America was pretty late to the party, but the federals finally figured out (again) that hemp doesn't get us high. By removing the plant from the Controlled Substances Act via an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill
, Congress cleared a path for American companies interested in using hemp and its extracts and fibers to source those materials domestically. And retailers selling those products in this country can now do so without fear of law enforcement and regulatory interference.
Some pundits view industrial hemp as a bigger cash crop than marijuana, with its seeds, stalks, fibers and cannabinoids all used to make a long list of products. Here are seven things we eat, wear and use every day that will be impacted by hemp legalization:
Hemp can be the base of meatless burgers, sausage and more.
Ken Hambllin III
You can already find hemp seeds, hemp milk and hemp-based meat alternatives at grocery stores, but those are largely made from hemp imported from Europe, Canada and other countries. With hemp's legalization, the demand for hemp foods will increase, and so will access to domestic hemp. The plant is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, protein and other nutritional benefits, and it provides a nutty flavor that goes with just about anything
Food and drinks infused with CBD will still have to be approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so don't be surprised if a lot of manufacturers stop using "CBD" on their labeling altogether and replace it with terms like "full-spectrum hemp extract."
The fibers from hemp stalks have a variety of uses, with paper and textiles being the most obvious choices. By taking fiber from the plant's hurd and pulp, companies can make a range of paper styles, as well as clothing, shoes, backpacks, rope and other textile products. Hemp fibers are more durable than cotton yet still soften with age, and have shown to be more resident to mildew. They're also more porous, allowing the body to breathe.
You can already find hemp clothing online and in stores around the country, but legalization is likely to take hemp fibers mainstream. Patagonia is already on board
, with one of its regional representatives noting that the outdoor clothing brand is excited to increase its relationship with Colorado's hemp industry.
For those who want the nutritional benefits of hemp without having to eat hemp seeds or veggie burgers, hemp and hemp-derived CBD extracts, proteins and isolates are a quicker, easier way. Hemp-seed oil and extracts, usually sold in pill or sublingual form, have helped with skin and hair disorders. CBD has shown potential benefits in dealing with everything from anxiety and pain to epilepsy
, and can be added to food or vaporized as a concentrate.
Hemp and hemp-seed supplement makers are likely to continue operating without much change (as long as they don't make any unsubstantiated health claims), but CBD supplements will probably have to alter their terminology, as will CBD food and drinks. Either way, expect to see more of them at Whole Foods, and even chains like Kroger and Safeway.