Why all the Interest in Hemp and CBD?

How New Information and Chronic Pain Opened My Eyes to the Value of Hemp

If you would have told me 15 or 20 years ago that I would be affiliated company that sold hemp, I would have laughed.  No really.  The idea would have been ludicrous to me.  Afterall, I spent much of my young adulthood distancing myself from the pot smokers I knew in my youth.  I grew up in a small town with few opportunities, and I saw the limitations people placed on themselves when they got involved with marijuana.

So what changed?  Mostly, my information base, what I knew about hemp.   See, as a teenager, I thought hemp was “marijuana.”  Today, I know that the two plants have distinct genetics, and by definition, hemp cannot contain any significant amount of the intoxicating chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC).  And while I knew as much as anyone who went to public schools in the US about the hallucinogenic properties of marijuana, it was not until many years later that I learned about the food, fiber, and medicinal value of the plant’s cousin, hemp.  A recent review from Trends in Plant Science, and a 2014 congressional report summarize the many possible uses and benefits of  hemp.   Meanwhile, similar projections reported by Motley Fool investor advisory group and Rolling Stone magazine indicate that the CBD market will hit $22 Billion by 2022.

Since early adulthood, chronic pain has been part of who I am.  It took 20 years for the medical community to determine what was causing my pain, so coping required me to continually research options.  I’ve been encountering scientific studies like this 1998 Nature paper on the pain relief potential of Cannabis species for at least 20 years.  Meanwhile, data indicating hemp grows well in poor soils and creates significant amounts of biomass, combined with growing market interest in everything from CBD oil to hemp edibles led me to consider the remarkable economic potential of a plant humans have used for thousands of years.   Two recent podcasts from our Microbes, Minerals, and Mindsets series, both contained in this article, highlight thoughts surrounding the expanding health and agricultural interest in CBD oil and hemp.   In Episode 6, below, I share some of my personal thinking on the industry.

Farm Bill Expected To Accelerate Hemp Industry Nationwide

As the long debated Farm Bill approaches a final decision, it seems quite likely that hemp will quickly become legal in all states.  When this happens, growers tempted to jump on the hemp band wagon will need to ask themselves when the rapidly expanding market will become saturated.  Afterall, while hemp does have utility for food and fiber, it may be faster to grow a few thousand acres of hemp than to build the food, fabric, and paper mills that can benefit from hemp biomass, and bypass the growing competition in the CBD therapeutic oil market.  Entrepreneurs, your creativity can go wild with this one!

Safety and Reputed Health Benefits of CBD Oil Lead the List of Recognized Hemp Benefits

Harvard Health Blog contributing editor, Peter Grinspoon, MD cites a  World Health Organization Report validating the safety of hemp derived CBD oil.  Grinspoon notes potential for treating certain childhood epilepsy disorders, insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain. He notes a need for more research on safe doses.  There may also be a need for a buyer beware approach as the market expands.

Clearly, the potential for variation between batches of CBD oil,  would suggest that anyone seeking reproducible, therapeutic results, and assurance that THC levels are low should buy from a reputable dealer using GMP practices. Since CBD oil comes from an agricultural product (the hemp plant), organic practices to ensure the absence of pesticides can be valuable as well.

CBD for Pain Relief?

In 2012, after decades of missed diagnoses and failed medical treatments, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome.  By this time, both personal experience and scientific research surrounding microbiomes had taught me that prescription drugs were simply not an option.  Since I refuse to take prescription or over the counter pain killers, and pain has clearly reduced my personal productivity, I’ve had more than one physician suggest that I apply for a medical marijuana license.  However, I am not interested in dealing with the bureaucracy involved in using medical marijuana.   Who want’s the government tracking my choice of medication?

Today, I manage pain exclusively with diet and nutritional supplements, including a healthy body pak from Youngevity, CM creme, and a variety of essential oil blends.  Most of the time, my efforts are quite effective. From time to time, shifts in barometric pressure, overexertion, and other factors step into the picture, and pain flares up.  Needless to say, CBD offers an attractive solution.

In Episode 7 of Microbes, Minerals, & Mindsets, local business owner and wellness advocate, Monica Kekuewa of MK DesignHouse discusses her interest in natural health alternatives, her decision to work with our local YGY Extension Team of Youngevity Independent Distributors, and her experience introducing HempFX products to clients.

Youngevity Entered CBD Market in 2018

This fall, our public-traded affiliate, the 21 year old company, YouOrder HempFX Productsngevity (YGYI) entered the CBD market with its HempFX lineup, which offers four exciting new products:photo of HempFX product line

  1. Soothe-for pain relief.

  2. Uplift-to elevate mood.

  3. Relax-for sleep support.

  4. Hydration-for a hydrating beverage.

As a consumer, I am excited about these products.  Soothe is blended with essential oils, combining instant essential oil relief with longer lasting effects of CBD.  Youngevity has taken leadership in the quality arena, using organically grown hemp, GMP Compliant practices, and independent testing to ensure a high quality product.  And because it is a public company with a reputation to uphold, I am counting on Youngevity to ensure that all state and federal laws are being adhered to.

This is perhaps the best part of affiliating with a network like Youngevity, because as a small business, learning the rules around CBD oil use and distribution is not easy.   I am curious by nature, and when I learned that Youngevity would be adding CBD products to it’s lineup, I began researching the rules around CBD use and distribution in New Mexico and in the US.  Months later, after being shuffled back and forth to numerous government agents who either don’t return phone calls or give vague or blatantly false information, I remain confused.

What Buyers Should Know about HempFX Products

CBD oil offers a well studied alternative health approach to pain management, anxiety management, and sleep.  THC free CBD oil is widely recognized as safe when used in reasonable amounts.   There is not a wide consensus as to what constitutes “reasonable amounts”, but personally, I would avoid doses of hundreds to thousands of mg CBD until better dose response studies are widely available.   Laws surrounding the use of hemp based products are in a state of flux, so if you are going to use CBD products keep an eye on news updates.   Indicators including stock market projections and investor news, scientific literature evaluating safety and efficacy, and an abundance of companies openly distributing CBD oil suggest that murky legislation will continue to move towards wider acceptance.  One rare but widely publicized case in Indiana indicated that the DEA is not interested in prosecuting individual users who have benefited from CBD oil.  For me, as a distributor watching Youngevity step with confidence into the CBD market gave me equal confidence.  I do not believe a 21 year old, public company with an established reputation for quality health products, and leadership in both industrial standards and regulatory compliance would allow clients to purchase questionable products.   There are a number of novice producers offering CBD oil products that lack laboratory testing.  While I value supporting local growers, I do believe hemp products should be purchased from experts who can demonstrate that their varieties are THC free and grown and produced according to quality standards.  You can explore the steps Youngevity takes to maintain quality it its CBD products here.

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What Growers Should Know about Hemp

     Much like the gold rush of the ninteenth century, speculation of riches to be made growing hemp is high.  But we can only use so much CBD oil, and industries making paper, pulp, and fiber products will take time to emerge.  Growers interested in raising hemp should watch the market with interest, and avoid taking unwarranted risks.  As with any other crop, don’t plant more hemp than you can sell. 

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