People have grown hemp illegally for years. Farmers have kept their business quiet and developed their own techniques that are slightly different, says Christian Cypher, senior director of Pyxus International, who heads the agricultural company's cannabis work.
"Growing hemp has been more religion than science," he said.
Most hemp farmers grow the plant as a tomato, an animal and intensive process, said David Williams, an agronomist at the University of Kentucky studying hemp. This model works for marijuana because you want the flower to look and smell fine. For hemp that will be used to extract CBD, this system is incredibly expensive and unnecessary since you only care about what's inside the flower, Williams said.
"If the molecule is of interest and is widely distributed, it must be far more effective than what we have today," he said.