Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Why Your CBD Should Come from Organic Hemp

It is easy to be confused by the term "organic hemp". After all, isn't all hemp natural and organic? The answer is not as straightforward as you would think. In order to be labeled "organic," a product has to meet a strict set of standards. While hemp is a natural product, organic hemp provides additional protections for consumers.

The Standards

Organic hemp must meet a strict set of standards in order to earn the designation. These standards are set by the USDA and are therefore not hard to find.

For one thing, these standards mandate that the hemp must be "produced and handled" without the use of any synthetic substances. However, it makes exceptions for those synthetic substances listed in sections 205.601 and 205.603, which are considered innocuous:
  • Alcohols (used for cleaning and disinfection purposes)
  • Chlorinated water (as long as it's within legal standards)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (also for cleaning and disinfection)
  • Soap (used as an herbicide)
  • Sodium carbonate (better known as washing soda)
  • Plastic covers/containers (no PVC allowed)
  • Newspapers or other recycled paper (compost ingredient)
  • •Boric acid (pesticide, no contact with product allowed)
There are also certain non-synthetic substances that are not allowed to come in contact with the hemp at any time. This makes sense because "natural" doesn't always mean "safe." These prohibited substances include:
  • Ashes from burnt manure
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Sodium nitrate (saltpeter)
  • Strychnine
  • Tobacco
  • Sewage sludge
  • Radiation
You would never put well-known poisons like strychnine or arsenic on your hemp, but some fertilizers do contain sodium nitrate (or its cousin, potassium nitrate). However, these are considered to be chemical fertilizers and are not allowed for certified-organic products.

Why These Standards Matter

The qualifications for labeling CBD derived from hemp as "organic" matter because, without them, companies could (and would) cut all kinds of corners to save money.

The law is forced to make this distinction between "natural" and "organic" because of the potential for some companies to manipulate language in their favor. Technically, fecal matter is natural, but you probably don't want that in any of the products you buy. Without specific definitions, there is nothing to stop companies from misrepresenting their products.

At the same time, it is nearly impossible to do something "100% natural and organic" without using stone-age tools and methods. Thus, the law makes certain exceptions for substances that are useful and known to be harmless. For instance, alcohols are included because they are easy to remove by applying heat. Likewise, recycled paper should not pose a risk to consumers.

How Much Difference Does Buying Organic Hemp-Derived CBD Make?

Hemp as a crop is a bioaccumulator, meaning that it absorbs material from within the soil at a faster rate than it can eliminate it. If there is lead in the soil, there will likely be lead in the hemp. While this may be helpful in cleaning up compromised land, hemp products grown in contaminated soil are not ideal for human consumption.

So, if you are committed to buying organic hemp-derived CBD, how much of a difference does it really make? Let's remember that you aren't trying to gain a positive here, but are trying to avoid the negatives that come from putting toxic things into your body. These negatives often take years (even decades) to manifest, so it can be hard to put any exact figures on this one.

From a business perspective, the "organic" label has a lot to do with the maintenance of customer confidence. You want people to know that your company offers products that are both safe and effective, and there is no way to "fake it." If you are not using safe and clean production standards, it will eventually show in one way or another. At that point, you could very well be looking at some expensive lawsuits.

When it comes down to it, it really is wiser to buy organic hemp-derived CBD products. It might come with a slightly higher price tag, but you can be certain that your hemp has been grown and harvested in the most responsible ways.

This is a guest blog entry.

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