On December 20, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Agriculture and Nutritional Act, or Farm Bill, an $867 billion initiative with strong bipartisan support.

The bill passed in the Senate on December 11, by a vote of 87-13; the House of Representatives passed it the following day with a vote of 386-47.

Legalizing Industrial Hemp

Among the provisions of the Farm Bill is the legalization of industrial hemp, a strain of cannabis critical to the U.S.’s rapidly growing industry of products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychotropic chemical in hemp that its users and a number of scientific studies say has many therapeutic benefits, including pain relief.

The CBD industry includes CBD-infused topical products, such as pain-relieving massage oils, creams and salves, as well as oils, tinctures and nutritional supplements meant to be taken internally.

Before the Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, many CBD products were already on the market and popular with massage therapists, but they existed in a legal gray area because marijuana, Cannabis sativa, remains federally illegal. (Marijuana has been legalized for medicinal use in 33 U.S. states and recreational use in 10 states, reported Business Insider.)

CBD is derived from industrial hemp, Cannabis sativa indica, a non-psychotropic strain of the plant containing negligible amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which produces the “high” typically connected with marijuana use.

The Farm Bill is a huge win for the CBD industry but does not create a completely free system where anyone can grow hemp whenever or wherever they want. In order to be classified as industrial hemp, it cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC. States will also have to submit plans to license and regulate hemp to the USDA before operations can commence.

CBD could become a $20 billion industry by 2022, CNBC reported.

CBD and Massage Therapy

MASSAGE Magazine has often reported on the use of CBD in the bodywork industry. While massage is already being used as an alternative to opioid medications for addressing pain, topical products containing CBD could greatly enhance the effects of manual therapy.

While science continues to explore the benefits of CBD, its ever-changing legal status has made some massage therapists hesitant to include these products in their sessions or carry them for retail sale to clients. The passage of the Farm Bill will change all that.

Other Farm Bill Provisions

In addition to industrial hemp legalization, the Farm Bill also expanded farming subsidies and provided funding for some food initiatives, including farmers markets. An earlier provision dropped from the final version of the bill would have placed new rules and restrictions on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).

MASSAGE Magazine will update this article with any new information as it becomes available.

About the Author

Allison M. Payne is the associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine and Chiropractic Economics.