INDIANAPOLIS, IN--(Marketwired - May 7, 2014) - Stevia Corp. (OTCQB: STEV) ("Stevia Corp" or the "Company"), an international farm management company focused on the economic development of products that support a healthy lifestyle, including stevia and hemp, is pleased to announce the Company's Hong Kong subsidiary, Stevia Technew Ltd, has successfully extracted cannabidiol (CBD) from industrial hemp grown in China where 70% of the world's hemp supply is grown. Leveraging the Company's experience extracting and refining steviol glycosides from the stevia plant, Stevia Technew intends to work with local partners to transition CBD extraction from laboratory to commercial scale production.
CBD is one of at least 85 cannabinoids (chemical compounds found in both industrial hemp and marijuana) and is the major constituent in industrial hemp plants. Hundreds of scientific studies have demonstrated CBD's potential in addressing a wide range of serious conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, HIV dementia and many others. CBD is also non-psychoactive and avoids toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses.
CBD's promising potential has been the subject of intense media publicity in recent months including the documentary special "WEED" by CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who spent a year traveling around the world to shed light on the debate of medical marijuana. One of many cases highlighted by Dr. Gupta was Charlotte Figi, a young child who suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe form of intractable epilepsy that strikes young children and is not controllable with traditional medication but responded to treatment with an extract from medical marijuana that was high in CBD and low in THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid) with no apparent side effects.
The Oil extracted from industrial hemp contains almost no THC and is well below the US legal threshold of 0.3% for hemp products to be sold in the US where the annual retail value of hemp products is more than $500 million. Once CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, it lends itself as a dietary supplement which can be consumed in many forms including oil droplets, CBD infused gum, and soft-gel tablets.
George Blankenbaker, Stevia Corp President, commented, "It is still illegal to grow industrial hemp in the US for commercial purposes so our Hong Kong subsidiary will continue leveraging its relationships in Asia where the China government is targeting to increase production of hemp to more than 3 million acres and is developing advanced technologies for the commercialization of hemp products. Working with its partners in Asia, our subsidiary has access to the largest source of hemp with the ability to breed even more efficient varieties while leveraging existing extraction facilities."
Further details of the Company's business, finances, appointments and agreements can be found as part of the Company's continuous public disclosure as a reporting issuer under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") EDGAR database. For more information visit: www.steviacorp.us.
About Stevia Corp. (OTCQB: STEV)
Stevia Corp. is a farm management company focused on developing highly nutritional, high value products through proprietary plant breeding, excellent agricultural methodologies and innovative post-harvest techniques. Stevia Corp invests in R&D and IP acquisition and manages its own propagation, nursery and plantations as well as provides services to contract growers and other industry growers. Stevia Corp was founded on the principal of implementing socially responsible, sustainable, quality agribusiness solutions to maximize the long-term efficient production of nutritional crops. For additional information please visit: www.steviacorp.us.
About the Hemp Industry Sector
Hemp is a crop that can be grown for food and non-food purposes. As a result of its numerous nutritional benefits, many new food products containing hemp seed and its oil are finding their way into the marketplace, including pasta, tortilla chips, salad dressings, snack products and frozen desserts. Non-dairy hemp "milk" beverages, which provide significant amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and protein, are also available. Hemp oil is also used in nutraceuticals and health care products.
As a fiber source, hemp is undergoing rapid growth as a natural fiber in everything from clothing and textiles to automotive composites. The fiber is also gaining popularity as insulation.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimated that the retail value of North American hemp food, vitamin and body care products was in the range of $156 to $171 million in 2012. When clothing, auto parts, building materials and other non-food or body care products are included, the HIA estimates that the total retail value of U.S. hemp products is about $500 million.
Food and fiber uses for industrial hemp are growing rapidly and have increased over 300 percent, to an estimated 25,000 products, in the past few years. Much of that growth is coming from the increased sales of hemp food products.
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, transition cannabidiol extraction from laboratory to commercial scale production, annual retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S., developing hemp products, growth of industrial hemp product industry, product development and business strategy. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.