As legal hemp-based products are becoming more mainstream in the US, universities are increasingly taking part in studies of hemp to bring more validity to the plant’s uses.
Thanks to the recent passing of the Farm Bill removing hemp from Schedule I controlled substances, the plant is now classified as an agricultural commodity. That means cannabidiol (CBD) that is derived from hemp is also considered a legal substance.
Hemp research in colleges and universities is exploding as scientists work to find even more uses for the plant than what it’s already being used for. Among the leaders in hemp-based research in universities are New York state campuses to support a blossoming industry, though many other states are close behind.
Seven colleges and universities in New York so far have been granted licenses to study the properties of hemp, including the likes of Cornell University, Clarkson University, and Binghamton University, among others. Some of the nation’s largest cannabis companies, such as Charlotte’s Web, are also taking part in these studies. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced $5 million dollars in grants for colleges and universities to study hemp.
Other states making waves in hemp research include Oregon, Kentucky, and Colorado, where hemp studies are burgeoning. University hemp research is booming largely as a result of the fact that permits are no longer required to import hemp seeds from the DEA, making it much easier for university research teams to access hemp seeds.
In addition to seeking out new uses for hemp – such as using it for renewable fuel sources and other medicinal benefits we might not already know about – researchers are also making an effort to refine cultivation practices. Since the plant was considered illegal for so long, there is currently an issue with establishing ideal hemp farming practices.
With increasing research from universities, hemp cultivation will become more mainstream and both new and experienced hemp farmers will have a clear path to follow with best practices established.
While many hemp farmers are interested in CBD-rich hemp, there is also increasing interest in growing hemp for fiber and grain. A growing number of businesses such as textiles and automobiles interested in hemp-based products may help trigger more college and university research in these industrial hemp applications.
In addition to the growth of hemp research on college and university campuses, we’re also seeing an increase in the number of courses in hemp and cannabis in classes that are feeding the growing interest in this particular field.
As more states offer university grants for hemp research, we may soon be seeing more streamlined practices for cultivating hemp and an increase in the number of useful applications of the once-illegal plant.