Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently proposed a bill to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity in the United States (US). The bill is called the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 and aims to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances in the US. Although congressional committees have postponed similar bills in the past, they are more likely to approve this bill because a bipartisan group of senators supports it. An article in The Entrepreneur points out that the bill is also expected to push through this time because it can create jobs and push economic growth.
The Entrepreneur article is titled Hemp Is the Multibillion-Dollar Cannabis Opportunity Few Have Heard About. It reports that the US is currently importing hemp products worth roughly $100 million each year. The legalization of hemp means changes on many levels; it will push the development and use of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products.
CBD products are already gaining traction in the US, Canada, and Europe. These products are breaking free from the stigma that cannabis products can cause a “high.” And as unbelievable as it sounds, CBD is a compound of cannabis that doesn’t cause any intoxication but can provide all its benefits.
Many biotechnology companies have extracted a pure form of CBD from hemp. Hemp-derived CBD contains a minute amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is a remarkable achievement because CBD can now be used in a myriad of products from different industries including pharmaceutical, skin care, and food and beverage. Analysts believe that CBD has immense potential to disrupt the market in the near future. The Hemp Business Journal predicts that the market for CBD products would grow to $2.1 billion by 2020.
Cannabidiol in the pharmaceutical industry
Cannabidiol has a number of therapeutic benefits that can help treat debilitating diseases like cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes. It can also relieve stress and anxiety and works as a potent painkiller. The healing properties of CBD give it immense potential to gain ground in the medical industry. A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recently recommended approval for a CBD drug to treat a rare form of epilepsy in the US.
The onset of CBD products can also resolve the opioid crisis in America. Currently, doctors prescribe opioids for pain management, but opioids come with side effects: They can be addictive, and their overuse can lead to death. CBD products can replace opiates to treat pain, and they have fewer side effects.
CBD is a growing industry. Researchers are studying how the drug can help cure hard-to-treat diseases like cancer and diabetes. Once there is more research available in this space, and consumer awareness about the benefits of cannabidiol increases, the demand for CBD is expected to increase too.