Selling CBD is about more than the bottom line, said Heather Steppe, co-owner of KC Hemp Co.
“Ninety-percent of what we do is educate. We have people come in here and ask questions and they go home and think about it,” she said from her business’ Downtown Overland Park storefront, noting that the general public has difficulty understanding CBD’s identity and whether it’s still taboo in 2019.
In the Green
Startland takes an in-depth dive into the growing market for CBD and hemp products, and the KC entrepreneurs poised to capitalize on the nationwide trend.
“We might see them again and we might not,” Steppe added. “But at the end of the day, we know we’ve educated them properly so that when they do decide to make a purchase, they know what to look for.”
Even with early adoption of a centuries-old crop, misconceptions about CBD and hemp are challenging to shake, added James DeWitt, co-founder of United American Hemp — an Olathe based, industrial hemp grower.
“We’re not growing medical marijuana in Kansas — you can’t,” DeWitt explained. “… I feel like attitudes have shifted a lot in the last few years about cannabis in general. And you know, I think that’s a really good thing [but there’s still work to be done.]”
Startland talked with Steppe and DeWitt, along with other CBD and hemp experts around the metro, to better understand common questions about the substance and how its evolving into widespread entrepreneurial opportunity.
Are CBD and hemp the same as marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana are cousins from within the cannabis plant family, explained Steppe.
“The marijuana plant is known for having a very high percentage of THC [the psychoactive compound that results in intoxication], very low percentages of other cannabinoids such as CBD — the hemp plant has high CBD, low THC,” she said.
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, which returns a higher yield than it would if extracted from marijuana. Doing so also keeps CBD below the federal THC limit, Steppe added.
“There are three different types of CBD that you can buy,” she said. “One of them is an isolet and it is a purely isolated CBD form (no THC), and the other is a broad spectrum oil and that has all of the cannabinoids from the plant — CBD, CBG, CBN, but no THC. And then a full spectrum. It has all the cannabinoids, plus the THC.”
Click here to learn about the growing opportunity for marijuana-related startups in KCMO.
Are CBD and hemp legal in Kansas and Missouri?
In 2014, the federal government made a formal distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana — making it possible for university and agricultural based programs to conduct research, according to a United American Hemp synopsis of the 2014 Farm Bill.
Growing, processing, transporting, and selling industrial hemp was legalized in the U.S. when the federal government signed the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (the 2018 Farm Bill.)
According to the legislation, states are required to establish their own laws surrounding the production of industrial hemp.
“CBD and hemp are legal in both Kansas and Missouri. In Kansas, there can be absolutely no THC in any CBD preparation. In Missouri, a CBD preparation may have up to 0.3-percent THC,” explained Eapen Thampy, Missouri Hemp Association lobbyist.
Click here to read more about state licensing guidelines from United American Hemp.
Will CBD get me high?
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plan and will not get you high, according to KC Hemp Co. research.
“Everybody instantly goes to, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to get stoned.’ … It’s more like, if you have a headache, you take a Tylenol and an hour later you’re like, ‘Oh my God, it’s gone’ — but you feel totally sober. That’s pretty much how CBD works. You feel totally sober, but you noticed the pain is gone or your anxiety has decreased and you’re lifting a depression, things like that. [It won’t get you high],” said Heather Steppe.
Will taking CBD return a positive drug test?
Standard drug screens typically do not test for CBD, according to KC Hemp Co. However, products that contain the psychoactive THC component of the plant could ping a green light in detection efforts.