Irish Hemp Conference Report

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Teagasc’s Ashtown Food Research Centre in D15 was the splendid location for the annual gathering of the Irish hemp industry’s leading lights, and some up-and-coming hemp stars. Across a very busy Friday, 8 April 2022, we can confirm that, yes, the Irish hemp industry does have a pulse! Just about!

Among our highlights from the day…

In his intro, Barry Caslin, Rural Development Specialist from Teagasc made the point that hemp is a low input crop.

Kate Carmody, biochemist, and chairperson of Hemp Cooperative Ireland made the key point that industrial hemp needs to be removed from the Misuse of Drugs Act in Ireland.

Ed Hanbidge, licensed hemp farmer, spoke about how we need to get mature about THC as its illegality makes it harder for entrepreneurs to get insurance and payment service providers.

Nathaniel Loxley, British Hemp Alliance, wants 1% THC permitted in the field.

Glyn Mitchell, Carbon Farm, Jersey, said we need standard carbon measuring. Offers dark green carbon credits. Forget about DAC (Direct Air Capture technology) machines when hemp can do the heavy lifting.

Laura J Foley, Hemp4soil EIP overview and official launch of an incredible research programme on Loop Head, County Clare, where soil quality will be measured before, during and after hemp growth, more at, which is also Clare County Council’s decarbonising zone. Great work!

Prof Tom Woolley demonstrated building with hemp, hempcrete blocks. Prof Woolley works with Rachel Bevan Architects.

Break for lunch, during which we got in nice and early for delicious fish and chips, with a sausage roll on the side, from the amazing team in the fine Teagasc kitchens.

Felix Roick from Hempoffset discovers the wonders of hemp shiv at Hemp Event Conference, Teagasc, 2022
Felix poses with hemp shiv imported from the UK. Hemp shiv is the plant’s woody core and is used as the key ingredient in hempcrete (along with lime and water).

After lunch, Prof Jane McCann spoke lucidly about hemp’s wonders as a material. The European Confederation of Flax and Hemp promotes hemp as a non-transient and durable style as opposed to fast fashion.

Dr Patrick O’Mahony, FSAI – Food Standards Authority of Ireland, spoke about THC, CBD and Ireland’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. THC is a controlled substance and CBD is a novel food. Mature stalk fibre and seeds are exempt.

Kyle Esplin from Scottish hemp spoke about the power of TV. Hemp farm road trip documentary in progress. We need school education on hemp. 

Hemp genetics for the Irish climate, Caroline Downing, UCD presented well on this fascinating, ongoing research project, more at

Sinead Madden, University of Limerick, was the carbon guru. Sinead just published her PhD paper on how Irish hemp has the power to offset our agricultural emissions. Congrats, Sinead on this important work.

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By Gary Byrnes

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