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Study looks at hemp foods

Posted on October 8, 2000

Winnipeg, Manitoba — People who frequently consume food items containing hempseeds and the oil extracted from the seeds are unlikely to fail a urine test for marijuana, according to a recent toxicological study commissioned by the Agricultural Research and Development Initiative, a program funded by the Canadian federal government and the Manitoba provincial government, the North American Hemp Council and several manufacturers of hemp foods.

The study was motivated by past reports of positive drug tests caused by hemp oil and snacks from seeds with relatively high levels of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Traces of this main psychoactive ingredient inmarijuana are present in industrial hemp plants.

Regulations in Canada, limit THC levels in hempseed products to 10 parts per million. While there is currently no federal standard in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Agency cites potential interference with drug testing as their main objection to the importation and sale of hemp foods from Canada.

The study monitored concentrations of THC metabolites in the urine of 15 volunteers who ate, over four consecutive 10-day periods, one tablespoon per day of a hemp/canola oil blend. Corresponding THC doses increased stepwise from 0.09 to 0.45 milligrams per day, much below the 10 mg threshold for psychoactivity to take place.

Daily intake of 0.45 mg of THC translates into eating six tablespoons of hemp oil daily or a half pound of hulled hempseeds of commercial quality.