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Responsible CBD: From the fields of HempFlax to the shelves of Holland & Barrett

Published: Aug 25, 2022   

Speaking at the Analytical Cannabis Expo Europe 2021, Mark Reinders, CEO and Board Member of HempFlax and European Industrial Hemp Association presented his talk on responsible CBD.

Abstract: HempFlax, Europe’s largest independent hemp grower and processor, cultivates over 2,000 hectares of industrial hemp every year. Much of that is processed into CBD and sold in Holland & Barrett under the Jacob Hooy brand, where it is one of the UK’s top-selling CBD brands. It is not without good reason that Europe’s leading health and wellbeing store stocks CBD grown and processed by HempFlax. With 25 years of hemp cultivating experience, HempFlax has come to learn that quality starts in the field, not the factory.

It is for this reason that HempFlax pioneered CanCheck.org, a free-to-use online CBD tracing tool, where every link of the CBD supply chain is verified by blockchain. Developed with the Cannabinoid Association of the Netherlands (CAN), a consortium of Dutch CBD producers, CanCheck.org drives unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability by empowering consumers to trace CBD products from the shelf to seed. Traceable products, which include all Jacob Hooy CBD, are identifiable by the CAN Quality Mark which appears on products and which delivers consistent and clear product composition analysis conducted by accredited laboratories.

It is schemes such as this that Mark, HempFlax and the European Industrial Hemp Association believe will determine the future of CBD. UK and EU Novel Food regulation simply isn’t suited to hemp-derived CBD, which has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and it does not ensure consumer safety. As UK and EU regulation of CBD continues to be unresolved, consumer safety falls to responsible producers such as HempFlax – and will continue to do so regardless of the regulatory outlook.

Simultaneously, HempFlax is a founding member of EIHA’s Novel Food consortium, which has submitted a joint Novel Food application in order to ease the financial burden (estimated at €350,000-€500,000 per individual applicant). The consortium has passed the UK FSA’s key administrative checks, allowing members’ products to remain on UK shelves. Full authorisation is expected after EIHA-sponsored CBD and THC toxicological testing is completed. Mark is confident that these studies will demonstrate the safety of naturally occurring trace levels of THC in hemp foods and supplements, prompting lawmakers to establish a risk apparatus consistent with alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Only then can we protect consumers whilst allowing a competitive hemp food industry to the thrive.

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