Until passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, getting the official USDA “certified organic” designation for hemp was not an easily obtainable thing. Under the 2014 Farm Bill, the grey area surrounding CBD was pretty large.
The USDA claimed they would certify industrial hemp grown in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill, but it was never super clear what that meant.
Why There Were Issues Certifying Hemp
One of the issues with the 2014 Farm Bill was that many considered only specific parts of the plant as “hemp” while others were still considered it “marijuana.” For example, the seeds and stalks may be considered to be hemp, but the aerial flower parts were not.
This caused issues because everyone growing hemp for the production of CBD oil uses the aerial parts, not the seeds. In fact, the seeds of cannabis do not produce cannabinoids. Therefore, hemp seed oil is not a viable source of CBD.
Because the aerial parts are needed to produce CBD oil, hemp producers weren’t quite following the “in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill” part that were part of the USDA certification process. Only select hemp growers were given organic certifications.
Everyone else had to seek out alternative third party organic certifications or say that they were not USDA certified, but still used organic growing practices.
Changes Based on the 2018 Farm Bill
With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, hemp and its extracts are now considered federally legal and were removed from the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp is now officially deemed an agricultural commodity and can be certified organic through the standard USDA process.
In April 2019, Palmetto Harmony became one of the first hemp CBD to achieve the USDA certified organic designation for its hemp flower and viable seeds. It’s only a matter of time before more brands follow suit and we expect to see more CBD products with the “USDA Certified Organic” label in the months to come.
Why You Want Organic Hemp
The USDA organic certification is usually a lengthy and expensive process. So while the USDA is now granting certifications for hemp, it will still take some time for more brands to adopt it. Organic hemp is important because hemp is really good at removing and absorbing impurities from soil. If you want good hemp, you need good soil.
Additionally, growing hemp organically means that non-organic pesticides and herbicides are guaranteed to not be used. This is not to say conventionally-grown “non-organic” hemp is bad, or that brands that aren’t certified use pesticides. Rather, just to say that organically certified hemp undergoes significant scrutiny to guarantee that these things are not used.