Active Mag speaks to Ed Haynes of LUNA & LEAF. The original article can be read in Active Mag.
We all know that growing cannabis is illegal and every now and then a case pops up of people growing it in their gardens or being caught out by growing it in their attic. It never created much interest and was just ‘one of those things.’ But times have changed – or are changing – if not people’s perceptions necessarily.
Hemp and cannabis could be described as ‘cousins’ in the plant world. Both have similar attributes and in some ways qualities, but with one huge difference. Cannabis makes you high, hemp does not. And this seems to be what many people, governments and businesses are finding it hard to get their heads around.
So much so that hemp, in this country if you want to use the whole plant, has to be grown under licence. And that licence is granted by the Home Office (and very difficult to get) rather than DEFRA, so it is not viewed as an agricultural crop. Historically hemp was a crop grown for many uses, and it still is today used to make rope, paper, clothing, insulation, food and biofuel. But if you want to use it to insulate your house, you apparently still have to get a government licence.
So what on earth is going on? Why, if hemp is not an addictive, hallucinogenic drug are we not allowed to grow it? That is probably a question for the experts. To put it bluntly hemp contains no more than 0.2% (dry weight) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive substance found in cannabis so does not affect anyone who uses it. Hemp is harmless and believed to be beneficial to health.
And because of this many people are now turning to hemp, or the CBD (cannabidiol) extract. It is not classed as a medicine, and retailers are very careful to not market it as such, rather as a food supplement. But it does seem to have medicinal qualities. And some view it as a panacea for all ills. It has been found to have anti inflammatory qualities.
“The healing ability of plants has always fascinated me and I knew that hemp offered these qualities.“
Many use it as a painkiller, others to help reduce anxiety and stress, others to aid sleep; it is believed to help acne and in some cases relieve cancer-related symptoms (but this is not always the case). Most of the people using CBD oil like the fact it is a natural product often viewing it as an alternative to over the counter or prescription pharmaceutical products. CBD oil is often used as a preventative measure so enabling painkillers and such to be avoided.
Somebody who has realised the benefits of hemp and CBD extract is Ed Haynes from Haynes Horticulture. Ed was brought up in a village near Stamford and educated locally before heading to London where he became involved in event management, particularly with regards to festivals including The Secret Garden Party. He lived life to the full in London, ‘but the pull of the soil kept pulling me back to the family business.’
Ed returned to the area and worked hard at Haynes Horticulture who manage, maintain and landscape large gardens in the area. But he had another passion as well. ‘I have always been interested in the soil and it and our relationship to nature. The healing ability of plants has always fascinated me and I knew that hemp offered these qualities. I have spent many years researching the crop and would really like to be able to grow it locally and am exploring the idea. But I know I need a licence, which is going to be difficult to get hold of.’
Undeterred Ed decided that he would start importing CBD extract from the USA, mixing his own blends in this country and then selling it; and so sister company Luna and Leaf was launched. ‘Initially I was only selling to family and friends but by word of mouth the company has grown and I now have a loyal following of customers. CBD oil is sold as a food supplement. I have a mixologist and we mix the hemp oil (MCT) with coconut oil. The THC in our oil is only 0.2% so it’s perfectly legal; you don’t get high and it is not addictive. I view the oil as part of a balanced diet. It is all natural and interacts with the receptors in your body; it is a prevention rather than a cure. CBD has really helped me as I came back from London ‘a broken man’ so to speak; exhausted, suffering from anxiety and high levels of stress. I needed to reacquaint myself with nature and get my life back on track which I have, and believe that CBD oil has helped. Interestingly my customers range in age from pensioners to teenagers, all enjoying the benefits of the oil.’
Interest in CBD oil in this country continues to grow at a rapid rate and the market is expanding hugely. Ed warns that you need to check what you buy is reliably sourced, and is actually what it is claimed to be as there are many ‘cowboys’ jumping on the bandwagon. In the UK any product with more than 0.2% THC in it is illegal and the oil cannot be sold as a medicine but has to be a food supplement. Medical claims are not legally allowed to be made, despite many people believing in the benefits.
Hemp and CBD oil are a minefield of medical, ethical and legal irregularities. But in this rapidly growing market it seems to warrant more research to see if the benefits are what they appear to be.