Farm Bill, CBD and Cosmetics

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On December 12th, the US Congress passed The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 as part of this year’s Farm Bill. And the bill is on its way to the White House for signature by the President. This legislation legalizes the agricultural production of Hemp in the United States, and it then regulates that activity.  This Act has no impact on marijuana.

So what does that mean for CBD and skincare?

Why Hemp Oil

Organic Hemp Oil is a sought-after oil for hair and skin care products.  Even without CBD or THC, Hemp Oil nourishes and hydrates skin. It is high in omega-3 and gamma-linolenic acid making it an excellent oil for dry or mature skin. We use it in lotions, hair & body oils, body balms, and scrubs.

With Hemp set to become a legal agricultural crop, US-produced Hemp will become available in more significant amounts, potentially reducing costs of importing Hemp.  As a note, Essential Wholesale’s Organic Hemp Oil is produced in Canada, and we’ll be evaluating new US producers as new sources come to market.

Cannabis Sativa – Industrial Hemp

The Hemp Farming Act defines Hemp as Cannabis Sativa and includes any part of the plant, including seeds and all derivatives: extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers.  The Bill also removes Hemp from the Controlled Substance Act.  It does not remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act Schedule I Drug list.

For a bit of historical context, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively banned cannabis derivatives like Hemp.  And, too, THC, CBD, and other derivatives have been listed on the Controlled Substance Schedule I drug schedule, making the sale and use illegal, although some states have enacted legislation to enable the sale and use of this substance.

CBD + Skincare = Maybe?

The clarity needed by skin care manufacturers and brands isn’t quite there yet. The Department of Agriculture governs industrial Hemp. Yet the FDA still retains control of how crops are used in personal care products. That means FDA will govern how CBD is used in food, cosmetics, and supplements. The FDA’s current position is that CBD IS NOT permitted in any of those personal care product categories. That said, the agency doesn’t appear to be actively going after CBD brands right now unless they’re making misleading health claims, which is part of the reason why we see so many brands making CBD products anyway.


ICMAD released a letter in December of 2019 contributing to the conversation regarding the use of CBD and Skincare.  Indie Beauty, Well + Good, and numerous Hemp lobbying organizations have written extensively about the impact of this bill on edibles, skincare, personal wellness products and more.

In its letter ICMAD states:

As to cosmetic use, THC’s at low levels have been permitted in cosmetic products under a pre-existing guidance document issued by the Justice Department and followed by the FDA. The basis for this guidance was that there was little risk that the THCs in the product would enter the body. Use of other compounds found in Hemp in cosmetic products would require establishment of safety and these compounds are probably not ingredients that would have been studied in the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, so marketers are on their own to establish safety for these other hemp compounds for topical use in cosmetics.

Well + Good’s blog post entitled GET READY FOR YOUR CBD OPTIONS TO BLOW UP—BECAUSE THE 2018 FARM BILL (FINALLY) PASSED, reminds us that while we are excited about Hemp and the passage of this Farm Bill, it doesn’t necessarily mean CBD is legal everywhere for every purpose.  In their post, Erin Magner writes:

Remember the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana? While CBD products produced from industrial hemp are no longer considered Schedule I substances, CBD products that come from marijuana plants with more than .03 percent THC are still federally illegal. (Even if the finished product itself has less than 0.3 percent THC.) Sure, most of the super-commercial CBD products we’re seeing today fall into the first category. But still, it’s a myth that anything with “CBD” on the label is going to be free and clear in 2019.

Murky Conclusions

At this point, it’s unclear how the FDA will respond to the Farm Bill. CBD insiders hope the FDA position will eventually come in line with that of the USDA, but the FDA may need some time and further research to clarify and issue guidance. Because we are regulated by the FDA, Essential will continue to avoid using CBD in production until the FDA alters its course.

The FDA’s position on the use of these various substances – THC and CBDs – can be found on the FDA website at the  following URL:


NOTE:  Essential Wholesale & Labs is not a CBD provider nor manufacturer. Nothing in this blog should be taken as legal or financial advice.



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2 years ago

Thanks most people are only in it for the Gold Rush
Tjankyou for the amazing work you do!!!

Cindi Buxton
2 years ago

Excellent article, Val!

2 years ago

Good article, but in regards to the “Gold Rush”, we manufacturers are aware of the urgent requests of our customers for more information and products that can meet their needs in ways that other ingredients cannot fulfill. We will be continuing to push for legalization to support the needs and demands of our customers.