Hemp Cultivation in Finland

The situation in Finland:
Cultivation of Hemp in Finland has enjoyed a long tradition of up to 5'000 years ago. However, in the near past Hemp has not been extensively grown since the 1960’s.

Officials have decided that the cultivation of industrial-Hemp will be allowed to continue in Finland. The cultivation of Hemp has never been prohibited in Finland. High-THC strains can be grown, in theory, as long as the intent is not for ‘drug purposes’. However, since theft is already one of the biggest threats to experimental cultivation of Hemp, it is not difficult to foresee what would happen if a high-THC cultivar is grown.

From: J.C. Callaway, Ph.D.
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: Re: Cultivation Finland 1998?
Date:  Thursday, December 17, 1998 1:37 AM

Matthew, you asked:

>What is was cultivated area in 1998 in Finland with hemp?

The official count was about 1,300 Ha (hectares), give or take a few Ha. we had 8 Ha of FIN-314, which was not counted with the official tally, because it (still) does not appear on the EU list of approved cultivars.

Let me take this time to comment on EU hemp politics. The rules were basically made by the French hemp industry, for the French hemp industry. all subsidies are for fiber production, and there is a very slim possibility that a subsidy can be granted for the production of seed as animal fodder, but presently not for human consumption, to my knowledge. however, for the fiber subsidy, the crop must produce seed before it is harvested. at first, this may seem a bit illogical; i.e. to require the production of seed when the subsidy is for fiber. on closer inspection, one can see that in France the decision to harvest is always a compromise between the latest possible time of harvest (for higher yields) and the the time before all the male plants have withered up and died (which decreases over all fiber quality). in short, the French can not produce fiber *without* producing seed.

In Finland, and other countries at higher latitudes, none of the EU varieties will set seed to any significant extent, sometimes not even flower. the result is a tall (3-4 meter) asexual crop, giving high yields of homogeneous fiber quality. for the production of fiber, this is ideal. unfortunately, however, the EU regulations insist on the production of seed before harvest. in 1995, I was the first Finnish farmer to apply for this hemp subsidy, and the first to have an application rejected because my fiber crop did not produce seed. I abandoned the idea of fiber production in Finland after that and switched to food.

Next comes the advent of FIN-314; an early blooming variety of hemp that produces tons (literally) of seed per Ha in a good year. it is short (less than 2 m at 60 N), which allows for mechanical harvesting. it has a THC content almost 10 time below the EU cut off of 0.3%. it is morphologically so different from all of the EU varieties, that anyone with sight can see the difference. unfortunately, however, FIN-314 does not appear on the EU list of approved cultivars and does not receive a subsidy. I am told that this variety can not compete with the others as a fiber producer, which is probably true, although it would satisfy the quirky EU hemp regulations.

FIN-314 has been actively ignored by Finnish agricultural authorities over the past years, although some signs of interest have recently emerged, certainly due to its economic and nutritional potential as human food.

The main problem with FIN-314 in Finland is finding a dry harvest window in October or November. the plant needs a good hard frost to kill it up here (which is certainly no problem at all!), and then at least a few days are needed for the plant to dry out. otherwise, it is like harvesting wet rags. while we continue on a small scale to maintain this line in Finland, due to the high latitude, we are also growing in Canada. the continental climate of the Canadian prairie seems ideal for this variety, even when planted as late as July. also, in Finland the typical farm is only about 20 Ha, while in Canada the farms can be several thousand Ha.

Another great thing about FIN-314 is that it can follow nitrogen fixing crops in an organic rotation, making it cheap and ecological to grow. the bast fiber is fine, but only at about 15% (fiber varieties are typically over 25%). however, this is fine organic material to return to the soil after harvest, and it decomposes sufficiently before the spring, providing and excellent substrate for microbial action to begin the production of humus.

Hope this answers some of your questions!


