Hemp is legal to grow in the UK but farmers are not allowed to use the flower – where cannabinoids like CBD are produced. CBD is legal, however, and CBD products can be imported from other countries and sold in the UK.
No doubt about it, this is a ridiculous situation that sees the UK lag behind in an already sizeable industry that is going to carry on growing.
While UK hemp laws are baffling and seem to prohibit hemp flower being sold in the UK, many believe that there are ways of selling it legally – these include marketing it as tea and ensuring it is an EU-approved variety with negligible concentrations of THC.
This has led to an active a number of online and physical shops selling high-grade hemp flower over recent years. And although there have been a few prosecutions and shipments are often confiscated, a number of established vendors have been operating well out in the open with little interference from the authorities for some time.
Our current hemp laws are outdated and untidy. The UK stands to benefit immensely from a fully legal and regulated hemp flower industry. Just like they are in Switzerland, Belgium and the U.S, to name but a few.
With all that in mind, here are 10 reasons why I think the UK should have a regulated hemp flower industry:
1. Allows domestic production of CBD
By legalising and regulating hemp flower, it opens up the UK to start producing all manner of CBD products. If this happened, there would be little need to import CBD products from outside the country, meaning a boost to the domestic industry and thousands of new jobs.
2. Safer and cleaner products
Currently, there are many different CBD hemp flower products available in the UK. But while the industry remains unregulated and half in the shadows, maintaining quality standards on these products is impossible.
For example, some hemp flower may be grown using pesticides, while there is some evidence that others are sprayed with CBD isolate to artificially boost their cannabinoid content. A regulated industry could make sure strict standards are upheld and products are safer and cleaner.
3. No chance of abuse
Hemp flower has minimal levels of THC alongside high levels of CBD. Therefore, any psychoactive effects are extremely subtle and the risk of abuse is incredibly low. Even the World Health Organisation has found CBD to have very little potential for abuse.
4. Less anxiety
CBD is very effective at reducing anxiety. And anxiety is a massive problem in the UK these days. In fact, it’s probably one of the most common mental disorder in Britain, especially among younger people.
5. Less liver disease
CBD has been found to protect the liver from the negative effects of alcohol. So while alcohol remains such a big part of so many Brits’ lives, it would be wise for these people to increase their CBD intake too.
6. Less cigarette smoking
Hemp flower makes the perfect tobacco substitute. It can even be rolled into cigarettes. And the best part is that smoking cannabis is not linked with lung cancer. In fact, the only risk of smoking hemp flower found in studies is reversible lung damage.
7. Tax revenue potential
Hemp flower is more effective than CBD oil. This is partly why it’s such a popular product. The industry is already exploding in the U.S, as well as in European countries like Switzerland, Italy and Belgium.
8. Opportunity to learn before full legalisation
Complete cannabis legalisation is more of an inevitability than a possibility, in my eyes. Therefore, regulating hemp flower could be a good exercise in learning how to do introduce a legal cannabis industry effectively.
It could also help change peoples’ perspectives on cannabis in general, leading to more recognition of other cannabinoids like THC.
9. Improved mental health
It is important to realise that CBD has the ability to counteract the negative effects of THC and to have antipsychotic properties. It can also reduce anxiety, depression and inflammation, which is linked with mental health disorders.
10. Less addiction
A number of studies have shown CBD to be effective at treating various addictions. This seems to be due to its anti-anxiety effects, as well as its ability to alter the attention bias, which can make triggers to addictive behaviours less appealing.
For some reason, it is illegal to harvest the flower of legally-grown hemp plants in the UK. CBD is legal, however. So if we want CBD we have to import it from another country. Pretty dumb, right?
This is why we need a regulated hemp flower industry.