b'EDITORS MESSAGEBREAKING THE GRASS CEILINGapplications. Europes most establishedRecently the European Parliament uses for hemp fibres are paper and pulp,Committee on Agriculture and Rural along with biocomposites, which are usedDevelopment approved a proposal that in the automotive industry, and for insu- would see THC limits increase from 0.2% lation materials. Also, hemp shivs, whichto 0.3%. Planned to be enacted in 2021, is a by-product of the fibre extractionthe proposed change is the result of con-process, have long-established Europeancerted pressure from hemp growers wish-commercial usesprimarily as animaling to compete on a more even playing bedding, but also increasingly for use infield with global competitors. And some the construction industry, especially forcountries are already taking the next insulation. step, raising the maximum THC level to And recently, along with the tremen- 1% such as Switzerland.dous increase in overall cultivation, theAnother sign of the increasing pop-European market has experienced a greatularity is the shift in use. A decade ago, surge in its use of seeds and flowers, alongmost hemp seeds were used for animal Marcel Bruins with associated applications of thosefeed. The European Industrial Hemp hemp components. Hemp transformersAssociation (EIHA) now estimates that F or the last several years, Europeansource 90% of their raw material from60% of the crop is used for human food, hemp cultivation has been on awithin Europe. with only 40% of it for animal feed. major upswing and producers andBut it is not just the fibres and theThat shift is expected to continue as consumers have become quite excitedseeds that humans are using. The plantEuropeans become more aware of the about new usage opportunities. Butproduces over 120 naturally occurringbenefits of hemp and its omega fatty acid the crop itself is not that new. Hempso-called cannabinoids with the mostprofile. The EU has also seen a major (Cannabis sativa) has been cultivatedfamous being the psycho-active tetrahy- increase in the last four years in the har-for well over 10,000 years, some even saydrocannabinol (THC) and the non psychovesting of hemp flowers and leaves for as far back as 50,000 years. Referencesactive cannabidiol (CBD). medical and food applications (primarily datingbacktoancientChinaandIt is important to note that hemparound CBD).Mesopotamia have the crop down as an(sometimes referred to as industrialTo further underline the strong important source of food and fibre. Buthemp) is a term used to classify varietiesinterest in hemp and cannabis, lets take it all started off with the use of hemp asof cannabis that contain less than a cer- a look at the numbers of applications for simple rope and coarse woven fabric andtain percentage of THC (by dry weight),plant breeders rights at the CPVO. Over from there on to paper and sail cloth.and marijuana is a term used to classifythe past 20 years, close to 200 applica-Other parts of the plant were also used.varieties of cannabis that contain moretions have been filed. 54 of those are For example, hemp seed and flowers werethan that percentage of THC. The legal- granted certificates, and a whopping known to provide medical comfort fromity of hemp varies widely between coun- 110 are active applications, all filed in a variety of ailments during the period oftries, with some governments regulatingthe past four years. This shows that not 2700 BC through to Roman times. the concentration of THC and permit onlyonly farmers are embracing the crop, but In Europe, hemp cultivation is wellhemp that is bred with an especially lowalso plant breeders are working hard to established and has a tradition datingTHC content. In Europe, this thresholdprovide better varieties. And the massive back many centuries. In 2018, a little overlevel is set at 0.2%, whereas in most otherbreeding focus on this rediscovered crop 50,000 ha of hemp was grown in Europe,countries it is 0.3%. is good news for many industries, such up 3.3 % over 2017, and up 70 % comparedAnd this is where there is a bit ofas manufacturing, paper, textile, certain to the five-year average. Estimates indi- controversy. Hemp with a 0.3% THC ratiotypes of patients and for the environment. cate that Europe cultivates up to 25% ofcan often produce CBD levels of up toEuropes hemp market is working through the worlds hemp: France alone accounts15% whilst EU hemp at 0.2% THC strug- some growing pains, but while doing so, it for about 37% of the European produc- gles to exceed CBD levels of 3%. Thanksis also quickly building a strong, diverse tion, and at least 20 other countries con- to research, there is a growing market forhemp industry for the future with high tribute to the European Unions total. CBD and it is being incorporated into aquality new varieties to back them up. Over the years, Europe has devel- wide range of products including cos-oped a strong processing infrastructure,metics, foods and beverages, and is beingMarcel Bruinsand a high quality finished-goods industrypromoted for treatment of a wide range ofeditorial director, European Seedbased on using hemp fibres in industrialailments including anxiety, pain and more. mbruins@issuesink.com4IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'