By Tui Benjamin
The UK and Ireland’s largest ever HEMP farm – spanning more than 500 acres – has been planted.
The huge drug farm, located on the fertile Cooley Peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland, will allow hundreds of thousands of cannabis plants to be grown each year to make CBD oil.
Hemp is a strain of Cannabis grown specifically for industrial use to extract Cannabidiol – a naturally-occurring chemical compound also known as CBD – to make CBD oil and other associated products.
A Home Office licence is needed to legally grow it in the UK and many crops must be screened and not grown near schools or public areas.
Paul McCourt, CEO & co-founder of Celtic Wind Crops, Ireland’s largest CBD oil producer and the company which owns the site, said: “The hemp plant was one of the earliest plants to be cultivated and I’ve spent the last 10 years testing the very best hemp seeds to grow in harmony with the Irish climate and soil.
“Myself and my business partner, Alan Stewart, have dedicated ourselves and our business to using the best agricultural techniques to harvest the crop.”
CBD oil is legal because it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which is cannabis’ psychoactive compound.
The supplement is often squeezed under the tongue, drizzled on food or even drunk in coffee and is said to help with a range of health problems.
Celtic Wind Crops has been growing and farming hemp for the last decade, using a cold-pressing technique similar to high end olive oil production to bottle the CBD oil.
The company said the 500-acre environmentally-friendly farm would create a habitat for birds, bees, ladybirds and other insects by being planted to include ‘wildlife corridors’ and would help reduce carbon dioxide in the air.
Paul added: “We have created a fully sustainable hemp business.”