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Early success for hemp harvest


Early success for hemp harvest

Hemp has been harvested for the first time on a commercial scale in New Zealand.


The trial crop, grown in Mid Canterbury, is the culmination of two years research and trials to produce hemp oil, renowned for its health-giving properties.

The innovative venture was undertaken by Ashburton companies Midlands Seed Ltd (MSL) and Oil Seed Extractions Ltd (OSEL).

OSEL and MSL have combined forces to work through the legislation surrounding the commercial production of hemp, a cousin of marijuana.

In the past hemp has been grown for its fibre. This crop has been harvested for the seed oil, which is extracted by Œcold pressing,¹ OSEL director Bruce Hill said.

Hemp oil is produced for its health-giving properties. It is high in the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) of Omega 3 and Omega 6.

³EFAs are important for the proper functioning of the immune system, brain health, wound healing and for insulating nerves,² Mr Hill said.

³They¹re found in every cell in the body but we can¹t make them ourselves. They need to be present in our diet, and the modern day diet of convenience and processed foods, often leaves us lacking the EFA¹s we need.

³Deficiencies in EFAs have been associated with a wide range of degenerative disorders such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and various allergies.²

Hemp oil also has a 5% content of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, and is effective in reducing symptoms of PMT, eczema, and acne, Mr Hill said.

Hemp oils on sale in New Zealand have previously been produced via seed from abroad. OSEL will soon have its New Zealand Hemp Oil available in health stores and outlets under the brand name, Sustainable Seed Oils.

Mr Hill said the project was licensed by the Ministry of Health, and Midlands Seed Ltd worked closely with local police to ensure all licensing requirements were met.

Unlike its more recognised cousin, marijuana, hemp has a very low THC level. THC is the chemical associated with the Œhigh¹ of marijuana. Strong licensing laws mean all hemp with a THC level greater than 0.35% will be rejected. Marijuana has THC levels up to 25%.


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