CBD products come from hemp, a cousin to the marijuana plant with less of the intoxicant THC. Hemp is virtually indistinguishable from marijuana except through chemical testing. Hemp can grow in many climates, but one of the best places to grow hemp is Kentucky.

Why does hemp love Kentucky? There are several reasons that hemp thrives in the commonwealth. Most of the reasons have to do with geology, geography, and history.

Kentucky is a landlocked state, but this region sits on a massive bed of limestone, which was once the floor of a prehistoric ocean. This bedrock produces some of the richest and nutritious water and soil in the world. In addition, it gives the drinking water a sweet taste.

This water quality is fundamentally why Kentucky bourbon is not replicable elsewhere. The limestone bedrock filters the iron from the groundwater and leaves calcium and magnesium deposits in the water. As a result, this water doesn’t discolor the bourbon-like iron-heavy water can.

This water is also, in theory, one of the reasons why this region produces some of the fastest Thoroughbred racehorses. This is because the calcium deposits in the limestone-filtered water make their way into the soil then into the grass that the horses graze on in the Bluegrass region. Theoretically, this calcium makes the horses’ bones stronger, giving them an edge at the track.

Hemp is a strong bio-accumulator. That means it sucks up and stores whatever is in the soil. Hemp is such a strong bio-accumulator that it can be used to rid fields of toxins. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to buy CBD products sourced from American hemp.

Many other countries where hemp is grown have fewer pollution regulations and therefore have pollutants in their soil. Hemp will absorb these pollutants, and they can end up concentrated in your CBD products. In Kentucky, being a solid bioaccumulator means that hemp is absorbing that mineral-rich water and soil.

Kentucky is also positioned on the 37th parallel, the same latitude line that runs through the Hindu Kush mountain range between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is the region where all strains of indica cannabis originated. That means that Kentucky shares the same light cycles as the region that originated this legendary strain of cannabis. However, the Hindu Kush is a rugged, rocky, mountainous region, whereas Kentucky has one of the greatest agricultural microclimates in the world. That’s another huge reason why hemp flourishes so well in Kentucky.

Settlers in Kentucky farmed hemp since at least 1775. Before that, Native Americans had been cultivating an indiginous strain of hemp for centuries. For the past 250 years, farmers in Kentucky have been growing hemp, even when it wasn’t legal. Family farms are still strong in Kentucky, including family-owned and operated hemp farms.

In 2018, the Farm Bill changed the hemp industry forever by making hemp with under 0.3 percent THC legal in the United States. The law was championed by Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell.

Next time you’re perusing the shelves of your favorite health food store looking for hemp gummies with CBD and THC. As you read the labels as a good CBD consumer, consider that one thing you should look for on the label should always be “Made in Kentucky.”