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Weed on a natural high

Posted on November 11, 2004

Leeds, United Kingdom — Organic food lovers in Leeds are stocking up on Yorkshire-grown cannabis. But as there’s no chance of getting high from the environmentally-friendly hemp plants, which are used in foods and other goods, local police are none too concerned about the crop’s popularity.

Hemp seeds are now being used to make everything from ice cream and burgers to shampoo and soap. And Leeds store Out of This World is shifting shelf loads of the goods — many of which use hemp grown at a farm in Wakefield.

And organisers of the north’s first Organic Food Festival in Ilkley later this month are hoping the products will be one of the highlights of the event. Shoppers will get the chance to taste goods made from the cannabis plant family at the festival at Ilkley King’s Hall on Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

Staff from the Out of This World organic supermarket on New Market Street, Leeds, will be offering food made from Yorkshire hemp including chocolate, seed snacks, muesli, flour, pancake mix, energy bars and oil.

Out of This World manager, Damian Tapper, from Ilkley, said: “Hemp is traditionally more famous for its narcotic powers but it’s gaining a reputation as a wonder plant that’s environmentally friendly, incredibly healthy and also amazingly versatile.”

Protein

He added: “Hemp food is full of protein and essential fatty acids, so it’s really good for you. It’s also an environmentally friendly crop — it doesn’t need fertilisers and pesticides to grow. It matches our philosophy entirely — good for people and good for the environment.”

The only warning we should give is that it won’t give you a high, commercial hemp has a very low narcotic content.

Paul Jenkinson from Yorkshire Hemp, the Wakefield-based company that supplies the store, said: “Historically it was a very valuable crop — it was grown across Yorkshire to make rope, sails and paper.”

In recent times hemp has begun to experience a renaissance. “Farmers in this area are slowly rediscovering its potential.”

Grass tacks: A hemp factfile

  • Hemp is grown in 20 countries
  • Hemp is not marijuana but comes from the same family. Hemp has tiny, and legal, levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the drug found in marijuana which makes people high. Cultivating of hemp requires a licence
  • Hemp seed is more nutritious than soya bean, contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, is second only to soya beans in complete protein (but is more digestible by humans), is high in B vitamins, and is 35 per cent dietary fibre.
  • Until 1883, more than three quarters of the world’s paper was made from hemp fibre. Bank notes are still made from it
  • Trees take approximately 20 years to mature. Hemp takes four months.

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