- Hemp store Carun UK has just opened in Twickenham, SW London
- It sells skin creams, ointments and oils made from the hemp plant
- They contain compounds known as cannabinoids which are found in hemp
- Owner claims products are anti-inflammatory, helping to treat skin problems
- But they do not contain the active ingredient in hemp that causes a 'high'
Britain’s first hemp self-styled 'pharmacy' has opened its doors to the public. Carun UK, located in Twickenham, south west London, sells a range of health and beauty products using compounds from the hemp plant. The store is the brainchild of Czech entrepreuner Michal Takac, who claims hemp-based products saved him from agony after an accident. Seven years ago, he lost three fingers in an industrial accident and underwent several rounds of surgery.
For scarring and pain relief, he was initially given synthetic creams recommended by the NHS. The hemp plant, whose scientific name is industrial hemp, is one of the two main species of hemp plant. The other main type of plant, called hemp indica, is smoked as a recreational drug. The products, which are mainly skin creams, oils and ointments, contain hemp oil, which manufacturers say can soothe a range of skin ailments, from psoriasis, eczema, to wrinkles, dry skin and stretch marks.
The shop will also sell hemp seeds and syrup, which it's claimed can be used in cooking to boost the immune system. Mr Takac says products use compounds grown on a specially cultivated species of the hemp plant called Carmagnola. And Carun UK is the only shop in the country to use products from this strand of the hemp plant, he claims.
However, he adds that that none of the ointments, oils and creams to treat a range of skin conditions can get users high. Unlike marijuana, the hemp plant does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in hemp that gives the high. Hemp that is smoked recreationally contains THC at levels of 30 per cent, but Carun products only contain around 0.3 per cent. Instead, the products contain another type of compound derived from the hemp plant called cannabinoid (CBD).
Mr Takac said the shop is branded as a pharmacy, even though it is does not dispense prescription medicines, because the company wants people to understand the products can help with medical problems. He said: 'It is not somewhere people will go to get hemp to smoke in their basement,' he told MailOnline. ‘The products support the immune system; restore the balance and health of cells as well as possessing anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
‘But no… they will not and cannot make you high.’
Mr Takac claims cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties. He says they can soothe and heal skin conditions such as such as rashes, allergies, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles, stretch marks, bedsores, scars, burns, dry, cracked or sensitive skin, sunburn and tired, dull skin. He told MailOnline: 'Other shops use extracts from the hemp seed, we use extracts from the hemp oil. 'Our extraction technique means we keep 90 per cent of the active ingredient, cannabinoids. 'They are better than other agents like jojoba and aloe vera because cannabinoids are beneficial to the human body. 'They are already found in the body in small amounts and boost our immune system. 'If you take more, either through the skin or through eating hemp seeds, your immune system will become stronger.'
Hemp oil has one of the highest antioxidant levels of any vegetable oil, he claims. Antioxidants are prized for their anti-ageing properties. It is also full of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
The products range from an all-purpose hemp ointment costing £16.99, hemp skin cream for £16.99, and body and hemp oil for £13.99. They are already available in some pharmacies, health shops, health centres and massage parlours in the UK, but this is the first pharmacy to sell products made from the hemp plant, he claims.
HOW CARUN PRODUCTS CAME TO THE UK
Michal Takac, managing director of Carun UK, claims he wanted to bring hemp-derived products to Britain because they helped him personally.
Seven years ago, he lost three fingers in an industrial accident. After unsuccessful surgery, his index finger was replaced with the second toe from his left foot. He was also fitted with custom-made prosthetic fingers, which feature electromagnetic electrodes.
These allow the fingers to move and grip as if they were real. For scarring and pain relief, he was initially given synthetic creams recommended by the NHS.
But when these failed to help, he began searching for other options and came across Carun ointment, made from hemp oil.
He told MailOnline: 'I saw a difference instantly.'
'The scarring reduced rapidly, my skin was softer and it was better for pain relief.'
'So I worked with the owner of Carun in the Czech republic to bring the products to the UK.'
'It is a passion of mine.'