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Why choose USDA certified organic CBD over Non certified CBD

18/07/2023 | Chandan Pramanik

Consumers are increasingly looking for products that are free of pesticides, herbicides, and other harsh chemicals. But can the USDA certify organic CBD? Yes, avid organic consumers can now purchase certified USDA organic CBD products.

USDA organic certification ensures that cannabis growers, processors, and CBD companies use tillage and cultivation practices void of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. It also offers consumers and retailers the needed assurance for safety and quality. But getting certified to stand out among others has never been easy.

Until a few years ago, there weren’t many USDA-certified organic cannabis products produced in the country. However, before the eventual signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, a handful of industrial hemp farms, processors, and CBD producers began applying for certification.

How USDA-certified organic hemp came to be

After the passage of the 2014 farm bill, the USDA approved organic certification for hemp farming in the United States. Since then, Interest in obtaining USDA organic certification for industrial hemp has been limited due to restrictive guidelines. CBDRx was one of the first cannabis operations to receive USDA organic certification for hemp cultivation in January 2016, though cannabis imported from other countries has always been certified under the USDA organic guidelines.

In February 2016, the USDA declared that third-party auditors could no longer certify cannabis operations. Seven cannabis growers however received organic certification before these new guidelines. This was short-lived as the USDA later changed course by August 2016 to issue another policy statement allowing only commercial hemp grown in State pilot programs to be certified under Section 7606 of the Farm Bill.

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill also downgraded hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance, though it legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp. This prompted a growing number of industrial hemp and CBD companies seeking USDA organic certification, and by April 2019, Palmetto Harmony became the first CBD company whose hemp flowers and viable seeds received USDA organic certification. This includes hemp clones and hemp transplants, as well as a range of flower-derived CBD products.

How to get USDA organic certification for CBD.

To become USDA organic certified, companies producing CBD must use USDA certified ingredients (such as carrier oils and hemp already having USDA organic certification) and certain extraction methods. These acceptable extraction methods include CO2 extraction (an alcohol extraction process using USDA certified organic cane alcohol) and lipid extraction. Voov’s CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide as a solvent under high pressure and varying temperatures. There are other methods such as the Cane alcohol extraction method and lipid extraction Method (where the buds (dried cannabis flowers) are soaked in organic MCT (coconut) oil before being filtered).

The benefits of USDA organic certification for CBD.

USDA organic certification promotes tillage and cultivation practices that maintain or improve soil health and minimize soil erosion. It can also help CBD brands enter the retail market by conveying a positive image of organic and sustainable farming.

While not suitable for all brands, USDA organic certification offers many benefits. However, the process is best suited for companies that are willing to invest time, effort, and money. The USDA organic seal is one of the most recognized certifications by American consumers, as it offers an additional guarantee to consumers who are concerned about the safety of CBD products.