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THC Hemp Foods Study to be Released

Posted on March 15, 2000

By Erwin Sholts, North American Industrial Hemp Council

Madison, Wisconsin — Results from the first systematic scientific study of the effects of hemp foods on the outcome of workplace drug tests will be released in May 2000. The study is sponsored by the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC), a Canadian governmental agricultural research program, and several North American producers and distributors of hemp products. The sponsors have commissioned Leson Environmental Consulting, a Berkeley based research and consulting firm, to design and conduct the study.

The objective is to answer the question: does the ingestion of today’s hemp foods cause individuals to fail workplace drug tests for THC? While hempseeds themselves do not contain any THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana), trace quantities of THC from leaves and flowers rub onto the seed hulls during processing. Thus hempseed products contain minute quantities of THC. The Canadian government has set a legal THC limit of 10 parts per million for hempseed products to address this issue. The study’s results may have a considerable impact on the acceptability of hemp food products in the U.S. market.

The study involved 18 adult volunteers who followed a regimen of ingesting hemp oil containing various known levels of THC over 40 days, and periodically taking urine samples for THC analysis. An expert forensic toxicology laboratory conducted urine analysis. Review of study design and results has been provided by a panel of prominent scientific advisors, including Dr. Kalant, Director of the Addiction Research Foundation at the University of Toronto, Dr. El Sohly, University of Mississippi, Dr. Paul Mahlberg, University of Indiana, and Dr. Alex Schauss, advisor to the NNFA on health and safety issues.

Recent reports of false positive drug tests following consumption of hempseed products have created significant confusion in the marketplace and with U.S. governmental agencies about the safety of hemp foods vis-a-vis workplace drug tests. The goal of this study is to scientifically evaluate the impact of hemp food consumption on urine THC levels. This will facilitate the establishment of a “safe” level below which false positive tests can be avoided, eliminate the uncertainty in the marketplace, and allow hemp foods to provide their nutritive benefits to consumers of natural foods in the U.S. The final study results will be posted in May 2000 at the North American Industrial Hemp Council’s web site www.naihc.org.

Copyright © 2000, North American Industrial Hemp Council. All rights reserved.