U.S. or Abroad? How Hemp Origins Have Changed Since the 2018 Farm Bill

Written by Petar Petrov

With the legal controversies and tangled nature of the cannabis industry, it’s somewhat difficult to trace all CBD products in the U.S. back to their sources—U.S. or abroad, hemp or cannabis—and respectively get a precise estimate in percentages of how much each category is accountable for of the total CBD market in the U.S.

However, with some information about the regulatory laws and the sourcing practices of some of the major CBD players, we can get a rough idea.

Cannabis or Hemp

After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which removed hemp from Schedule I controlled substances, hemp has certainly become the logical CBD source. While the cannabis laws and regulations vary from state to state, with hemp being completely legal across all of them, it’s only natural that CBD companies would target this agricultural commodity.

Furthermore, hemp is much richer in CBD than regular cannabis, which makes it a much more cost-efficient and a sensical option for companies that specialize in CBD.

U.S. or Abroad?

While before the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, a lot of the CBD products in the U.S. reportedly came from different foreign countries, mostly from Europe. Afterwards, there was a natural and welcomed shift. One of the reasons why the shift occurred was because of product transparency.

Even though countries like the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, are considered safe and legitimate sources of hemp-derived CBD because of their strict environmental regulations, the same can’t be said for other regions.

“God knows what toxins are in the hemp processed in countries like China or Romania, which don’t have the same laws about pesticide use that we have,” says Dr. Ethan Russo, one of the founding fathers of cannabis research. “I don’t trust any of it and I don’t think anyone else should either.”

The prevailing reason seems to be that because CBD imports don’t have to go through the same tests and regulations, they aren’t as trustworthy and don’t adhere to the same quality standards.

But by the looks of it, some of the most highly regarded CBD companies in the U.S. source their CBD locally, quite often from farms in Colorado, with the only exception from this particular Forbes list being HempMeds, which derives it from farms in the Netherlands that is certainly a legitimate alternative.

This philosophy is valid for the companies in our own list of major CBD players in the U.S.

CBD landscape is still covered in a fog of legal uncertainty, however, it’s starting to get increasingly defined, with locally-sourced, hemp-derived CBD being the gold standard.


Image Credit: The Times and Democrat

About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.