Jace Callaway, Ph.D. Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry University of Kuopio POB 1627 FIN-70211 KUOPIO, Finland

From: J.C. Callaway, Ph.D.
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: other stuff
Date: Friday, December 4, 1998 3:12 PM

i think you are doing a great service.

>Jace, please let us know if there are any new developments. We are non-profit and we are trying to collect all the material useful for hemp farmers and agronomists alike since 1995.

I just put up a web page for 'finola oil'. you will see that it is only info, because I really don't have enough oil to export at this time. we had a miserable year up here with one of the coldest and wettest summers in recorded history. the summer before was one of the hottest and driest. we got up to 2 MT/Ha in some plots in '97, but hardly got more than 0.5 MT/HA on the few plots that we managed to harvest this year. the season in '98 in Finland went from cold and wet to freezing and snowy without a significant harvest window.

>Unfortunately very few people take the time or effort to share information.Hence, everybody is re-inventing the wheel for themselves. We find this rather cumbersome and inefficient.

it really is. I keep publishing our results in the JIHA, telling as much as I can and there was an update in the last issue (maybe you saw this?).

there is little seed available, and FIN-314 in north America is now administered by Gen-X.


Jace Callaway, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
University of Kuopio
POB 1627
FIN-70211 KUOPIO, Finland, http://www.finola.com

Subject: Re: Hemp cultivation information for Farmers, Finland experiment information.
Tue, 24 Feb 1997 02:15:21 +0200 (EET)
Jace Callaway <callaway@jolla.uku.fi>

Dear matt,

Can we use the 'h' word now?

The conference in vancouver was an amazing event, and lots of contacts were made. welcome to the growing list of individuals who would like to know more about the wonders of cannabis, especially the nutraceutical potential of the seed oil. you are reading a rather impersonal response, due to the large volume of inquires. hopefully, the following information will suffice:

as you probably know, the seed of even drug varieties of cannabis do not contain THC, or even other cannabinoids. instead, cannabis seed contains food for the body, especially an edestin-type protein (similar to albumin in our blood) that contains all of the 8 essential amino acids, and both of the oils that are considered essential to human health; linoleic acid
(LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (LNA). These oils are both essential fatty acids (EFAs) and 'omega' fatty acids. they are essential because they must be obtained from the diet. we can not make them ourselves, and most foods are lacking in sufficient amounts of these fragile oils. some well documented deficiencies are listed below.LA is an omega-6 fatty acid while LNA is and omega-3 fatty acid. the same enzyme in the body, delta-6-desaturase, is responsible for adding one
more site of unsaturation to each of these EFAs, thus converting LA to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and LNA to stearidonic acid (SDA), in situ.

hemp seed oil is an exceptionally rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are naturally balanced in the oil for optimal nutrition. no other oil compares in its nutritional potential for the human diet (see the brief reference list for more on this). because of its delicate nature, these oils should not be heated, as the natural 'cis' conformation of the molecule will change to 'trans' and this form will block the enzymatic activity of desaturase enzymes. if you must fry, use a saturated oil like clarified butter (gee), peanut oil or coconut oil. due to the nature of saturated oils, they do not possess the
possibility to be either cis or trans configurations, since the have no double bonds, and thus no sites of unsaturation to orient the possibilities of such structural isomers.

PUFAs are easily oxidized to toxic peroxides, so be sure the oil you use is fresh and has a nutty smell. if it smells slightly of fish or paint, then use it as an excellent wood varnish or other non-food use. most importantly, store these oils away from light, in the freezer is best, it will still pour easily at -20 oC. avoid seed oil pressed from steam-sterilized or heat treated seeds. also, seek out oil pressed from organically grown seeds, since cannabis can concentrate heavy metals from the soil. in general, avoid gel capsules that contain omega fatty acids, unless one can determine the freshness of such products by empirical or analytical testing. in my opinion, it would be healthier to be deficient in PUFAs then to deal with the toxicity of their rancid by-products. agua das from denver informs us that a peroxide value (PV) of fresh pressed oil is about 0.05, and the nutty taste still remains at a PV of 20. at PV 50 a fishy smell develops and the FDA informs that a PV over 100 is
unacceptable for internal consumption. in my opinion, fine varnishes begin somewhere between 50 and 100. also, check the color of the oil (which is not readily apparent in opaque containers); the oil should have a green quality, indicating that chlorophyll and phytosterols have not been foolishly filtered away. the green will change to amber over time, again an indication of the inevitable.

