Two new CBD hemp cultivars developed in the United States have been accepted for inclusion in the EU Common Catalogue of Plant Varieties and are being marketed by a Bulgarian company.
CBD Seed Europe said €500,000 was invested in developing the varieties, called “Midwest” and “Northwest.” The company claims CBD levels in the cultivars can reach around 15%, well beyond most European hemp breeds, which are predominantly for fiber and grain production and express levels of CBD at just 5-6%.
The Midwest breed peaks at about 16% CBD five weeks after planting, while Northwest peaks at 15% CBD around week 8, according to the company, which said the new varieties are adaptable to most latitudes on the European continent. Both are compliant with Europe’s current THC limit of 0.2%.
THC level to rise
With the EU THC limit for hemp “on the field” rising to 0.3% next year, CBD Seed Europe said opportunities are now open for developers to create more strains with even higher CBD levels. CBD rises in proportion to THC in industrial hemp plants, making processing more efficient.
“We believe this opens up a number of unique business opportunities, including exploring joint ventures with other breeders to create new varieties specifically designed for the European market,” said Americo Folcarelli, a Canadian co-founder of CBD Seed Europe.
European breeders have begun to develop hemp flower strains specifically for the production of CBD and other cannabinoids in the last few years. Enecta, an Italian-Dutch developer, had two new cannabinoid hemp cultivars added to the EU catalog earlier this year: Enectarol, a CBG-rich strain, and Enectaliana, a high CBD variety.
In order to qualify for the official EU plant list, new varieties must undergo a number of scientific tests which show they produce uniform and stable plants. Such tests and standards under certification are critical to the overall hemp industry, contributing to transparency, which is still lacking at many levels of the hemp supply chain.
For growers, planting approved cultivars is not only a guarantee of plant quality but a prerequisite to receiving direct EU agriculture subsidies, a critical factor in farming decision-making.
CBD Seed Europe was founded by Folcarelli and his Bulgarian business partner Ivailo Staninski.