By / November 15, 2021

CBD Cannabis Culture in France’s Pyrénées-Orientales

Paradise of the farmers and the market gardeners, the Saint-Jacques Gardens of Perpignan, well known for their particularly fertile grounds, recently saw a new very particular culture appear: cannabis. But be careful, this is not just any cannabis. Cannabidiol plants, better known by the acronym CBD, are about to be harvested. A first in the Pyrenees-Orientales.

This is one of a number of developments in France following the EU’s ruling that France’s ban on CBD was illegal under EU rules–a story we’ve followed closely here and in our free-to-download cannabis news app.

A Divisive Topic, CBD Gaining Support in France

CBD has a regulated rate of less than 0.2% THC, leaving it virtually devoid of the psychotropic substance. If the subject is still controversial in France, this derivative of cannabis, with therapeutic effects, has proven itself and now has its followers, and its benefits are now well and truly recognized.

So much so that for the past year, CBD has been available for sale to the French general public, in the form of infusions, flour, cosmetics, and essential oils. Specialized stores have even been created and have taken advantage of this flourishing market.

Local Farmers Building a Domestic CBD Industry

Until now, the CBD sold in France has mainly come from Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. But now several Catalan entrepreneurs have decided to produce a 100% local cannabidiol.

It all began a year ago, when Gérard Sédano, a market gardener in Perpignan, crossed paths with Florent Karcz, sales manager for a website specializing in information about cannabis culture. “It all started with an opportunity and a meeting, quite simply. I had the opportunity to work with the major European CBD traders, which allowed me to gauge the state of the market,” he says.

“I’ve been growing salads for 20 years, potatoes and artichokes as well,” says Gérard, the farmer. Together, and with three other associates, they rush headlong into this sector still unexploited in the department, deciding to work the cannabis with the aim of producing CBD. Several thousands of plants take then roots, last spring.
The visit of the forces of order.

An Ideal Climate for CBD

Taking advantage of the exceptional sunshine of the Pyrenees-Orientales, the cultures of cannabis grew at high speed. But very quickly, this exploitation logically attracts the attention of law enforcement.

If they have done things properly, the new producers must logically show the French administration a clean slate, because “with the naked eye, you can’t tell the difference between a THC cannabis crop and a CBD cannabis crop,” admits Florent Karcz.

Their meeting with the Perpignanese police will nevertheless go very well. “We came across very intelligent police officers. They saw, they questioned us, and they understood very quickly”, explain the new CBD operators, who, from now on, work in close collaboration with the brigade of narcotics of Perpignan, the Anti-Criminal Brigade, as well as the municipal police of the city.

The Prefect of the P.-O., for his part, is closely monitoring the evolution of this crop, and a judicial investigation has been launched by an investigating judge to ensure that only CBD is growing. Tests are regularly carried out from the plants of the exploitation.

First Essential Oils Distilled

After several months of work, the cannabis plants have been dried and are currently being harvested. The first essential oil resulting from the exploitation should see the day in a few weeks. “Our first half-liter has just arrived straight from a distillery located in Los Masos,” confirms Florent.

Concretely, this essential oil “has quite a powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. We are talking here about a use in drop, even a drop diluted in water,” explain the Catalan CBD farmers. Soon to be tested in the laboratory, to know its exact composition, it should then be sold to distributors, and thus appear in some stores; news which puts a smile on these producers’ faces.

Customers Are Lining Up, but Competition Is Coming

“We already have potential customers. All the CBD stores in the department are interested in our approach. We are all a bit chauvinistic and we all want to make the local people work. They are very happy to know that Catalan hemp makers have settled down and they want to put our products in the spotlight.”

However, the pioneers in the department, the Catalan hemp growers should see several competitors land next year. Other exploitations of cannabis CBD would be, indeed, on the point to be born in the Pyrenees-Orientales and around Perpignan. Anything but a surprise, as the CBD cannabis business is booming in France.

“We all know people who have problems sleeping. It is the great evil of our century. This plant is less strong than a sleeping pill but allows insomniacs to find a sleep cycle. CBD is also miraculous for women who have painful periods,” Florent explains. Products for animals also exist.

CBD Set to Rapidly Expand

The sector of CBD-based products has become very large and should expand in the future. The French government could, in fact, be forced to raise the authorized limit of the THC rate to 1%, which would jointly lead to a multiplication of the CBD rate, and thus of its therapeutic effects.

Like Gérard Sédano, everywhere in France, more and more farmers and market gardeners would turn to the exploitation of CBD. A conversion of the future? Certainly. Even if, for the moment, Gérard has not abandoned his salads and vegetables.


(Featured image by CRYSTALWEED cannabis via Unsplash)

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