lactating mothers, typically produce sufficient amounts of these PUFAs in breast milk. most infants have not developed delta-6-desaturase activity, and may be deficient in levels of GLA and SDA when fed artificial formulas. GLA and SDA are the only precursors for which the body produces prostaglandins. These are short-lived agents that allow cells to
communicate with each other. deficiencies are also seen in the elderly and sick individuals with compromised immune systems, and the remedy in such cases is to acquire these vital PUFAs through dietary supplements.known deficiencies in

EFAs manifest as:poor growth and development in infantsimpaired energy utilization, as inhibited electron transport impaired function of cellular water barriers itching and scaly dermatitis electrophysiologic abnormalities in heart and retina impaired cell-mediated immunity leading to increased susceptibility to infection impaired platelet aggregation testicular degeneration pre- and post menstrual syndromes optimal EFAs in the diet are associated with:stimulated hair and nail growth stronger hair and nails improved skin health decreased plasma cholesterol (as LDL) reduced inflammation reduced blood pressure (hypertension)

For more detailed information on EFAs, PUFAs and hemp seed oil, please consult the following references:
Callaway JC, Tennila T and Pate DW (1997). Occurrence of "omega-3" stearidonic acid (CIS-6,9,12,15-octadecatetraenoic acid) in hemp
(Cannabis sativa L.) seed. Journal of the International Hemp Association, volume 3 number 2, pp. 61-63.

Callaway JC and Laakkonen TT (1996). Cultivation of Cannabis oil seed varieties in Finland. Journal of the International Hemp Association, volume 3 number 1, pp. 32-34.

Deferne J-L and Pate DW (1996). Hemp seed oil: A source of valuable essential fatty acids. Journal of the International Hemp Association, volume 3 number 1, pp. 4-7.

Udo Erasmus: Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. Alive Press this is a well referenced text on the health of fats and oils, which
includes a chapter on hemp seed oil as nature's perfect oil. suggested reading for anyone who would like to know more about dietary fats and oils.

if you are not receiving the Journal of the International Hemp Association, do become a member of the International Hemp Association (IHA) so that you can remain on the cutting edge of cannabis technology. for more information, e-mail: iha@euronet.nl

or write:

Postbus 75007
1070 AA Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Student = 25 US$/year
Individual = 50 US$/year

As for the early-blooming variety FIN-314:
My partner and i have spent a few years developing this strain. it is particularly well suited for high latitudes (50-70o N) where most varieties hardly bloom, much less set seed. it is also frost tolerant and does well in short growing seasons (100-110 days). its short stature, 2 m max at 65o N, make it easy to harvest with a standard combine, without
modification. in addition, the THC level is extremely low (0.08% max), almost 4 times below the limit allowed for registered cannabis varieties in the European Union (0.3%). the total oil content of FIN-314 seed averaged 37% by weight in three independent analyses. the level of saturated oils was 10%. as with other plants from the north, the unsaturated oil profile measured better than other varieties of cannabis, showing up to 5% GLA and 2% SDA, in addition to 54% LA and 22% LNA by gas chromatography of the methyl esters. the profile is better than oil pressed from evening primrose seed, which also has high (7-10%) levels of GLA that are commonly extracted by solvents (hexanes) and is widely sold as a dietary supplement. evening primrose oil, however, is not a source for essential LNA.

These seeds have not been made available to others, not even in finland, and until cannabis laws are changed in other countries we are content to expand our holdings in a country where authorities still trust the citizens to do the right thing. in short, i can only export information at this time.

