With the legalization of cannabis in Canada in October 2018 through the Cannabis Act, marijuana became a household name. Meanwhile industrial hemp (or hemp) - also a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, just like marijuana - did not become the subject of general interest.
While hemp and marijuana belong to the same species, they produce different levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive drug. Industrial hemp contains no more than 0.3 percent of THC.
Even though commercial production of industrial hemp has been permitted in Canada since 1998, Canadian producers have been limited in their usage of the plant. The Industrial Hemp Regulations, the legislation under which hemp farmers operated, would prohibit them to harvest components that contain cannabidiol (CBD), such as the chaff and leaf materials of the plant. Cannabidiol is an active ingredient that's commonly found in high concentrations in certain varieties of industrial hemp. It does not have the psychoactive properties of THC, but has been proposed to have some nutritional health benefits.
The new legislation, incorporated in the Cannabis Act, broadens the industry’s potential, by allowing growers to harvest parts of the plant that previously went to waste: hemp farmers are now given permission to sell hemp flowers, leaves and branches to licensed cannabis processors, to ultimately provide high CBD products.
This change could have a significant impact and contribute to a more efficient and profitable industry. Hemp farmers could optimize their production and also to see their income increase, due to the growing interest in CBD as a wellness ingredient.