Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis sativa L. The crop is one of historical importance in the U.S. and re-emerging worldwide importance as medical providers and manufacturers seek hemp as a renewable and sustainable resource for a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. Hemp grown for all types of end-use (health supplement, fiber, and seed) contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp varieties intended to produce a health supplement contain relatively high concentrations of a compound called cannabidiol (CBD), potentially 8-10%. CBD has purported benefits such as relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, seizures, spasms, and other conditions. The CBD is the most concentrated in the female flowers of the plant. To grow hemp for CBD production, the crop is generally grown intensively as a specialty crop and the flowers are cultivated for maximum growth. There is also potential to grow industrial hemp as a row crop for seed and/or fiber and extract CBD from other plant parts, as well. The CBD oil is incorporated into topical products (salves, lip balm, lotion) and food and is available in pill capsules, powder form, and more, which can be found in the market today. Industrial hemp is poised to be a “new” cash crop and market opportunity for Vermont farms that is versatile and suitable as a rotation crop with other specialty crops, small grains, and grasses.


Vermont, University of Vermont

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