Despite being just a year old, the industrial hemp sector is rapidly gaining ground. The cash crop had been outlawed for decades before the 2018 Farm Bill removed it from the list of controlled substances. Under the legislation, farmers should grow and sell industrial hemp under state and tribal programs provided the crop had less than 0.3% THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive high marijuana is famous for, and for hemp to be considered legal, it has to have minuscule levels of THC.
Although the sector is booming, with experts saying it will be worth billions by 2024, there’s startlingly little information on hemp. From genetics to planting practices, most of the players are playing it by ear. Oregon State University (OSU) has been among the leaders in hemp research, and the school recently received funding to help support its new Global Hemp Information Center.
An announcement from the office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley stated that the federal government is allocating $2.5 million to the University to use on the new program. The funding was part of a larger federal spending bill.
“We were pleased to see the appropriation get approved as it shows the federal government’s confidence in our work,” says Allan Sams, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences OSU. He and other OSU officials introduced the hemp center back in June at the University’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center.
In the year since sales have been legal, demand for hemp has been at an all-time high. The plant itself is insanely versatile, said to have thousands of uses. A few of them include making fabric, bioplastics and a sturdy building material called hempcrete. Hemp seeds are quite nutritional too.
On top of that, the plant produces over 100 cannabinoids, including the infamous THC and cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike THC, cannabidiol isn’t psychoactive, but it has a ton of other uses. Said to be medically effective, it works against a variety of illnesses including anxiety and high blood pressure.
The university has dedicated more than 40 faculty members from 19 academic disciplines to hemp research, teaching and extension services, and it plans on directing all that expertise into the new Global Hemp Information Center.
Sams says the funds will support the establishment of the center. “The work will involve other universities and will foster collaborative research to support the development of this new industry.”
This research grant is likely to be seen as good news for hemp companies like SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) and Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) who would like to see as much scientific information as possible available to all stakeholders.
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