About Hemp

The Benefits of Growing Hemp


  • Hemp is one of the most versatile, prolific & synergistic tools available to tackle key environmental challenges, such as CO2 & land contamination.
  • It bio-remediates contaminated soil, improves soil structure & nutrient levels, and can lead to greater yields in follow on crops, such as wheat.
  • Hemp grows without the need of pesticides or herbicides & needs minimal water. It’s one of the most effective CO2 offsets, as it can grow up to 5 metres in only 3-4 months.
  • Hemp is a sustainable raw material & can make approx 10,000+ environmentally responsible & bio-degradable products including plastics, fuel & fibre.
  • Most importantly Hemp can empower small local communities by providing local manufacturing & industry.


While they come from the same plant species; Cannabis Sativa, hemp products have only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Industrial Hemp cannot get you high.


In 1533, King Henry VIII made hemp cultivation compulsory by law. For every 60 acres, farmers had to grow about 1/4 acre of flax or hemp, or else they would face a fine for breaking the law. They could even pay their taxes with Hemp.


In the UK, it is estimated that the maximum area under cultivation is no more than 810 hectares.  By comparison,  in 2016, Europe cultivated over 33,000 hectares of industrial hemp an increase of more than 30% on the previous year.  


Although the size of the UK hemp cultivation sector is currently extremely small, we are already bringing innovation to the industry through pioneering research at York University and other leading institutions.


Globally, hemp has been recognised for thousands of years as an extremely versatile, robust and environmentally friendly plant delivering considerable societal and economic benefits to people and communities.


For hemp to be a viable cash crop for our farmers and processors, we need to be allowed to utilise the entire plant.  The BHA’s focus is to contribute to inform, educate and lobby for progressive and environmentally responsible legislative change.

Market Entry Opportunities

Hemp offers over 10,000 diverse industrial applications ranging from an ideal plant protein to a graphene substitute and including; bioplastics, construction, food and beverages, textiles, paper, composite panels for the automotive industry, food supplements, other composite materials and biofuels.

The BHA connects hemp farmers, processors, entrepreneurs and other hemp-based businesses to help this rapidly growing sector become a major and environmentally beneficial industry in the UK.

“It has been calculated that the serial implementation of lightweight biomaterials on high volume vehicles will deliver a reduction of 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions and the ability to drive an additional 325 million kilometres with the same quantity of fuel.” – Autocar Pro News Desk 18 Mar , 2018

Hemp Cultivation and Farming

The BHA has responded to the Defra Consultation: Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit which closed on 8 May 2018.  Our contribution to this consultation is the first step towards creating a Hemp Farm Bill.  

The BHA supports farmers and the hemp industry by educating and lobbying to remove current barriers, which dates back to legislation created in the 1960s and bring hemp into the 21st century.  Our aim is to enable utilisation of the whole plant.

If you are interested in growing industrial hemp, you will need to apply to the Home Office for a cultivation licence. Please read this important Hemp Growers Information provided by the Home Office.

Industrial Applications

At present the hemp industry is limited in its industrial applications due to the barriers to growth and the restrictions placed on businesses and growers, specifically, being unable to process the whole plant. 

The scale of opportunity for hemp’s numerous industrial applications is considerable and global.  The worldwide movement towards creating environmentally responsible manufactured products places industrial hemp at the forefront of product innovation, with major societal and economic benefits  possible for the UK.  

Europe is expected to grow over 125,000 acres of hemp in 2018, supplying the car composites market. Canada is expected to cultivate around 250,000 acres, and now has the first industrial scale bio-plastics facility.  China has also increased its hemp output in the last few years. It grew 74,000 acres in 2017 and is expected to cultivate 150,000 acres this year.  The Chinese army became the first bulk consumers for uniforms and socks.  At the 2017 International Conference On Hemp Industry the Chinese Hemp Alliance showcased very fine hemp fabrics of an unprecedented quality.    

Hemp Foods and CBD Oils 

Naturally gluten-free, Hemp seed protein can supply any diet with a vegetarian source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll, together with the essential fatty acids and amino acids 3-6-9 needed for a healthy body and mind.

Hemp-derived cannabidiol or CBD has been declared by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, as safe and tolerated in humans and animals. Supplements obtained from hemp contain many health promoting compounds, including particularly the phytocannabinoids/CBD and also provides important nutrients to maintain, support and optimise our mental and physical well-being.

If you are a producer, primary importer or UK white/private label brand owner, you need to comply with UK Food Law.  The BHA is working on a document for members that references food law and best practice when selling hemp extract/CBD food supplements. If you are a reseller, there is no obligation to join any particular association; all you need to do is comply with the Health Claims Regulations.  

Join the BHA
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