Hemp Worldwide: What’s Happening Around The World

hemp worldwide

Keeping on top of the local news, it’s easy to see that hemp is making strides toward becoming a lucrative industry here at home. With its legalization as of 2018, not only are many farmers considering hemp as their next crop, but shops selling CBD and other hemp-derived products are popping up everywhere. Hemp worldwide, indeed.

The many uses for hemp make it an amazing product to consider for uses beyond what may first come to mind. Yes, you can smoke it and ingest it. You can use it topically too, but it’s also a viable ingredient for paper, fiber, and building materials. It could become the main component in animal feed. It may even be what you reach for as a non-dairy substitute.

Hemp is here to stay in a big way, and the U.S. sees potential, but what’s going on in other countries? Are they on our same track, seeing things differently, or getting ahead of the game?

Europe

Perhaps the biggest jump in the perception of hemp worldwide took place throughout Europe recently. The European Commission, who previously cited CBD as a narcotic, has changed their tune. They’re even considering it for classification as a food.

This change not only impacts the hemp industry in Europe, but it goes a long way to repair the stigma attached to hemp. It’s often perceived as being the same as marijuana. And, although both compounds come from the cannabis plant, only marijuana gets you high, due its high levels of THC. Hemp does not.

While hemp-derived products have been available throughout Europe for quite some time, this change now makes all these items legal to sell and more accessible to consumers.

In Europe today, France and Lithuania lead the charge in hemp acres planted. To meet demand, in 2019, France planted almost 36,000 acres while Lithuania topped out at about 22,550.

South America

A mixed bag, some South American countries already have a reputation for growing cannabis. Farming strains with less THC then becomes an easy transition. Columbia, for example, is already making inroads at growing applicable Pharma-oriented extracts from hemp.

While the country uses the same word — cannabis — for both marijuana and hemp, it did legalize cannabis for medical use in 2016. At that point, it made a distinction between psychoactive cannabis and non-psychoactive cannabis. This is like our distinction between marijuana and hemp. In Columbia, psychoactive cannabis is anything with more than one percent THC.

At the same time Columbia is digging in, its neighbor, Ecuador, is still only in the preliminary stage. As of June 2019, hemp harvesting and cultivation became legal, setting the bar at one percent THC to retain its classification.

This legalization though didn’t create widespread use. It’s currently only allowed for use for industrial purposes, such as making fiber, as well as for medical, scientific, and research purposes.

Asia

Looking to Asia, it’s a must to talk about China. They may be the world’s top hemp producer, and maybe even the longest-running hemp grower. Well before the modern hemp craze, China knew it was worth growing for fiber and for its seeds.

Even so, China did experience a time when hemp was illegal, like much of the rest of the world. The prohibition lifted in 2010, allowing the industry to basically explode around the country.

Today, China produces more than half the hemp grown in the world, planting around 164,800 acres in 2019. Most of what’s grown there gets used for fiber.

Buying hemp? Support local businesses.

While hemp worldwide seems to focus on its other uses, in the U.S. the primary market today is extracting cannabinoids. Compounds like CBD, CBN, CBC, and CBG are infusing all kinds of products for consumers to ingest and apply topically.
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