New Hemp CBD Processing Company Set to Open in Knoxville
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Something you don't see everyday in Tennessee: a new CBD Hemp processing facility being built in Knoxville's Old City.
"This is not marijuana, this is industrial hemp," says Blühen Botanicals managing partner Joe Fox.
Blühen Botanicals will be Knoxville's new Hemp CBD processing, research and development facility set to open by the end of 2018.
"We will not only research CBD, but other cannabinoids that could be beneficial for health and wellness," said Fox.
There are more than 144 cannabinoids in a cannabis plant and CBD happens to be one of them.
"Right now CBD is the booming industry that surrounds hemp or cannabis," Fox says. "In the state of Tennessee, the production of hemp is 100 percent legal. CBD is also 100 percent legal."
The core difference between hemp and cannabis is that Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that can allow a person to get high, while cannabis will have much higher amounts of THC.
"The ongoing joke we use with everyone is you could smoke this entire facility and it's not going to get you high, so if you're looking for a high, this is the wrong place," Fox joked.
Fox explained his research and development facility is just scratching the surface of how CBD can play a role in overcoming the opioid epidemic.
"Unfortunately there's no silver bullet. The damage is done when you look at this epidemic that's taken our country," said Fox. "There's great research that's now starting to come out that shows pain management is certainly an application for the CBD industry."
An industry Fox says is plagued with poor quality product, which is why he says it's important to know where your product comes from and what's in it.
"The market [right now] is flooded with low-quality CBD from China and other countries."
Blühen Botanicals has teamed up with plant pathologists, entomologists, horticulture experts in addition to partnering with multiple universities around the country for a science-based approach to provide farmers with the knowledge for their plants to thrive.
"Right now we are focused on supporting the farmers here, in our home state of Tennessee," Fox said. "I found a passion for this industry I didn't intend to find."
Cannabinoids such as CBD are being increasingly recognized for multiple wellness properties across the U.S., and earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD-based medicine for treatment of seizures stemming from two rare forms of epilepsy.
"I realized there is science here," said Fox.
The facility will initially operate as a processor of hemp grown by local farmers. The Knoxville-based hemp-processor will transform the legally grown hemp plant into wholesale CBD oil and other applications, which will then be sold to industry retailers and distributors. Commercial hemp production was made legal in Tennessee following the passage of House Bill No. 1164 in 2017.
Blühen Botanicals will have the capacity to process 2,000 pounds of hemp biomass per day with the potential to rapidly scale its output beyond that capacity in the future. CBD, one of many compounds known as cannabinoids in the hemp plant, is extracted from the biomass. CBD is used in a variety of wellness products. “The CBD oil industry is virtually unknown to the vast majority of U.S. consumers, and we’re excited to increase the awareness of its benefits in the Southeast,” said Fox.