doesn’t cause people to feel high. In fact, thousands of people have found it offers benefits to their health — for example, by reducing the inflammation of arthritis — while leaving them clear-headed enough to perform their usual, everyday tasks.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests CBD oil is safe, causes few side effects, and offers numerous benefits. Many experts insist CBD is legal to use under current U.S. law, but Hill’s opinion can only serve to renew the uncertainty over a supplement that we believe should be available to all.



“There is no doubt, as a matter of legal interpretation, that products or substances marketed generally for human consumption or ingestion, and containing cannabidiol, remain unlawful in Indiana as well as under federal law,” Hill wrote in his advisory opinion earlier this month.

In actuality, however, there is considerable doubt, with many insisting that CBD should be and may already be completely legal.

One of the most remarkable discoveries is that CBD seems to help some people with epilepsy, even if their epilepsy has proven difficult to treat in other ways. Like a growing number of states, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law in April intended to make it easier for epilepsy sufferers to access CBD.

But, after the law passed, state excise police began raiding dozens of grocery stores and shops in the state, confiscating some 3,000 products according to an investigation published in September by the Indianapolis Star. Legislators, store owners and CBD users all objected to this seemingly unintended consequence of the new law, and the police stopped their raids. CBD products returned to Indiana stores. But, the attorney general also promised to weigh in, which brings us to his new, controversial statement.


cbd illegal indiana

For decades, industrial hemp was completely illegal in the United States, just like all forms of the cannabis plant. Then, in 2014, Obama signed a Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp for research purposes, allowing each state to set the rules for hemp research within their borders. Follow up legislation banned the federal government from wasting resources prosecuting anyone participating in this program.

“This may be the most ridiculous thing Indiana has ever done” – Jon Webb

Although the DEA has threatened to crack down on CBD at times, hemp advocates and many legal experts insist that the 2014 Farm Bill legalized the sale of hemp products (including CBD) created under these research programs and that other legal precedents protect imported hemp goods. The CBD industry has repeatedly promised to fight any future crackdowns on its products in court.

It’s very important to note that, despite the disagreement over CBD’s legality, no individual CBD users have been put in legal jeopardy. Even the attorney general hasn’t suggested that individual CBD users should be subject to arrest, but rather that “any individual possessing a substance containing cannabidiol – or anything packaged as such – in plain view of a law enforcement officer is subject to having that property seized.”

Despite this, fear and uncertainty are inevitable. It will ultimately be up to individual law enforcement agencies (and officers) to decide how to interpret and enforce the law, and how to react to the Hill’s words.  




Understandably, Indiana residents quickly objected to the opinion, both online and in the media. Jon Webb, a columnist for the Indiana Courier & Press called the attorney general’s decision “nonsensical.”

“This may be the most ridiculous thing Indiana has ever done,” Webb wrote.

One of Webb’s major objections is that CBD is likely already legal in the state, because the General Assembly previously legalized all industrial hemp products, separating them from psychoactive cannabis. According to Webb, this legal change, similar to a statewide version of the 2014 Farm Bill, is what led the state police to halt their raids.

Even worse, when lawmakers created the epilepsy-specific CBD law, they neglected to create any mechanism for patients to obtain the supplement, meaning that epilepsy sufferers have to buy their CBD from the same stores as everyone else — stores that now could be under increased police threat thanks to the attorney general. Webb wrote:

“To recap: The Indiana State Police says CBD is legal. The attorney general says it’s illegal – unless you’re included on a registry that would you allow to buy it, even though you can’t buy it because the attorney general says it’s illegal.

Everybody got that?”

Although we are not lawyers or legal experts, we also believe CBD should be legal in Indiana (and everywhere else, too). Fortunately, no one in law enforcement is proposing a crackdown on CBD users, but it’s clear that clarification will be needed from both state and federal legislators to keep everyone safe from police overreach.

At the time this article was written, nearly 7,000 people had signed a petition asking Indiana to fully legalize CBD. While petitions can sometimes help, we encourage Indiana residents to reach out directly to their legislators for the most impact. Outside of Indiana, we also recommend contacting your Senators and Representatives and asking them to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a bill that would completely legalize industrial hemp nationwide.

Unfortunately, until bills like this pass, these kinds of legal disputes over CBD will continue to appear. Thanks to changing attitudes about hemp, however, the good news is we believe it’s only a matter of time before this beneficial plant is fully legal from coast to coast.




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Why We Should Look Towards Europe Concerning Hemp and CBD

The Future is bright for Hemp in Europe Thanks to its historical and cultural background, Europe has unique views on hemp, CBD and marijuana. We have written this article to give…

The Future is bright for Hemp in Europe

Thanks to its historical and cultural background, Europe has unique views on hemp, CBD and marijuana. We have written this article to give you a look at how Europe uses hemp and how CBD-related products are already a booming market. We’ve tried to give you a broad overview but there’s a lot to cover.  

At HO KARAN, we are launching a skincare range of products made with hempseed oil. We are located in Nantes, a startup-friendly city on the West of France. We also have an office in Paris, at Station F,  “the world’s biggest startup campus.” European hemp laws and culture affect us both negatively and positively.

hemp in europe

On the dark side, CBD and other related substances are misunderstood and often illegal. For instance in France, where most of the industrial hemp is grown, CBD is very difficult to produce, sell, and consume. We will see later why this happens.

On the bright side, industrial hemp is accepted by the public and legal in most of the countries in Europe. In the meantime, a community of companies, activists, and individuals have gathered together because of the unfair demonization of hemp. They work hard to make hemp-related products helpful and accessible to everyone.


The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction starts with a general statement: “In the European Union, it is legal to cultivate and supply cannabis plants for hemp fibre if they have low levels of THC.”

Thanks to this law, applicable for every Member State of the European Union, industrial hemp is grown in a lot of countries. France is the leader. Surprisingly, the tiny country of Estonia comes second.

While European enthusiasm for hemp is tangible, some legal obstacles persist if you dive deeper in the subject. The European Union is a young institution and so is its hemp industry. For these reasons, there is a legal vacuum on CBD. The European regulation does not control CBD by any means, so all member states have different laws concerning growing, producing, selling, or importing products with CBD and/or THC.

leading hemp growers in Europe

That is why CBD oils are almost always produced from industrial hemp. Most member states only allow selling products with extremely low levels of THC, the cannabinoid which makes people feel high. Their laws consider that CBD oils which have a higher percentage of THC are narcotics.

Differences in laws make a complex patchwork of regulations which does not encourage research and development. Still, a lot of companies are fighting for the European Union to legalize CBD in all member states. They are already exploring CBD-related products because they see its amazing potential for the well-being of its customers. This current legal vacuum, combined to the work of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and its members, means we can soon expect a positive shift in EU regulations.


In Europe, the central organization of hemp advocacy is the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). It was officially created in 2005 after several years of informal association. The EIHA mission mostly consists of encouraging the development of the hemp industry, representing the industry to the EU, and the sharing of information in order to educate both lawmakers and regular people alike.

A thousand associations, national organizations, companies, and individuals involved in the hemp industry joined it because of its significant power of advocacy. These members come from all European countries and work in very different hemp sub-industries: fibers, food/animal feed, hemp shivs, pharmaceuticals, consulting, research.


hemp event in europe

Another key actor is CannaTech, a global event which took place in London this year. We had the chance to be there on October 25 and saw the exploding European and global hemp market. Its motto, “Accelerate Cannabis Innovation,” tells it all. Investors, brands, and speakers came from all continents to show and tell about their innovations. The future of hemp and CBD felt brighter than ever.

Europe is already a fertile ground for hemp and its growing fast thanks to the increasing consumption of other hemp-based products (food, clothes, hempcrete, etc.). In 2016, 33,000 hectares of hemp were cultivated on the continent, which equals about 81,500 acres. In the same year, the United States grew 9,650 acres.


hemp fields in europe


In Europe, innovation is everywhere and affects every CBD-related industry.

Harmony Hemp is one of these activist-like companies. Based in Barcelona, it sells CBD vape juices, pure CBD, and vape pens. It focuses a lot on the quality of its products and is lobbying the government to ensure only safe CBD products are sold in Europe. Standards need to be established to ensure that only quality CBD products reach the market.

Harmony Hemp has studied cannabinoids since 2008 and wants to show to the world the powers of CBD. That is why it focuses on explaining how to use it safely and efficiently. Therefore, it is a reliable source of information.



Another interesting thing takes place in Slovenia. The Australian pharmaceutical group MGC Pharmaceuticals started to harvest cannabis there. Why is that? Because it also started a cosmetic brand based in Slovenia: MGC Derma. It focuses a lot on R&D and the potential benefits of CBD on the skin. Like Harmony Hemp, it is a trustful source of information because it is not trying to profit from the consumers’ lack of knowledge. It tries to educate them on what could solve their skin disorders.

In France, HO KARAN follows the same path. We already sells skin care products made with hemp seed oil. The benefits of our products are their high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins (A, B1, B3, E, …), proteins, minerals, omega 3 and 6 (essential fatty acids). All of that make our oil, cream, shower gel and soap very moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and strengthening. In the future, HO KARAN hopes to explore deeper into CBD or other molecules like terpenoids, for its benefits on damaged skin.


gamme ho karan

Companies exploring CBD abound in Europe. The industry is watching the results of recent meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva (Switzerland). The topic of the meeting was the international classification of drugs, including CBD.

There, pharmaceuticals lobbyists and decision-makers who are against cannabis faced off against an experienced guest: Raul Elizalde. He is the first CEO of a cannabis company listed in the American stock exchange: HEMPMEDS. He has a vast expertise on CBD products and was accompanied by several doctors. Together, they made studies in Mexico concerning the benefits of CBD. He held a lot of influence over the meeting by showing this up-to-date research.



schema geoff

Hopefully, with research and information towards CBD always increasing, a broader public is aware of the benefits of CBD. A virtuous cycle is on its way and we hope this event will accelerate it:

On the 29th of March 2017, the EIHA said in a press release: 

“Today, 100,000s of citizens already benefit from CBD, dozens of companies show double-digit growth and increasing demand.”

Now you have an overview of what is going on in Europe concerning hemp and CBD oil. The topic is so vast that we could not cover it all. Our team of experts will be glad to answer your questions. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] if you have any questions. Take note that you can only pre-order our products on Kickstarter before the 23rd of November.




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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What the United States can learn from Hemp Legalization in Canada

“My best advice is walk before you run.” When it comes to the agricultural hemp, Shaun Crew knows more than most about what it takes to be successful. The president…

“My best advice is walk before you run.”

When it comes to the agricultural hemp, Shaun Crew knows more than most about what it takes to be successful. The president and founder of Hemp Oil Canada, he’s been in the hemp business longer than nearly anyone in his country and he’s seen the many hurdles the industry had to overcome since growing returned to Canada.
Hemp oil canada

While industrial hemp returned to the United States on limited terms in 2014, all Canadians have been allowed to grow hemp since 1998, though the plant remains more restricted than other crops. Today, about 100,000 acres of hemp are grown annually in Canada according to experts we interviewed, and hemp is a well-established industry with government support.

Meanwhile, only about 23,000 acres of hemp were grown in the U.S. in 2017, according to a report by Vote Hemp, and the industry struggles with unclear regulations and occasional threats from government agencies and law enforcement.

Both Canada and the U.S. are at a crossroads when it comes to the cannabis plant. Currently, Congress is considering the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act,” which would allow almost anyone to grow agricultural hemp in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Canada will legalize recreational use of psychoactive cannabis next year, a momentous occasion for those who’d like to see full legalization across North America or even beyond. With hemp legalization on the horizon in the U.S., and even recreational cannabis spreading from state to state, we wondered what our country could learn from Canada, and asked experts from both countries for their thoughts.


hemp canada

Crew is cautious about growing hemp in a new market, because he saw the struggles that the industry underwent during its early days. Crew founded Hemp Oil Canada in 1998, very soon after hemp was legalized but, almost two decades later, few other companies remain from that time. Many farmers, entrepreneurs, and innovators had high hopes for hemp back then, and most of those efforts failed due to a lack of infrastructure and the lack of anywhere to market their wares.

“When I got involved with this we had zero market, zero products and zero processes to make those products,” Crew recalled. “We had to basically invent everything right from the get go.”

Geoff Whaling, chairman of the U.S.-based National Hemp Association, agreed with Crew’s assessment. “They had a lot of literal growing pains in the first years.”

As a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Canada, Whaling is in a unique position to guide hemp growth in the U.S. based on the lessons learned to our north. “We are hoping to avoid those challenges as we move forward here in the United States.”

Excited by a new crop and its potential to revive Canadian agriculture, many farmers rushed into hemp growing without a buyer lined up in advance, only to end up with a warehouse full of hemp seeds.

“When I got involved with this we had zero market, zero products and zero processes to make those products. We had to basically invent everything right from the get go.” – Shaun Crew

“A lot of those guys end up sitting on that seed for one or two years and then at that point it really doesn’t have a lot of value,” Crew explained.

Whaling told us, “After year 3, the industry absolutely collapsed in Canada because nobody knew what hemp was.”

Not only was the infrastructure lacking, but hemp still faced a lingering stigma thanks to its association with psychoactive cannabis and the war on drugs. Adding to the stigma, hemp growing is overseen by Health Canada, the government agency in charge of controlled substances, unlike other crops which fall under the jurisdiction of Agrifood Canada. In other words, hemp was and is still treated like a drug rather than a normal plant.


Over time, however, Health Canada eased its initially onerous restrictions and became increasingly supportive of adapting its policies to the needs of hemp growers. Law enforcement and government officials alike saw that hemp growing didn’t lead to any increase in crime or other issues for the communities where it was grown, processed and consumed. And, as the hemp industry slowly stabilized, anyone could see how it was a benefit to the economy.

Today, Canada is one of the top exporters of hemp foods to the U.S., especially hemp seed products. Hemp Oil Canada remains one of the major players in the market and, in late 2015, the company merged with Manitoba Harvest, the other major powerhouse, though the two companies maintain separate corporate structures. Crew estimates hemp foods generate at least $150 million in annual profits in Canada.

One of the biggest keys to success is vertical integration. Companies like Hemp Oil Canada control every stage of the growing process, from forming contracts with the growers right up until the hemp foods reach the market. Under this system, farmers know that they have a built in market for their crops, and hemp food manufacturers ensure they get exactly what they need from the farms.

hemp farming in canada

To a much lesser extent, Canadian hemp is also used for textiles or building materials. One market that remains largely untapped is CBD oil, the nutritional supplement that’s grown extremely popular in the U.S. for its healing potential. Although CBD is available through Canada’s medical marijuana program, hemp growers and vendors are banned by law and Health Canada regulations from using the flower or leaves of the plant, or from refining hemp into CBD.

Most hemp grown for seed, and therefore the bulk of the hemp grown in Canada, is grown in Western provinces but, in the east, Quebec is making up for it by becoming a leader of hemp research. “Innovation is very important here and the government is supportive of the hemp industry.”

That’s according to Darko Popovic, one of the founders of Chanvre Quebec (“Hemp Quebec”). Popovic and his friends, fellow hemp enthusiasts, created Chanvre Quebec to promote French-language information about the crop and promote hemp entrepreneurs from their province.

Popovic credits institutions of learning as key advocates for hemp legalization; research into hemp in Canada began years before full legalization. “It was actually the universities that made it happen, in fact, and still today we’re doing a lot of research.”


Another company to benefit from relatively early support for hemp in Canada early is Valleybio, a “Registered Seed Establishment” providing legal hemp seeds to growers throughout Ontario.

Founder Reuben Stone grew his first hemp crop in 2009, then later his company became a major supplier of hemp seed in the province after Stone stepped up to replace the failing Ontario Hemp Alliance. Valleybio also partners with another seed cleaning company, and a Quebec hemp breeder in a hemp genetics research and marketing partnership called “Uniseeds.”

Since 2014, “we’ve been doing all the hemp seed processing in Eastern Canada,” explained Keanan Stone, Valleybio’s General Manager.


In Canada, hemp farmers are not allowed to save seeds from their crop, but are required to purchase “clean” seed from a registered seed establishment like Valleybio each year. While this may seem restrictive, Stone told us that it can actually protect farmers from government interference in their crops.

In the U.S., hemp crops are tested for their THC levels after harvest. THC is the chemical in cannabis which can make people “feel high,” and legally levels in industrial hemp must be 0.3 percent or less. Even though THC levels are still far too low to cause any noticeable effect on consumers, U.S. hemp crops must be burned if they test even 0.1 percent over the legal limits.

Health Canada used to enforce similar policies, but decades of reliable seeds provided by seed cleaners changed their tune. “No THC testing has to be done anymore on commercial production so as long as you have purchased certified seed,” Stone said.

Stone said while she feels like Canadian hemp growers have been “fortunate” in these gradual changes, she still hopes hemp is fully reclassified in the future:

“We have basically 20 years of really good history of growing industrial hemp as a field crop, so to have Health Canada and the Federal Government move industrial hemp out of the jurisdiction of Health Canada and the Controlled Substances Act and move it over into agriculture and Agrifood Canada, so it can be treated as a regular food crop, a grain crop, would be the ideal situation.”


Medical marijuana has been available under a very successful federal program in Canada since 2001, but starting in summer 2018, psychoactive cannabis will also be available nationwide for recreational use. Crew told us he’s proud that Canada is leading the way to cannabis legalization, but concerned about its uncertain effect on the hemp industry. Right now, it’s still unclear how the law will be implemented both on a national and a province-by-province level.

“Come next July we’ll find what that regulation is going to look like, and it’ll replace the industrial hemp regulation which we’ve operated under for the last 19 years,” he said.

While stakeholders like Crew have reached out to government officials for reassurance, he is frustrated that they still aren’t sure how legalization will affect their industry. Still, he remains positive about the law, foreseeing many potential benefits for Canada, including a boost to scientific research into cannabis. He added:

“We’ve had a medical marijuana program in this country for a couple decades now and it’s just growing all the time and it’s not creating other problems for either law enforcement or politicians. So it’s a great move and I’m happy to see that Canada’s going to hopefully take the lead in this.”


Citing Canada as an example, Whaling told us the slow pace of hemp legalization in the U.S. has had some benefits by forcing the industry to grow at a measured pace. He believes more research is needed into the efficient use of hemp, and better tools developed for commercial harvesting, before it can become a truly revolutionary crop for American farms.

“Just using it for seed and oil pressed from the seed doesn’t create an industry,” he said. While Canada is growing an impressive 100,000 acres of hemp, he noted by way of comparison that the country grows over 7 million acres of soybeans each year.

Crew, of course, agrees. “Don’t be throwing millions of dollars at it at once. Unless you have a market to sell those products into, you’ve got to be careful.”

He added, “Will it save the family farm? I doubt it, but everything helps a little bit.”

While Canada is leading the way into cannabis legalization, that process is also slowly underway in the U.S., with about 29 states offering legal marijuana in some form. But as that process continues, we’ll need to be careful not to harm the growing industrial hemp industry either.

As Popovic joked at the end of our interview, “You can learn from our mistakes instead of making your own mistakes.”




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Here’s 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Industrial Hemp

Hemp seeds are small, but these small, protein-packed kernels pack a long history. While hemp is only legal under limited conditions in the U.S. (full legalization is just a matter of…

Hemp seeds are small, but these small, protein-packed kernels pack a long history.

While hemp is only legal under limited conditions in the U.S. (full legalization is just a matter of time), hemp could be the miracle crop that saves the economy and the planet itself. Hemp can play a pivotal role in just about every industry; it can provide food, fuel, clothes, cars, and even paper. Already, you can buy dozens of products made from hemp.

Here are eight virtually unknown facts you need to know about hemp. We recommend you read all about it while enjoying a bowl of oatmeal sprinkled liberally with hemp hearts.


On its own, hemp seed contains the human daily requirement for protein. It is the healthiest meat alternatives and can prevent protein-energy malnutrition, the most deadly form of hunger afflicting world populations. Hemp seeds are high in protein and calories, making it a potential staple for starving countries. It provides essential amino acids, while developing and maintaining muscles.

facts about hempBecause hemp seeds are an amino- and vitamin-rich protein, they are among the most nutritionally dense foods on earth. They are edible as is or can be roasted or shelled and eaten as “hemp hearts.” They can be ground into flour, pressed into oil, or sprinkled over other foods like salads or yogurt.

You can buy hemp milk at your local supermarket, or if it does not stock it, you can make your own by throwing two cups of water into a blender with half a cup of hemp seeds. Blend and sweeten to taste.


Because people can use hemp for just about everything, including paper, it can become a profitable cash crop to replace the need for slower growing trees. Eliminating the need to cut down forests is the best way to protect them, and if countries cultivate hemp, they can use it to make paper and most other products made from wood. It can also speed the replacement rate of trees already cut down.

By being a source material for paper and even building materials, hemp can literally save the world’s forests, which is far wiser for earth and her inhabitants. A single acre of hemp can produce the same amount of paper a year as four acres of trees.


The United States Federal Government only made hemp illegal in the 1950s. In the previous decade, during World War II, the U.S. Department of Agriculture filmed a thirteen-minute video to promote the cultivation of hemp throughout the United States. Called the “Hemp for Victory” campaign, it was necessary for the country to grow its own hemp, as Japan had cut off its supply.

Hemp is literally the crop that saved the war. It made many vital products needed by the military, from sails for ships to ropes. Even more interestingly, the very word “canvas” itself has its origins in the world “cannabis,” as the North American Industrial Hemp Council explains at length.


Hemp can clean the atmosphere and protect the environment and even reversing damage done to it. Global warming is the result of high levels of carbon dioxide, or CO2. Hemp consumes four times as much CO2 as trees do, and its short 12- to 14-week growing cycle makes it a highly sustainable crop that effectively fights global warming.

hemp farmsHemp also removes toxins and radioactive chemicals from the soil! Scientists planted it at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster: They discovered hemp engaging in phytoremediation better than any other plants in the area, which is a process of remediating the soil by eliminating chemicals from it.


It is true, yes. Marijuana and hemp seeds originate from cannabis plant, but hemp and marijuana are not the same. Agricultural hemp contains almost no tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes you to get high. That means you’ll never have to worry about feeling weird at work after you enjoy hemp seeds for breakfast.

Even smoking hemp will likely just give you a headache. However, another cannabinoid, cannabidiol (or CBD), can be found in hemp and science suggests that CBD oil, a nutritional supplement extracted from hemp, has numerous potential health benefits. Many users report that CBD helps them feel better with few side effects.


Up until the 1820s, when cotton monopolized industries, more than 80 percent of all clothing, fabrics, and textiles were hemp. It was huge business. Hemp was the main medium used to make ropes, paper, and even construction materials. Today, only a handful of virtually unknown companies produce hemp clothing commercially. But hemp is durable and comfortable, and its growing appeal to the fashion industry is helping promote legalization.

Hemp can even make cars. Henry Ford may have constructed a car out of hemp, soybean, and plastics. It was lighter than steel, yet able to withstand ten times the impact without a single dent. More recently, Bruce Dietzen built an experimental sports car from hemp.

Today, hemp is increasingly popular for building homes. Hempcrete walls are fire-resistant, bug-free, rot-free, and even mold-free, and they are 100 percent biodegradable, as well.


Hemp seeds offer complete nutrition, even better than flax or chia. They contain high levels of vitamins A, B, D, and E, as well as vital minerals, proteins, and fatty acids. In fact, hemp seeds are a super food, Hemp has powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making it a medical and scientific wonder too.

If that is not convincing enough, hemp seeds also contain a nutrient found in breast milk, called gamma linolenic acid, or GLA. High levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids make hemp oil healthier than most vegetable oils on the market too.


Hemp stalks provide an excellent source of fibrous material for making composite panels of all shapes, sizes, and functions, from doors to floors, car parts, window frames, and everything between. It acts as a reinforcement for thermoplastics, such as polypropylene. It is ideally suited for making a wide array of plastic consumer products, and it is customizable to meet various systems and specifications.

hemp can replace Plastic bottlesHemp is cheap to produce and an ideal replacement for glass fiber. It is easier to mold and weighs less than most other materials for composite paneling. It is recyclable and there is a consistent supply of quality hemp available already, although full legalization will help promote more U.S.-based hemp growing and bring costs down.


The benefits of hemp are virtually endless.

This “billion dollar crop” offers great economic opportunity if we cultivate it on a large-scale once again. We might even export surplus for industry in developing countries. The jobs it can create can have a significant impact on reducing unemployment and related crimes, and the medical value of hemp-derivatives is rapidly changing public perceptions about this plant while simultaneously improving people’s health.

Whether you wear it, turn it into paper, or eat it, we hope this article has convinced you to give hemp a try. And if you’re already a hemp fan, share these facts about hemp with your friends and family and invite them to see how hemp can make their lives better, too.




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Media Spreads Bogus Claims About CBD Candy On Halloween

There’s No CBD In Your Kid’s Trick Or Treat Bag. Media Spreads Misinformation About CBD This Halloween   This Halloween season, some members of the media seem intent on playing…

There’s No CBD In Your Kid’s Trick Or Treat Bag. Media Spreads Misinformation About CBD This Halloween


cbd candy halloween

This Halloween season, some members of the media seem intent on playing a cruel trick on CBD oil users and parents.

Even after decades of education and growing awareness about the benefits and safety of hemp and cannabis, law enforcement is as eager as ever to spread fear and misinformation and, in some cases, journalists are just as eager to repeat those lies to the public.

While we like to keep things positive here at Ministry of Hemp, and usually prefer to focus on the countless benefits of this miracle crop, sometimes we have to take time to debunk untruths as well.

That’s why we want to reassure parents that CBD won’t be poisoning their kids this Halloween: we don’t believe anyone is putting CBD edibles in your kid’s treat bag.



media spreads false claims on cbd candy

Headline from WFLA on 10/23/2017

“Authorities concerned about candy that could get kids high!” declares a particularly over-the-top October 20 headline from WRAL in North Carolina

Maybe you’ve seen a story like this one in your local paper, or seen a friend share something similar on social media. Some of these articles are concerned with the dangers of children getting ahold of edibles containing psychoactive cannabis or marijuana, agricultural hemp’s close cousin which does make you feel “high.” Thanks to the spread of cannabis legalization, edible treats containing marijuana are available legally in many states.

What stood out to us about this particular story, however, was that it’s focused on gummy candies infused with CBD oil, a popular supplement made from agricultural hemp which does not make you high. In fact, thousands of people have sought out this nutritional supplement for that very reason: CBD can offer numerous healing benefits, from easing anxiety to reducing inflammation, all while causing very few side effects.

While both CBD and marijuana edibles should always be stored out of reach of children, it seemed strange that the media would focus on the form of cannabis that causes relatively little change in the mental state of its users. Then again, since CBD is legal for consumers to buy in all of the U.S., but psychoactive cannabis is still illegal in North Carolina, it would be hard to stir up fear about pot edibles there. And fear means more clicks, and more ad dollars flowing to increasingly cash strapped publishers and TV stations.


The WRAL story is just one of several like it in the news right now, but we’ll highlight a few of the most egregious errors in it anyway, in the hopes of educating our readers and easing any fears they may still have about the safety of hemp and CBD.

  • CBD won’t make you high. As stated above, CBD doesn’t make people feel high, unlike THC, the related cannabinoid chemical found in marijuana. In fact, WRAL were forced to post a correction after incorrectly implying that Koi CBD Candies, a particular brand of CBD-infused gummy, might contain THC. It does not.
  • CBD is safe in any form. Numerous studies have shown that CBD is safe for humans to consume and that it would be almost impossible to overdose on it. Even psychoactive cannabis is considered safer than alcohol and tobacco, two substances that kids unfortunately get their hands on all too frequently. Our homes are also full of dangerous substances that can be harmful if ingested. WRAL chose to focus on CBD gummies for their story, but even gummy vitamins can be toxic if taken in high doses, especially by kids.
  • CBD is too expensive to give out randomly to kids. WRAL admits that local police have never found CBD on any school campus, but still tries to suggest that someone might accidentally or maliciously give out a CBD candy at Halloween. But anyone spending $30 for a bag of 20 gummies (the cost of the brand used in this story) isn’t going to leave them anywhere kids could find them. By comparison, a 5 pound bag of normal gummy bears costs $10 on Amazon. We’re regular CBD users ourselves, so obviously we think it’s more than worth the cost, but no one in their right mind is letting such a beneficial and valuable substance go to waste or fall into the wrong hands.
  • Some children actually do take CBD. Again, we’d never recommend giving CBD to a kid without the advice of a medical professional, but a growing number of children use CBD oil to treat serious medical conditions, particularly epilepsy. For some of these children, CBD has transformed their lives, keeping their seizures at bay and allowing them to interact with the world in ways that were formerly impossible. Unfortunately, much of the medical establishment refuses to accept the evidence that CBD and cannabis can help some otherwise untreatable cases of epilepsy, in part because of the intense stigma around these substances.



NY Daily article on cbd candy halloween

Article from NY Daily News on 10/24/2017

The days of “Reefer Madness” aren’t far gone.

The WRAL story about CBD, and similar articles in other outlets, are proof that the stigma around cannabis, one of the safest substances on earth, is still alive and well. Additionally, it’s evidence that law enforcement officers are just as invested as ever in keeping this baseless fear around, despite the thousands of people imprisoned and countless lives ruined because of the war on this miraculous plant.

WRAL’s reporters interviewed Jason Locklear, an agent at North Carolina’s Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement, who ominously declared that shops in the region were selling out of CBD-laced lollipops. Notably, not a single police officer interviewed had any proof that these lollipops were ending up in kids’ hands, on Halloween or any other day.

That didn’t stop Locklear from declaring, “Anybody in the school system should be alarmed. Parents should be alarmed.”

Agent Locklear even suggests employers should be concerned about whether their workers are using CBD to relax or ease their aches and pains!  

If you know about the history of why cannabis and hemp are illegal, then this kind of statement is disappointing, but not surprising. One major reason cannabis remains illegal is that police and prison guards’ unions lobby against legalization because the war on drugs is extremely profitable for law enforcement. As more states legalize recreational or medicinal cannabis, and people everywhere discover the benefits of CBD, these unscrupulous cops see their profits slipping away!

If you want to be scared this Halloween, we suggest going the traditional route: put on a scary movie. We’re partial to classics like “The Haunting” or “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” though of course these films aren’t safe for kids either.

Meanwhile, we look forward to the day when cannabis is legal in all its forms, and journalists need to look elsewhere to generate thrills and chills.




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Science Explains How CBD Oil Could Help Arthritis

Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States. With almost half of adults 65 years and older experiencing some form of this painful disorder, it’s a…

Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States.

With almost half of adults 65 years and older experiencing some form of this painful disorder, it’s a condition many of us will experience if we live long enough. In all, the Arthritis Foundation, which compiled these facts on arthritis sufferers in the U.S., estimates that 50 million adults, and even 1 in 250 children, suffer from arthritis.

At Ministry of Hemp, we’re always curious if hemp, and especially CBD oil, can improve people’s quality of life. Previously, we’ve looked at how hemp can help the elderly live less stressful lives. We’ve also looked at whether cannabidiol (CBD) can help other medical conditions like chronic pain and epilepsy. Since arthritis is so common, we thought it deserved a closer look.


cbd for arthritis

CBD is a cannabinoid, meaning it’s a chemical relative of THC, the main active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis (also known as “marijuana”), but it doesn’t make people high. Instead, thousands of CBD users report that it eases inflammation and can even improve their mental state, such as anxiety. When we investigated CBD and arthritis, we discovered that hundreds of people are already using it to reduce their pain.

While CBD seems to help many people, it’s not a miracle cure, and it appears most people find CBD helpful in conjunction with a broad arthritis treatment plan, which can include exercise, changes to diet and prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs. Of course, this treatment plan should be guided by a medical professional.  

As always in these articles, we’ll look at what science and medical professionals are saying about using CBD for arthritis, along with some reports from everyday CBD consumers.

‘Potent Anti-arthritic Effect’: Science Shows Cbd Could Slow Progression Of Arthritis

Unfortunately, while the safety of CBD is overall well established, when it comes to its effectiveness in treating various conditions there have been far too few studies on humans, and we frequently have to rely on animal studies. CBD and arthritis are no exception.

In one especially promising study, published in the June 2000 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, scientists artificially induced arthritic symptoms in mice, then treated them with CBD. Both oral and injected methods of administering CBD orally were equally effective, and CBD seemed to slow the progression of damage to the joints.


hemp cbd oil helps arthritis

“Taken together, these data show that CBD, through its combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, has a potent anti-arthritic effect,” the researchers concluded.

One preliminary study, published January 2006 by the journal Rheumatology, treated humans with arthritis using Sativex, an oral pharmaceutical created from cannabis extracts that includes both THC and CBD. In a fascinating aside, the authors note that cannabis was first proposed as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in 2800 B.C., but has often been dismissed by modern medicine despite anecdotal evidence of its usefulness. As for Sativex, the scientists were cautiously optimistic about its effectiveness with arthritis, though they stressed that “larger, more prolonged studies … are indicated.”

Of course, Sativex is not widely available in the United States, and psychoactive cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and inaccessible to many people in many parts of the country.

Study Shows Hundreds Using Cbd To Ease Arthritis Symptoms

Fortunately, hundreds of people with arthritis report a healing effect from using CBD alone, and CBD is available to almost anyone.

Over a quarter of those surveyed reported using CBD in some form to treat their arthritis, making it one of the top conditions found in the study.”

In August this year, cannabis-research firm Brightfield Group surveyed 2,400 users of HelloMD, a medical cannabis information site. This dramatic study, which we’ve looked at before, found widespread satisfaction with CBD among regular consumers, and even revealed that 42 percent of those surveyed had given up pharmaceutical drugs in favor of CBD.

Over a quarter of those surveyed reported using CBD in some form to treat their arthritis, making it one of the top conditions found in the study. However, only 11 percent of those people reported that CBD was “extremely effective” in treating their arthritis, suggesting that most find it best to combine CBD with more conventional arthritis treatments.

These results were generally echoed by the anecdotal evidence we found among arthritis sufferers who discussed CBD on reddit, both on the “thritis” subreddit devoted to the disorder and the general CBD subreddit: some users found CBD was helpful, while others had mixed results. Some redditors reported preferring high-CBD strains of psychoactive cannabis that can be purchased in states with legal recreational or medicinal cannabis, while many reported positive effects from CBD alone. Some redditors said they prefer vaping CBD during flare ups, as well.

One redditor named Heph333 said CBD combined with dietary changes had transformed their life. “Before, I was walking with a cane and two knee braces. Now I’m able to be physically active again.”

Heph333 concluded: “With the way I feel now compared to how I used to feel, I don’t dare go back. That includes making sure I never run out of CBD.”

Topical Versus Oral Use Of Cbd For Arthritis: Does It Matter?

Many people take CBD orally as a tincture, in capsules, or even as a CBD gummies. On the other hand, topical CBD is especially popular for treating inflammation, and joint pains caused by conditions like arthritis, as we’ve noted before here at Ministry of Hemp.

Researchers used a topical form in one 2016 study of artificially-induced arthritis in rats, published in the European Journal of Pain. Not only did CBD ease rats’ symptoms, but applying it to the skin also meant there were more consistent levels of CBD in the blood compared with oral administration, because none was metabolized by the liver.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. reported in April 2016 that, because topical CBD can bind directly to endocannabinoid receptors in the skin, it skips the bloodstream and therefore causes even fewer side effects than normal.

As always, we recommend that arthritis sufferers experiment with all the forms of CBD to find out what helps most.

Beyond CBD & Arthritis: More Research Needed To Unlock CBD’s Full Potential

use cbd for arthritis

From arthritis to schizophrenia, the more we learn about CBD the more we are in awe of its almost miraculous benefits. Yet even though scientists have studied this substance for decades (or even centuries!), the same sentiment repeats itself over and over again: more research is needed.

The stigma surrounding cannabis is fading over time, with laws changing nationwide and conservative lawmakers increasingly supportive of industrial hemp and even medical marijuana.

We hope a similar change is happening as more medical professionals embrace hemp’s vast potential. With so many of doctors’ patients already making use of CBD, it seems like it’s only matter of time until researchers give it the attention it deserves.


* This article is part 4 of our series of exploring the potential benefits of CBD oil. Read our other posts:




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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What The Indiana CBD Raids Reveal About Hemp & CBD In America

Indiana State Excise Police recently confiscated thousands of products containing CBD oil from around the state, only to back down when they realized they’d overstepped their legal boundaries. In a…

Indiana State Excise Police recently confiscated thousands of products containing CBD oil from around the state, only to back down when they realized they’d overstepped their legal boundaries.

In a series of raids that took place over five weeks in May and June 2017, state police took CBD supplements from 57 stores across the state, according to a Sept. 13 investigation by The Indianapolis Star. The attack on CBD appears to be an unintended consequence of a law that was meant to improve access to CBD for people with epilepsy. Now, the state has been forced to admit that CBD is legal in Indiana.


Indiana CBD Raids

While science has shown that CBD is extremely effective for many with epilepsy, thousands of consumers seek out this non-psychoactive extract of industrial hemp to help with numerous ailments. Studies suggest that CBD can benefit conditions ranging from insomnia to schizophrenia, and some people are giving up other drugs in favor of CBD.

Unfortunately, this healing extract still remains in a legal gray area according to some government agencies and, as a result, some vendors have come under pressure. The CBD raids in Indiana are further evidence that federal action is needed to resolve CBD’s legal status, once and for all. In this article, we’ll dig deeper into what happened in Indiana, and look at what the future might bring for the state and the nation.


“It’s ridiculous. So many people were benefiting from it,” an anonymous worker at a Fresh Thyme grocery store told Bob Segall, senior investigative reporter at WTHR after excise police seized thousands of dollars in CBD products from the chain’s stores on June 14.


Thyme Farmers Market got raided for CBD

The raids ended later that month, after the confiscations triggered “triggered outrage and confusion” among state residents, and Segall reported that CBD was back for sale at Fresh Thyme a month later.

To understand what happened, we have to examine the legal status of hemp and CBD in the United States. After decades of total prohibition on all forms of cannabis, the 2014 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp for research purposes, including market research (sales of hemp and CBD products). Each state was allowed to determine how to implement this hemp research and, to date, 33 states have implemented some form of hemp growing program.

Despite hemp advocates and many legal experts arguing that CBD and hemp are unambiguously legal under these research programs, the Drug Enforcement Agency continues to threaten the CBD vendors and producers. Law enforcement agencies in some states, seemingly inspired by the DEA, have occasionally also threatened CBD vendors.

While CBD consumers haven’t faced any legal threats, their ability to buy products they depend on for relief can be interrupted.

“It really worked, and then it was just gone,” said Angela Hopkins, an Indiana resident who told Segall she’d been using CBD to treat a broken ankle and wean herself off prescription painkillers. “They told us they were raided and couldn’t sell it anymore.”


In the case of the recent raids in Indiana, state police claimed House Enrolled Act 1148, a law intended to help epilepsy patients access CBD without legal repercussions, allowed them to raid CBD vendors who were selling CBD to customers for any reason other than epilepsy. While some states like Texas have created programs to distribute CBD to people with epilepsy, these provisions were absent from the Indianapolis law because lawmakers were fearful of seeming “pro-cannabis,” according to The Indianapolis Star.  

Rather than clear up legal confusion over CBD, the act seems to have simply highlighted the problem. Jeff Shelton, an owner at Happy Daze, told the Star’s reporters Kaitlin L Lange and Tony Cook that police seemed clueless as they carried out the raids:

“It didn’t seem like they really knew what they were looking for. They weren’t very knowledgeable about CBD at all. They didn’t know what the current laws were.”

When Shelton and other staff objected to the raids, police cited them for “hindering law enforcement.” Cops then expanded their search to include a Daze store owners’ house, ultimately leading to drug possession charges when they discovered a baggy of psychoactive cannabis (which remains illegal under Indiana law).

Brandy Barrett, the mother of a 10-year old boy with severe epilepsy and an advocate for the CBD legislation, told the paper she felt “awful” about the raids. “I even heard from a few people that our legislation had messed it up for everybody, and that obviously wasn’t our intent.”

Lange and Cook reported some lawmakers were also questioning the raids. “It sounds like we’ve got an agency that is out of control,” Rep. Jim Lucas, R- Seymour told them.

Even though the raids have stopped, no one has gotten their confiscated products back. The Star reported that, in all, over 3,500 items were seized from 57 stores. Additionally, the state’s attorney general is reportedly evaluating CBD’s legality, meaning the raids could return at any time.  


Indiana CBD Raid Stats

Stats behind Indiana CBD raids. Source: Indystar


It’s perhaps ironic that CBD oil can be a great stress reliever, given that so many consumers in Indiana faced considerable stress over their ability to purchase CBD oil over the summer. While CBD is available from online vendors, people should be able to purchase it from their local shops just like any other nutritional supplement.

Despite some threats against legal cannabis in all its forms from the DEA and the Department of Justice, it appears opinions about this plant are changing as the stigma toward it fades nationwide. Hemp in particular has bipartisan political support, especially in American “tobacco country”. With bills like the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which would reduce the DEA’s control over hemp, under consideration by Congress, advocates say it’s only a matter of time before industrial hemp, at least, is legalized.

All of us at Ministry of Hemp have personally benefitted from hemp and CBD oil and, like so many thousands of others, we look forward to a day when this “billion dollar crop” is freely available in all its forms.




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Flawed But Promising, Could The Industrial Hemp Farming Act Be The Key To Hemp’s Future?

A new bill before Congress could remove the last barriers to hemp growing in the United States, but only if legislators remove harmful provisions that prevent it from being a…

Industrial Hemp Farming Act 2017

A new bill before Congress could remove the last barriers to hemp growing in the United States, but only if legislators remove harmful provisions that prevent it from being a complete solution to hemp’s legal troubles.

In 2014, new legislation once again allowed the states to grow hemp for research purposes after decades of prohibition. Unfortunately, that law still leaves room for government agencies to threaten hemp growers and vendors, and falls far short of total legalization.

Industry advocates have spent years lobbying Congress for a bill which would completely legalize industrial hemp and remove it from Drug Enforcement Agency oversight and interference. Though deeply flawed In its current form, there’s hope that the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, currently making its way through Congress, could be an important step in that direction.

“I’m confident as this goes through different committees, through the House and the Senate, that it can get shaken out the right way,” said John Ryan, founder of Ananda Hemp, which grows hundreds of acres of hemp for CBD and other uses in Kentucky.

To understand the potential of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, we talked to Ryan and other hemp industry professionals who hope this bill marks a major step toward total legalization of hemp. In this article we’ll explain why legislative change is so important to hemp’s future.


Hemp New Billion Dollar Crop

An article featuring hemp in Popular Mechanics Magazine in Feb 1938

Popular Mechanics predicted in 1938 that hemp would soon become a “billion dollar crop,” but that promise was snuffed out by drug prohibition, which made hemp growing illegal except for a brief period during World War II.

Hemp growing restarted in the U.S. in the wake of the 2014 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp growing for research purposes. Research was broadly defined to include market research — in other words, sales of hemp-based products as well as research into simply growing and processing the plant.

Under this 2014 law, each state was allowed to determine the size and form of these hemp research programs. Further underlining the legality of the hemp grown by these research initiatives, the 2015 and 2016 Appropriations Acts (Congressional spending bills) specifically forbade the Federal government from spending any resources on going after these hemp growers under the laws that normally apply to hemp (and all forms of cannabis) under the War On Drugs.

Currently, according to the pro-hemp lobbyists at Vote Hemp, 33 states have hemp growing programs under the protections provided by the 2014 Farm Bill. However, the current situation limits hemp’s potential as a cash crop.

“There’s still some real barriers to investment, barriers to a number of other things with the way the hemp market is right now,” explained Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.

The DEA continues to interfere with hemp and especially with CBD oil extracts, insisting that they are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp experts disagree with the DEA and have launched a lawsuit. Although CBD consumers have been safe from legal problems so far, CBD vendors have faced legal threats and even occasional police raids. In one recent instance, Indiana state police raided a grocery store selling CBD oil, only to be forced to backtrack and admit that they didn’t have the right to seize the store’s extracts.

Additionally, the right to grow hemp hasn’t been equally distributed to everyone under current laws. Native Americans have faced DEA raids and legal threats, with the government arguing that the 2014 Farm Bill only applies to states, not tribal nations.


The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 would separate industrial hemp from psychoactive cannabis, officially removing the agricultural crop from classification as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act. State agriculture departments would largely be free to regulate hemp just like they do potatoes, wheat, or any other crop. Based on conversations between Native Americans and lawmakers, tribal nations are now also explicitly included in hemp legalization.

With the Industrial Hemp Act, State agriculture departments would largely be free to regulate hemp just like they do potatoes, wheat, or any other crop.

As we previously reported on Ministry of Hemp, while hemp has bipartisan support with politicians from across the United States, support for hemp is especially strong in tobacco country. So it’s no surprise that the 2017 hemp bill was introduced by Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, with support from Kentucky Reps. Thomas Massey and Andy Barr, also members of the GOP. In all, the bill has 16 cosponsors, including 9 Democrats and 7 Republicans.

Ryan succinctly described the bill’s purpose: “to get the DEA off the farm.” He told us he’s especially confident in the guidance of the Kentucky-based lawmakers, including the Representatives sponsoring the bill and their counterparts in the Senate, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, both of whom are also strong supporters of industrial hemp.

“These guys have been proven great stewards of this industry,” he told Ministry of Hemp. “All the policies and regulations that are in place now that are protecting farmers across, it was these guys that really led the way.”

They may have their work cut out for them. In return for allowing the bill to pass out of the House Judiciary Committee (a crucial step the bill must pass through before being, eventually, voted on by the entire House), Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the committee chair, required the addition of several provisions that seem to work in direct opposition to the bill’s purpose.

The most disturbing provision would allow the DEA to make unannounced “administrative inspections” anytime, anywhere hemp is growing.

The most disturbing provision would allow the DEA to make unannounced “administrative inspections” anytime, anywhere hemp is growing. Steenstra explained that these inspections are usually reserved for pharmaceutical manufacturers and doctors or hospitals that deal in controlled substances like opiate drugs.

“That is a completely inappropriate provision that doesn’t apply to an agricultural crop,” he added.

Another amendment specifies that the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, if signed into law, would still be superseded by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. CBD vendors worry that this seemingly innocuous provision is actually an attempt to influence a legal conflict between the CBD oil industry and the Food and Drug Administration in favor of the government agency.

Under current laws, hemp-based products (including CBD extracts) can’t be sold if they contain more than .3 percent THC, the active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis which makes people feel “high.” A final troubling provision could cause CBD oil makers to face legal consequences if THC levels accidentally rose above .3 percent during extraction, even if they disposed of the results without attempting to sell them.

“The law is you can’t sell a product with more than 3 tenths of a percent THC and we’re fine with that,” Steenstra said. “If it goes a little bit higher during processing that shouldn’t be be an illegal activity.”

In any case, with many stages to go before the Industrial Hemp Farming Act potentially becomes law, Ryan hopes these clauses will be corrected.

“I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know DC politics, but I’m feeling pretty confident that it’ll get done the right way or not get done at all,” Ryan said.

Industrial Hemp Farming Act


Currently, industrial hemp must have less than .3 percent THC to be legal. This cut-off is strictly enforced by the U.S. government, even compared to some other countries that use similar guidelines. For example, Steenstra told us that in Canada if a hemp crop has THC levels over .3 percent, a problem that growers refer to as “testing hot,” the government makes a note of it and may ask farmers to plant different varieties of hemp if the problem keeps occurring. By contrast, in the U.S., if a crop tests hot then the entire crop has to be burned. In April, agriculture officials in Kentucky burned $20,000 of hot hemp  even though it tested at just .4 percent THC.

“This kind of thing is a little ridiculous,” Steenstra said.

While it’s useful to differentiate between industrial hemp and psychoactive cannabis (what people ingest to “get high”), the .3 percent cut-off is somewhat arbitrary, as even industry experts like Steenstra admit. Even 1 percent THC wouldn’t easily get a person high; strains of cannabis ingested for their psychoactive potential typically contain far higher levels, with the average strain of legal cannabis in Colorado testing at around 18 percent or more.

In Canada if a hemp crop has THC levels over .3 percent, a problem that growers refer to as “testing hot,” the government makes a note of it and may ask farmers to plant different varieties of hemp if the problem keeps occurring. By contrast, in the U.S., if a crop tests hot then the entire crop has to be burned.

Under a provision of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, hemp with THC levels above .3 percent, but no higher than .6 percent, could be used for research purposes though it would still be illegal to sell any products made from these crops.

“If we could get it up to 6 tenths of a percent it would provide some flexibility,” Steenstra continued.

