CBD Market Set to Grow as Regulatory Change Looms in U.S.
Original story from CannabisNewsWire
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Restrictions in the United States on cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient in cannabis, appear likely to loosen over the next few months, creating opportunities for CBD production and distribution companies. CBD is an active ingredient with medical benefits but no "high" or psychoactive effects.
FDA Leads the Way to Reclassify Cannabidiol
The market for cannabis and hemp products has seen a low-key but potentially huge step forward in recent weeks. For the first time, the FDA has approved a medicine that uses cannabidiol (CBD) as its active ingredient . CBD is a compound that can be found in the hemp and cannabis plants, but unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it does not get users high.
Repeated studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of cannabinoids. As a result, cannabis products have been approved for medical use in many states, but this is the first time that a cannabinoid-based CBD product has been approved at the federal level. This approval represents a softening of the federal government's attitude. CBD was previously classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, but this body is now expected to change its stance within the next three months , allowing the possibility to manufacture products that would currently be banned on the national level. This possibility represents a huge moment for the CBD industry.
Better Plants for Better Health
One of the companies likely to benefit from this change is the Marijuana Company of America. The company is focused on the cultivation of industrial hemp and the manufacturing of hemp-derived CBD products, and is expanding its operations to better serve its growing market.
The most recent addition to the company's operations is an industrial hemp cultivation site in Scio, Oregon. Created in collaboration with Global Hemp Group (GHG), this is a 109-acre site in the Willamette Valley. With its rich soil and pre-existing irrigation infrastructure, the valley provides an ideal location for an agricultural project that has already been home to cannabis cultivation in the past.
The Scio facility uses a mixture of cultivation practices. It has 19,000 square feet of greenhouse growing space under construction alongside fields for outdoor crops. This will allow the company to produce a steady supply of hemp all year, with high-yield plants ensuring a significant volume of output.
One of the main aims of the team working at Scio is to encourage plant strains that have a particularly high yield of CBD. Careful data collection and analysis are being used to assess the quality of plants and the effectiveness of techniques used to grow them. The expected change in the legal status of CBD in the United States will make it easier for MCOA to conduct research and cultivate CBD rich industrial hemp like at the Scio site, and for patients to have access to the products that come from it.
Working with Government to Improve Agriculture
MCOA and GHG are also collaborating on a similar project in New Brunswick, Canada, on a much larger scale. For this project, the two companies are working with the New Brunswick Department of Aquaculture, Agriculture and Fisheries (DAAF) to explore better approaches to growing hemp.
With markets for hemp and CBD reaching greater maturity, the DAAF has shown its faith in the future by awarding a grant of $10,750 to the joint MCOA and GHG venture in the region. These funds will be used on test projects for the current crop season, which will allow the companies to improve their cultivation techniques.
These government-funded tests are focused on three areas, two of which are looking at soil conditions to identify the best levels of nitrogen fertilizer for crops and whether soil acidity can be effectively adjusted using local supplies of slag lime. The third area of study is the European corn borer, a moth that damages crops and that has been a pest to farmers in the region. Damage from borers was found on hemp stalks last year, so the companies will be looking at the impact this damage could have on cultivation.
The latest technology is being used to ensure the success of these tests. A drone company has been employed to provide overviews of growth across hemp fields because the height of the stalks and density of cultivation makes assessment by other means difficult. With agricultural experiments underway in both Canada and the United States, MCOA has multiple opportunities to cultivate better CBD crops.
In New Brunswick, the two companies have created what they refer to as the Hemp Agro-Industrial Zone (HAIZ), where they are carrying out trials of hemp cultivation targeted at developing the industry in the province. By exploring cultivation techniques, ensuring a market for the product and providing consistent jobs for local farm workers, they aim to create a green-industry cluster specializing in hemp.
Given the growing number of players in the cannabis market, a shift in the classification of CBD on a federal level could have a tremendous impact. For companies already focusing on CBD products, a huge opportunity for growth in the United States may be on the horizon.