In 2010 UK consumers spent £300m on Cannabidiol (CBD) products, which are promoted widely as a legal means to relieve pain, lower inflammation and decrease anxiety without psychoactive effects. All CBD oil is currently imported, as although UK farmers can grow industrial hemp for its fibres, the most lucrative parts of the plant – the leaves and flowers – that contain CBD must be destroyed. The potential of hemp and CBD, which both come from a variety of Cannabis sativa L. is to be debated at the Agri-TechE event ‘From Farmer to Pharma – and beyond – with Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp’, on 12th May.
The fibres of hemp have long been used for ropes and materials, and now this versatile crop is being exploited for construction materials, animal feed, biofuel and, more recently, as a plant-based alternative plastic. It fits well within a rotation and its cultivation in the UK is increasing.
Agri-TechE Director Belinda Clarke reflects that the Agri-TechE team is seeing increasing interest across the network in developing a more in-depth understanding of the potential of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis, where there are opportunities for breeders, growers and processors, as well as those applying for licenses and aiming to develop and support additional markets.
‘From Farmer to Pharma’ will see growers, legal experts and industry members from the UK and internationally, discuss the uses and market for industrial hemp, the licencing process and the potential for medicinal uses. The event will run from 9:50 am to 4:30 pm on Wednesday 12th May, and is in partnership with Hanway Associates, a leading strategic consultancy specialising in the cannabis sector.