The truth about Hemp

June 23, 2020

At Real Cannabis Club, the CBD that goes into our product range is sourced from high quality, sustainable, organically grown hemp. But what exactly is hemp? And how does it differ from cannabis?

Ryan McCreanor from The NI Association on Hemp discusses the history and truth of Hemp…

What is Hemp?

Firstly, hemp is cannabis! Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant species. It is often referred to as industrial hemp and there are a few key differences between hemp and the medical or recreational varieties of cannabis (commonly referred to as Marijuana).

A major difference between hemp and marijuana is the concentration of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is one of 100+ cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant and it is notorious for providing marijuana consumers with a ‘high’ feeling. Unlike marijuana, hemp does not contain enough THC to give this desired effect. 

To grow hemp legally in Europe, you must purchase approved hemp seed types from the EU plant variety database, with a THC content below 0.2%. Similarly, in the US, industrial hemp is defined as a Cannabis sativa L. plant not containing more than 0.3% THC. This incredibly low concentration of THC is not enough to produce an intoxicating effect.

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We import high quality hemp from artisan hand selected farms across Europe which has been purposely grown for the high concentration of CBD in its flowers. While high CBD varieties of hemp are best suited to create flowers for extracts, there are many other hemp varieties which have been grown for centuries for their fibre or seed.

As one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man, hemp has been used as an agricultural crop for over 10,000 years. In the past, it has been mandatory to grow hemp across Europe for the likes of medicines, food, rope, paper and textiles. During the time of King Henry VIII, hemp was a major crop and he decreed that all landholders set aside part of their farmed land for hemp or face hefty fees. In recent years there has been a resurgence in hemp cultivation across Europe as its potential to be a sustainable, profitable crop has been somewhat rediscovered.

Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet with thousands of potential end uses; every part of the plant can be utilised. Its seeds and flowers are used in health foods, animal feed, organic body care products and even paint. The fibres and stalks are used in hemp clothing, paper, biofuel and plastic composites. As Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs has discovered, it can even be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete, known as hempcrete.

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Hemp is fast-growing and can thrive in a wide variety of climates with little to no need for pesticides or other soil-polluting chemicals. It provides a good break crop for the farmer and has even been shown to improve yields in subsequent winter crops, making it an excellent rotational crop choice. 

Hemp is a fantastic phyto-remediator, nutrient accumulator and can even help to prevent soil erosion. Hemp has been shown to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop and is therefore the ideal carbon sink.

In this era of action against climate change, it is clear to see why farmers opting for environmentally sustainable agriculture are making the move to hemp cultivation.

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