Hemp production in the UK

We have seen some interesting changes in the world of Canna, recently in the UK. Who would have thought that medicinal canna oil would be available for sale in the UK? And, who would have thought that Hemp production would return to the UK?

The UK has a system of applying for a licence to grow hemp. Here is the licence overview from the government website:

You must pay a fee with your application. New licences usually cost £580, with licence renewals costing £326.
You must also undergo a Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) check to be eligible for a licence.
Your application may be subject to a compliance visit, although this is rare. Generally applications are considered by assessing your electronic application only.
The Home Office may impose restrictions on where you plant the crop. They may also request that you screen your crop or locate your crop sensitively, eg not in the vicinity of schools or areas of public access.
You must inform the Home Office of any changes to your growing season or planting location. You must send full details of your changes and your application reference or licence number. Your licence will not need to be amended.
You should also tell your local police where you’ll be growing hemp.
You must hold the licence before you can begin to grow hemp.
Licences last for a growing season, and you must renew your licence before you can begin to grow for the next season.

This information was Last updated: 12 November 2014

It seems that food products have been made from hemp since the late 90s in the UK. On a farm in Devon. Here is some information from their website.

“GOOD HEMP is made from UK hemp which is entirely herbicide and pesticide-free. Hemp is one of the world’s most sustainable plants, which locks up to four times as much carbon as a similar sized field of trees. It is the second fastest growing plant in the world and you can use the entire crop.

It is very sustainable and beneficial to the environment.
It is planted late in spring allowing the soil to be naturally healthy and wildlife to flourish.
Uses NO Pesticides or Herbicides.
Provides an excellent habitat for wildlife during the summer months and valuable feeding grounds on the fallow land over winter.
Has a long tap-root that is excellent for soil structure and health.
It is a very efficient carbon sequester.
It does not require much fuel to grow and harvest it, as timely sowing, good husbandry and beneficial crop rotation means that there is no need for weed control during the growing period (either mechanical or chemical).
Once harvested we use the seeds for our GOOD Hemp Oil and our HEMP Protein, and the rest of the crop is used for the following:

The straw is used to make Hemcrete, one of the most eco-friendly building materials available. It works as a great insulator as well as ‘locking’ CO2. The fibre is supplied to BMW for the doors of 3 & 5 Series cars. The fibre reduces the weight per car by approximately 1 kg, thus enabling fuel efficiency.
The dust cleaned from the seed is supplied to worm farms.
Leaf matter supplies essential nutrients back to the soil as a natural fertiliser.”

Every 400 litres of OIL produces enough hemp straw to build an entire Eco-house. This amount of straw locks a net gain of 7.5t of CO2. More than annual CO2 produced by the average UK Household.

Put another way, 1 litre of OIL produces enough straw to lock the equivalent CO2 produced by the average 80 mile car journey.

This is information from The Hemp Store website:

“Currently Industrial hemp is grown either for the seeds to produce oil (for use in the food and cosmetic industries) or for fibre (for use, amongst other things in the building, automotive and marine industries) such is the versatility of this wonderful plant!

Could a dual purpose hemp plant be possible, reaping both benefits from the single planting?

Firstly a plant where the seed and the fibre mature at the same time would be required (seeds ripen some one month after the fibre is fit for harvest.) Secondly a suitable harvesting system or machine would be needed. The seed requires plenty of tlc whereas the strongest natural fibre in the stem needs the opposite.

Steven Eyles, an agricultural engineer with no little experience on the matter, has already designed and built a prototype machine for the single produce harvest. Its simplicity and functionality was praised by those farmers who had used it during the past 2 harvests.

So two main items top the “wish list”A plant breeding program (most current varieties use French seed) and the chance for Steven to take his harvesting machine to the next level. Both need investment. The inevitable question is “who’s going to pay?”

Here is some information from the website UK Medicinal Cannabis Project:

“Some members of the House of Lords select committee suggested that a charitable foundation be set up to support research. The result was The Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation which is a UK registered charity that raises money for medicinal cannabis research and education.”
The Company
In 1997 Dr Guy approached the UK Home Office and was granted licenses to cultivate, possess and supply cannabis for research purposes. Since then 20,000 cannabis plants have been grown and work is continuing on new formulation and delivery techniques. When Dr Guy was granted the licenses he set up a company through which to operate them called GW Pharmaceuticals Ltd.”
The UK CBD website has a lot of information on CBDs – UK CBD import the Charlotte’s Web products have a lot of very interesting information on the process and products. Here is some of the website content:

“Our CBD is simply a natural constituent of industrial hemp oil. To Legally make any medicinal or Health claims about what CBD can do you must be licensed my the MHRA.”

Industrial Hemp is naturally high in CBD and naturally low in THC, whereas most Cannabis is just the opposite (high THC, low in CBD) otherwise they are genetically the same plant ‘Cannabis sativa’ which is an annual herbaceous plant in the Cannabis genus, a species of the Cannabaceae family.
‘Hemp’ (low THC Cannabis) products also have the added bonus of being 100% Legal”.

Hopefully, we can see more products grown and manufactured that utilize this most remarkable plant.

HEMP-UK-2

Sources:

GOV.UK

Good Hemp Website

cannabis research uk

UK CBD


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