Hemp has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, from clothing to fuel. However, in the early 20th century, the demand of its cousin “cannabis” for recreational use caused hemp to be banned in most countries, including the UK. In 1928, the UK government was the first to formally distinguish between the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in hemp and its psychoactive counterpart, THC. Nowadays, hemp is used to create anything from hemp protein powder, CBD oil, hemp oil, dairy free milk, clothing, biofuel, and more.
It has the potential to be a very profitable crop for local farmers, with some sources estimating that the CBD industry could be worth one billion pounds sterling by 2025. Hemp also has a range of environmental benefits as it is a carbon-free crop and absorbs more carbon than it emits in its production process. Unfortunately, it was cheaper to import hemp from abroad than to grow it at home in the early 20th century, causing Britain's hemp crops to fall into constant decline. This was compounded by media uproar and propaganda against the cultivation and use of hemp and marijuana. As a result, hemp plants are still restricted and considered a dangerous plant by policy makers.
However, there have been some changes in attitudes towards hemp and the benefits of growing CBD. The largest hemp (cannabis sativa) farm in the United Kingdom was ordered to destroy its crop without having its license renewed due to confusion over cultivation and harvesting regulations. Official research conducted in 1894 showed that there was no link between cannabis and mental health or antisocial behavior in India. Hemp may encounter new frontiers sooner rather than later as attitudes towards it continue to change. As long as hemp plants can be legally used to their full potential, local farmers will benefit greatly.