Should additional information be needed, please be consider the fact that many people are trying to get in on this. my ability to prepare more personal responses are limited.

In addition to hemp seed oil, my mate and i make paper by hand from the stalks of this and other cannabis varieties. this is a low-tech operation that almost anyone can learn, 'even' children; making specialty paper and paper products for fun and the cottage industry. together, the two of us have lectured on this and related topics, given scores of interviews to finnish media, and taught workshops and classes on the mysteries of paper making.

As a researcher and consultant (ph.d. in medicinal chemistry), i cover the oil and health aspects of cannabis. as an artist and linguist, anita handles the fibers; in weaving, making paper. we both do education. we are a team. any inquires for lecture/workshop possibilities should include a promise to cover travel and related expenses, in addition to a negotiable per diem to cover our costs for delivering this information and transferring technology.

For SOME BRIEF ACCOUNTS of our adventures in finland, see:
Callaway JC and Hemmila AH (1996). Cultivation of Cannabis fiber varieties in central Finland. Journal of the International Hemp Association, volume 3 number 1, pp. 29-31.

Callaway JC (1997). Theft. Journal of the International Hemp Association (Letters), volume 3 number 2, pp. 51.

For some info on NORDIC HEMP:
Laitinen E (1996). History of hemp in finland. Journal of the
International Hemp Association, volume 3 number 1, pp. 34-37.

IF YOU CAN READ FINNISH, then i can suggest:
Hemmila A and Callaway JC (1995). Hampun uudet mahdollisuudet (Hemp's new possibilities). Maatiainen, volume 4, pp. 38-44.

Kolehmainen U, Callaway JC and Hemmila A (1995). Hamppu kulttuurikasvina: Hankasalmen hamppuseminaari (Proceedings from the Hankasalmi Hemp Project's Seminar, held on 9.9.1995 in Niemisjarvi, Finland).

best wishes, and hold the vision!

jace callaway

"Cultivation of Cannabis fiber varieties in central Finland"
by jace callaway

The Culture Secretary of Hankasalmi in Finland started the “Hankasalmi Hemp Project” in 1994. Several plots were sown using French cultivars Futura-77 and Fedora-19: These strains are known for a consistent THC level below the EU threshold of 0.3%. However, at this latitude of 62 the THC level was about half the maximum level claimed for the same varieties grown in France. Also, the appearance of the crops were not significantly affected by several nights’ frost late in the growing cycle (after 93 days). The total average height of the plants after 122 days was 3.75 meters/12.5 feet.

HCF comment: “The above result could lead one to conclude that a low ambient temperature is conducive to stem the level of THC in Hemp!”

Officials have decided that the cultivation of industrial-Hemp will be allowed to continue in Finland. The cultivation of Hemp has never been prohibited in Finland. High-THC strains can be grown, in theory, as long as the intent is not for ‘drug purposes’. However, since theft is already one of the biggest threats to experimental cultivation of Hemp, it is not difficult to foresee what would happen if a high-THC cultivar is grown.

In HempCyberFarm’s request for information about the situation in Finland to Pete:

Pete answered: “Hemp cultivation is allowed without permission, at least until the end of this year, as a committee of different authorities is going to decide before summer if a permit is needed in the future. There is policemen among them, so I am afraid…

Mary is also allowed to grow, only indoors and not for sale. And only to ones own use and if one has a couple of friends when enjoying the fruits of Vijaya indoors in " home-like "-conditions, the law is on ones side.

Keep on with the good work


Hemp facts and links related to Finland:

Do you know more about this? E-mail us at Matthew@HempWorld.com


*Industrial-Hemp has no psychoactive properties following definition of the European Economic Community (EEC); THC content is less than 0.3%. In general, low THC-seed varieties without psychoactive properties are those that have a THC content of less than 1%. (See also No-THC Hemp-seed.) THC= Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol.