Laws and Regulations

Where does most of the CBD in the US come from?

Written by Asia Mayfield

The murky, conflicting laws surrounding the American cannabis industry are having a huge effect on the recent CBD boon. Interest in the cannabinoid is surging as people seek out safe, non-psychoactive ways to treat their pain. There are two ways to obtain CBD, yet most manufacturers in the country are limited to only one.

The legal world splits the plant Cannabis sativa into two types –  cannabis, and hemp. Cannabis and Hemp are both species in the Cannabis sativa genus. Cannabis plants are bred specifically for their cannabinoid content, while hemp plants are raised for their fiber-rich, low-THC seeds and stalks.

Because cannabis is still considered to be a Schedule I drug by the Federal government, however, the way the two plants are treated is drastically different. Hemp is exempt from Federal laws banning Cannabis sativa plants. To qualify as ‘Hemp,’ Federal law dictates that the plants must have a dry THC mass of less than 0.3%.

In states that have legalized cannabis, manufacturers can choose to extract CBD either from hemp or from cannabis. In the 31 states where there’s no form of legal cannabis, however, manufacturers have to rely solely on hemp. CBD from hemp is also currently allowed to be imported from other countries! Therefore, most of the CBD products sold in the U.S. are hemp-based.

Hemp CBD

Hemp CBD products are sourced from those parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant that are excluded from the definition of “Marihuana” under the Controlled Substances Act, such as the stalks and the seed. Those portions of the plant contain very little cannabinoids, and as such are allowed to be bought, sold, and processed for interstate and international commerce. Making Hemp CBD oil requires the processing of many more times the plant mass than the when extracting CBD from cannabis.

Cannabis CBD

Besides the lack of bioaccumulation problems, research indicates that there are benefits to consuming full spectrum extracts and not just CBD. The different cannabinoids work with each other and with terpenes to create the entourage effect. Project CBD notes: “For patients struggling with a wide range of conditions, CBD and THC work best together, enhancing each other’s beneficial effects.”

Even though the majority of CBD in the United States comes from Hemp, preliminary evidence indicates that cannabis-based CBD products provoke superior effects.However, most manufacturers will still have to extract CBD from hemp until the Federal government re-schedules or de-schedules cannabis nation-wide.

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at