Many CBD oil brands are claiming to sell organic CBD, but is there any truth to these statements? An ever-growing selection of CBD oils has made it hard for CBD consumers to choose which one is the best for their intended purpose. For health-conscious consumers looking to treat a medical condition, organic CBD oil could be a valuable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan.
Hemp Cleans The Soil
CBD oil is typically made from hemp plants, a cultivar of the cannabis plant. Hemp is a powerful bioaccumulator that absorbs the soil’s minerals and water, but also its toxins. Some farmers use a process called phytoremediation to clean up the soil and nearby water. Planting hemp can reduce or eliminate pollutants like cadmium and other heavy metals. This type of hemp would not be a good starting material for CBD extraction.
Organic Farming In The U.S.
Organic farming in the United States started in the 1940s gaining momentum in the 1970s. It wasn’t until 1990 that Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) to create standard regulations on organic food and fiber to replace previous decentralized programs. OFPA installed the National Organics Standards Boards to make recommendations on what substances could be used in organic food and products. With help from the USDA, the final rules were enacted in 2002.
Hemp Pilot Programs
Hemp used to be a staple crop in the United States until it was criminalized by the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Hemp cultivation stalled until 2014 when the Agricultural Act, or the Farm Bill, passed. The bill removed federal restrictions on hemp enabling states to install pilot programs to research the benefits of hemp cultivation. Hemp farmers thought they, too, could seek organic certification since imported hemp products were being certified.
Organic certification requires that companies avoid using prohibited synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Packaged foods seeking certification must contain at least 70% organically-produced ingredients and avoid the use of GMOs among other considerations. Despite meeting the guidelines for organic certification, the USDA stated in 2016 that third-party accredited certifiers could not certify domestic hemp products.
Organic Hemp Certification
A few months after stating that accredited certifiers could not certify hemp products, the USDA changed its mind. In August 2016, the USDA amended their position stating that domestic hemp could be certified organic only if it was grown under a state pilot program. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances list allowing for the cultivation of hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill opens up the door for prospective hemp farmers looking to get organic certification. Some growers, however, won’t get a certification that easy. Even if they meet all the organic standards, growers must sell more than $5,000 per year to apply for USDA certification. Growers also can’t apply if they’ve used any prohibited substances within the last 3 years.
Today, buying organic CBD oil isn’t as easy as looking for a label. Some small growers, for example, employ organic practices but don’t have the label. Others claim they’re organic without having certification. It’s up to consumers to do their research on USDA organic regulations. Consumers can also visit the USDA’s digital database to find certified producers.