Hope for Hemp: New Opportunities and Challenges for an Old Crop

by David W. Olson, Suzanne D. Thornsbury, and Sara Scott

The reintroduction of industrial hemp through State pilot programs showed potential for a crop last commercially produced in the United States in the 1950s. Industrial hemp, a crop grown historically for fiber, seed, oil, and now cannabidiol (CBD) oil, is the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any of its parts with a very low concentration of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Clearly distinguishing industrial hemp from marijuana was a critical legal step in allowing hemp production to restart in the United States. Production levels grew rapidly with new producers coming into the market.

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