A recent proposition to increase the THC levels in European cannabis from 0.2% to 0.3% could hold major benefits, according to the Cannabis Trades Association. For those looking for participation in the booming CBD industry, this could be a major breakthrough.
The approved varieties in Europe were usually bred for seed and stalk. When both sexes are situated in the same plant, a lot of energy is spent in producing seeds rather than the actual cannabinoids. The increase in THC could mean more production of female plants or dioecious breeds with higher CBD percentage. This is good news for EU farmers – the greater the number of cannabinoids, the higher their crop value.
In April 2019, a batch of proposals was submitted to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy to increase THC percentage, which is slated to be implemented in 2021. The proposals came along as a result of direct pressure from hemp growers. Currently, the EU approves 68 varieties of hemp, all of which have low THC, strong stems, more fiber, and more seeds. Hemp with 0.3% THC ratio can produce up to 15% CBD, compared to 3% CBD produced by EU-approved hemp. With New Zealand’s laws promoting the distribution of medical cannabis, this decision would give EU hemp farmers a better chance at the global competition.
THC limits in Europe date back all the way to 1984. Until 1987, the THC limits were 0.5%, reported by the Hemp Gazette. Later it was reduced to 0.3%, a standard seen in the USA and Australia. However, it was lowered to 0.2% in 1999, to lower the chances of illegal marijuana cultivation in industrial fields. The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) argue, that ‘an increase from 0.2% to 0.3% is perfectly safe and does not encourage illicit cannabis production or subsequent drug abuse.’ Although some might claim that cannabis isn’t as detrimental as other forms of drugs, these claims are yet to be proven.
Guy Coxall, Chairman of HempTank and the Compliance Director of the Cannabis Trades Association mentioned that the UK farmers, despite being part of EU, are held back by outdated Home Office laws, and are unable to use flowers and leaves for that reason. As a result, in the UK, all CBD is imported. HempTank received feedbacks from UK farmers to place pressure on Home Office to abandon these rules, which still regard hemp leaves and flowers as Class B controlled substances.
Mr. Coxall further stated that the World Health Organization has decided that all CBD products with less than 0.2% THC has to be removed from drug scheduling, and the EU is simply following their guidelines. Post-Brexit, Hemp Tank is working hard to push the UK Home Office to adopt the guidelines set by WHO.
Mr. Coxall added that the increase to 0.3% THC can surely help EU farmers, but this will take time. The U.S hemp farmers already produce 15% CBD, and if Home Office really want the best for the farming community, they would surely treat hemp like any other agricultural crop for economic reasons. While the confusions about CBD rages across New York, the EU can look forward to a more pliable market.