Winchester company, UK research team announce development of THC-free hemp

Published: Jan. 28, 2019 at 6:08 PM EST
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A new development from a University of Kentucky research team and a Clark County company could change how hemp is perceived across the state.

Steve Bevan, president of GenCanna Global in Winchester, announced on Monday that the company -- in partnership with UK researcher Dr. David Hildebrand and his team -- developed a strain of hemp with 0.0 percent THC.

By eliminating THC, the chemical component in the plant which can cause a high, Bevan and researchers believe it will ease farmers' concerns regarding complying with THC laws.

"Farmers will be excited because they will not have compliance worries like all the rest of their crops," Bevan said. "Processors will have many ways using 0.0 percent THC hemp to develop product."

Hemp with no THC, according to GenCanna Global, enhances the usefulness of the crop.

Sheldon Smith, general manager of Bluegrass Hemp Oil, disagrees and compared the removal of THC to baking a cake.

"You have eggs butter flour, so if you remove one of those ingredients from the recipe," said Smith, "what do you end up with? You've got a sub par cake that you are probably not going to want to eat."

Smith thinks the hemp industry may be moving backwards with the development of hemp without THC.

"Studies have even shown that these full spectrum products are there for a reason it contains therapeutic value and removing that decreases that," Smith said.

Despite those who may disagree with GenCanna's and UK's research team's development, they'll begin planting the new THC-free hemp seeds sometime between March and April.