Like many foods and beverages we consume, testing the safety and compliance of hemp has drastically shifted since the illicit days. The evolution of industrial hemp testing has proven the hemp plant to be a widely grown crop; heavily regulated for its therapeutic value.
In our previous blog, we discussed analytical testing in cannabis. In this blog we’re breaking down the evolution of industrial hemp testing, as well as which regulations/requirements to consider in regards to analyzing your hemp or CBD in a testing laboratory.
The History of Hemp & 2018 Legalization
Industrial hemp includes the botanical variety deriving from the Cannabis Sativa species. Although there is a great debate around the current classification between hemp and cannabis being under one species, today’s operative differences are defined by legalities.
However, way before cannabis prohibition and its renowned legalization, hemp has been a versatile plant source used for various therapeutic or medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Historically, hemp and hemp seeds have been utilized all across the globe. Humans have cultivated hemp for fiber, food, oilseed, medicine, and spiritual or religious rituals. For instance, fiber from the hemp plant was often used for fishing, food utensils or tools, and other forms of advanced domesticated activities.
The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act created legal changes that prohibited the cultivation, possession, or use of hemp and all cannabis sativa plants. By restricting access to the plant, many communities and countries were stripped of this natural resource.
Many decades later, the 2018 Hemp Farming Act (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill) established a major breakthrough for industrial hemp. This bill allows for the cultivation, possession, processing, and distribution of industrial hemp, therefore allowing the hemp plant to become a commercialized crop throughout the U.S.
According to the bill, the legislation has defined legal industrial hemp to contain no more than 0.3% of THC (the potent psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants). Because of this monumental change, the law considers hemp to be a separate entity from cannabis sativa plants (with high psychoactive properties). It therefore can be legally grown, manufactured, and sold.
Not only did this change the way hemp production operates in the country, but it further defined safety, restrictions, and regulations regarding industrial hemp and the many beneficial uses it has in today’s society.
Industrial Hemp Testing Regulations & Standards
Since its 2018 legalization, industrial hemp has transformed into one of the largest grown crops in the United States, with an estimated value of $712 million in 2021 alone.
Modern industrial hemp found today is shaped by various regulations and qualifications that often slightly differ from state to state. Whether you’re a hemp cultivator or part of hemp processing operations, it’s important to understand the regulations outlined by the United States Agricultural Department (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding industrial hemp testing.
The USDA’s Hemp Production Program was established to outline a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production and testing. According to the Hemp Production Program, identifying the concentration of THC in hemp is one of the main testing services explicitly required across the country.
This regulation enforces all hemp production to be tested at less than 0.3% THC content (by dry weight) to comply with industrial hemp standards at the legal federal level.
Additionally, any further testing regulations and requirements for industrial hemp are often varied by state. At Highgrade Labs, we offer and encourage the following hemp testing services for cultivators and manufacturers:
- Cannabinoid Potency
- Residual Solvents Testing
- Mycotoxin and Microbial Screenings
- Heavy Metals Testing
- Water Activity Measurements
- Pesticide Residue Testing
- Lipids Analysis
- Terpene Profile Testing
Highgrade Labs: Offering Efficient & Accurate Industrial Hemp Testing Services
Although hemp has quickly proven to be a widely popular and highly regulated crop, it cannot be cultivated or processed as freely as tomatoes or basil. Additionally, without the federal legalization of all cannabis plants and species, regulations and requirements around hemp containing less than 0.3% THC remain of strict ordinance.
At Highgrade Labs, we’re on a mission to provide the most efficient and accurate industrial hemp testing services to the Arizona, Maryland, and Oklahoma hemp communities!