Europe is currently experiencing a green rush. Unlike in the U.S., however, where widespread relaxation of cannabis laws have led to a burgeoning legal cannabis industry, Europe’s green rush is centered around hemp.
That’s right, Europe’s hemp farmers are exploiting a law that allows certain varieties of low-THC cannabis to be grown. The law is in place to allow the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes, such as for fabrics and paper, which can be made from the plant’s string fibres.
Inspired by the huge and rapidly-growing demand for CBD in Europe, these innovative farmers realized that they could cultivate high-CBD hemp plants completely legally, so long as they stuck to the regulations.
EU-approved hemp strains
These regulations dictate that only certain varieties of hemp can be grown – a list of EU-approved strains is published each year – and that the plants must not exceed more than 0.2% THC (higher in some European countries). THC is the intoxicating compound in cannabis. The levels of CBD in hemp, however, are not regulated.
This means that cultivators have been able to develop through selective breeding and modern growing techniques to produce high-quality hemp flowers (buds) with high levels of CBD and minimal levels of THC that are legal throughout the EU and much of the world. These buds look, smell, and smoke just like ‘the real thing’. They just don’t get you high.
The Swiss lead the way
This green rush began in Switzerland just over a year-or-so ago. The country has higher limits on THC (1% as opposed the UK’s 0.2%) than most other European countries, which has seen them become the leaders in this exciting new industry.
Along with a huge range of high-quality flowers, more CBD-rich products are also now available in many European countries. These include several types of hash and oils. Shops with legal cannabis products on sale can now be found in Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Poland, and the UK.[Image credit: Pixabay]