When we asked John Ryan about this clause, he stressed that while it could be useful he doesn’t want to see the expansion of hemp research interfere with the overall legalization of industrial hemp. “If it gets put aside I don’t think it’s the end of the world,” he told us.


Not every hemp grower we spoke with agreed about the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. Veronica Carpio, a grower and advocate who operates Grow Hemp Colorado, opposes the bill not just because of problems like surprise DEA inspections of farms, but also because it excludes psychoactive cannabis. She pointed out that one historical factor in hemp prohibition was the threat it posed to the paper and textile industries. She explained her viewpoint:

“Hemp started prohibition in the first place and I don’t know anybody in prison for hemp charges or hemp possession or distribution. I know a lot of people in prison and lives ruined over marijuana. So for me, especially as a Colorado cannabis activist or business owner, I can’t support any bill that separates the two.”

But regardless of some disagreements over the details, Carpio agreed with Ryan and Steenstra that the Industrial Hemp Farming Act is a sign of meaningful progress toward legalization. “This is a good start but I don’t think that this bill is the solution,” she said.

“Whether this bill gets passed or not this is a growing movement, this is an unstoppable movement,” Ryan said. “We will get this stuff done whether it’s this Comer-sponsored bill or not. This plant will be legalized.”

Ryan told us that while hemp has the full support of Kentucky legislators, progress depends on the support of every lawmaker. That’s where hemp enthusiasts like Ministry of Hemp’s readers can help. Ryan suggested that you can reach out to your Senators and Representatives and urge them to support total legalization of hemp.

“Where the rubber meets the road is people in other states need to get on the phone with their representatives and try to drum up some support, or voice their concerns and their opinions and just be part of the movement overall.”




The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

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Why Quality Matters: A Closer Look At Toxins and Lies In Hemp & Cannabis

We love hemp, but we’re sick of lies and inflated promises about it. At Ministry of Hemp, we’re dedicated to spreading knowledge about hemp and hemp-based products like CBD oil….

A closer look at hemp and cannabis quality
We love hemp, but we’re sick of lies and inflated promises about it.

At Ministry of Hemp, we’re dedicated to spreading knowledge about hemp and hemp-based products like CBD oil. But some sites are more concerned with sales than sharing honest, scientific information about hemp.

While thousands of people have experienced the benefits of CBD, it’s not a miracle cure for every disease despite the ridiculous claims some websites make. In other cases, dishonest vendors rely on misleading labelling and inflated pricing to make their products seem more powerful than they really are.

Since there are few regulations concerning hemp and CBD, education is crucial so that consumers can make an informed decision. We hope that by explaining some of the pitfalls and risks faced by CBD and hemp producers in this article, we’ll help buyers make more better choices. While buying CBD oil can be confusing, a little knowledge goes a long way.

‘Dirty Hemp Paste’: Low Quality Cbd Products Threaten Industry Reputation

cannabis quality is a concern

Article from SF Weekly on CBD

In a February 2014 blog post, cannabis activist Mickey Martin warned of a “perfect storm for fraud, corruption, and deception” in the burgeoning CBD oil industry thanks to a lack of regulation over sales.

Chris Roberts agreed with Martin in an editorial published that August by SF Weekly. Dishonest CBD vendors and multi-level marketing schemes, Roberts observed, seek to prey on the vulnerable, like sick people and their relatives, with misleading labeling and inflated claims about hemp extract’s effectiveness. He concluded,

The housewives, the newcomers, the neophytes — they don’t know. All they know is that someone is sick, and there’s maybe a glimmer of hope with something called “CBD.” That glimmer also inspires hucksters, who are making bucks off of vulnerable people in their time of need.

CBD has shown to have many benefits, from easing chronic pain to reducing epileptic seizures that resist other forms of treatment. In Ministry of Hemp articles, we always look for scientific studies that talk about the benefits, limitations, and even side effects of CBD. Unfortunately, as noted by Roberts and Martin, not all sites are so honest.

Poor quality products and misleading labelling have also been a problem for CBD buyers. After Tamar Wise quit her role as head of science for Dixie Botanicals, she unloaded her grievances about her former employer and the industry as a whole on her Facebook page in November 2013.

“Wise said CBD-based products are made from ‘crude and dirty hemp paste’ that is contaminated with microbial life, residual solvents and other toxins,” summarized Marijuana Business Daily.

Fromer CBD employer blasts company

From Mold To Toxic Pesticides, Impurities Also Found In Cannabis

Just like hemp, toxins and impurities have been found in legal recreational and medicinal cannabis as well, where they’ve occasionally put the health of consumers at risk.

When NBC reporters tested cannabis sold by legal dispensaries in the southern half of California in February, they found that 93 percent showed pesticide levels above the legal maximum set by other states with legal forms of cannabis. Although California isn’t expected to set guidelines for pesticide use until the end of the year, the NBC report forced dispensaries to pull the contaminated products from their shelves.

A similar study by researchers at the University of California at Davis found mold and germs in samples of cannabis purchased at dispensaries in Northern California. The scientists began investigating the problem after reports surfaced that a cancer-patient with a compromised immune system may have died from inhaling contaminated medical marijuana. NBC also found reports of emergency room visits caused by impure cannabis.

Some pesticides can become especially dangerous when inhaled. In 2015, some dispensaries in Denver were forced to remove cannabis products contaminated with myclobutanil, a pesticide sometimes sold under the name “Eagle 20.” While relatively safe for some purposes, Eagle 20 can become cyanide gas when burned, an obvious risk for cannabis smokers and vapers.

Honest Hemp Growers & Fewer Pesticides Offer Better Cbd Options

hemp can offer better options
Neither hemp nor psychoactive cannabis are inherently cleaner, or more prone to toxins than the other. But there are some differences between agricultural hemp and psychoactive cannabis that reduce some of the risks of pesticides.

Hemp is highly adaptable, with numerous varieties available that are perfect for almost any climate on earth. Hemp can be grown in dense, multi-acre plots under minimal care during growing while high-quality psychoactive cannabis grows best in a humid, highly cultivated environment. Hemp requires fewer pesticides and herbicides, especially compared to hydroponically grown cannabis.

The Farm Bill passed by Congress in 2014 legalized hemp growing in the United States for research purposes. While most hemp is still imported from overseas, the discerning consumer can now find CBD oil and other hemp products made from plants grown on American soil. Top quality CBD vendors also offer detailed lab reports on their products, so buyers always know what they’re getting.

Hemp Is Miraculous But Quality Of Source Matters

Hemp is a plant with many miraculous qualities that make it both a great substitute for cotton and a potential treatment for insomnia.

At the same time, just because a product is “natural” doesn’t automatically make it better or safer. With all products, but with hemp in particular, it remains up to the consumer to educate themselves about the best choices before they buy rather than believe all the claims they read online.

While this article may strike a cautionary note, we’re strong believers in the healing potential of hemp. From its potential as a replacement to paper and other everyday consumer products to the way it nourishes the body inside and out, hemp is a great gift to humanity. With a little guidance and education, consumers can make better choices, while increased awareness and progress toward full legalization of hemp should help create initiatives to establish better regulations in this burgeoning industry.




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