Hemp, there and everywhere: Why Sir Paul McCartney is farming the latest trend

·4 min read
Sir Paul McCartney has revealed he is growing hemp on his farm, pictured in September 2019. (Getty Images)
Sir Paul McCartney has revealed he is growing hemp on his farm, pictured in September 2019. (Getty Images)

Sir Paul McCartney has revealed that he is growing hemp at his farm.

The singer, 79, has started producing crops of hemp as well as spelt wheat, rye and peas at his estate in Peasmarsh near Rye.

Speaking on the River Cafe Table 4 podcast the star said: "We grow crops, I like doing things like spelt wheat, rye, we grow peas.

"We're actually just getting into growing hemp, the funny thing with government regulations is you've got to keep it where people can't see it, because you get all the kids coming in and robbing it!"

Hemp, which is legal to grow in the UK if a licence is obtained, is a plant that comes from the same species as cannabis - a substance much enjoyed by the Beatles in their heyday. 

But unlike cannabis, hemp contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Read more: CBD oil: benefits, uses and the best available in the UK

Hemp has been hailed by experts as a 'wonder' crop. (Getty Images)
Hemp has been hailed by experts as a 'wonder' crop. (Getty Images)

What is hemp?

According to Peter Miles, founder of sustainability company, eHempHouse, hemp is an incredible plant that has been used by humanity for thousands of years to produce a vast array of products ranging from paper to textiles, building materials, rope and much more.

"It is often called the 'Magic Plant' because of its amazing properties and many experts see it as something that can help in humanity’s current battle with climate change," he explains. 

People are often confused about the difference between hemp and cannabis, but Miles says while they are both derived from the same Cannabis Sativa plant, industrial hemp contains virtually none - less than 0.03% - of the active narcotic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what gets you high with the drug cannabis.

Watch: UK farmers praise hemp as 'wonder crop' due to boost it gives to other crops. 

As well as being used to make a variety of products including cloth, cosmetics, rope, printer's ink, wood preservative, detergents, soaps, and lighting oil, hemp has far reaching environmental benefits too. 

"One of the main benefits of hemp is it sucks huge quantities of CO2 out of the atmosphere when it grows," explains Miles. 

"More in fact than trees - an acre of hemp will remove 10 tons of CO2 per acre per harvest," he adds. 

It is also what is called a phytoremediation plant, which means it actually repairs the soils where it is grown. 

"And it needs virtually no pesticides or insecticides unlike crops such as cotton," Miles adds. 

Read more: What is CBD oil - and can it help relieve stress and anxiety?

Hemp is used in a variety of products and has wide-reaching benefits according to experts. (Getty Images)
Hemp is used in a variety of products and has wide-reaching benefits according to experts. (Getty Images)

What are the health and wellbeing benefits of hemp?

According to Miles, hemp also has wide ranging health and wellbeing benefits including the documented benefits of medical marijuana to CBD oils that are increasingly being used in health and wellbeing products as well as some consumer goods.

"Even the foods that can be produced from industrial hemp seeds have been shown to have the perfect balance of things like Omega 3 and Omega 6," Miles adds. 

"Interesting studies have also shown that cattle fed on hemp seedcake grow faster and healthier."

While research is still under way to prove the health benefits of CBD oil, made from hemp, it is mostly praised by users for helping insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain and period pain.

It is believed hemp reacts to the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system, which regulates the body’s general state of balance and therefore has an impact on mood, sleep, hormone regulation and pain levels.

But it is the environmental benefits that are really helping to create a buzz around hemp right now. 

"There is now a small but growing group of passionate people who are evangelising all of the benefits of hemp, how it can help us combat climate change and how it is a more environmentally friendly and healthier option that has to be part of a future solution," Miles explains. 

"Whichever way you look, hemp can offer part of the solution. It has to be rehabilitated from the mistakes that were made when it was wrongfully included in the legal prohibition of the narcotic drug," he adds. 

Watch: Eddie Redmayne tried using CBD oil to calm his nerves. 

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