Are marijuana foods safe?

Hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp tea - what about security?

Hemp seeds, hemp leaf tea and Co.

Foods containing hemp are trendy and are conquering the shelves of supermarkets and beverage markets, organic stores and internet shops. We offer hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp flour, hemp tea, muesli bars and mustard with hemp, hemp drinks such as beer or lemonade and also food supplements such as CBD oil or hemp protein powder. Even grilled sausage with hemp oil is on offer.

There are primarily foods on the market that contain hemp seeds as an ingredient or the protein or oil obtained from hemp seeds in the products. Similar to nuts, flax and sesame seeds, hemp seeds contain high-quality fat, protein, vitamins as well as fiber and minerals. The protein content is between 20 and 35%, depending on the product. Hemp seed oil contains a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids (approx. 80%) and valuable nutritional proportions of the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (approx. 60%) and α-linolenic acid (approx. 20%). The oil is also rich in B vitamins and vitamin E, as well as the minerals calcium, magnesium and iron.

In advertising and in Internet forums, hemp seeds are said to have numerous health effects. Among other things, they should help the muscles to recover after exercise, and help with weight loss as well as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. However, this has not been scientifically proven. As a result, the EU has not approved any statements about any health effects of hemp seeds or the oil obtained from them.

Depending on the composition of their product, manufacturers may highlight individual nutritional properties: for example "high fiber content", "rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids", "natural protein source" or "rich in omega-3 fatty acids".

Intoxicating THC in foods containing hemp

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the cannabinoids that affect the psyche. Today's fiber hemp varieties (not to be confused with hemp for drug production) have a low THC content of less than 0.2% in accordance with EU requirements. Other hemp is not allowed to be grown in Europe.

Hemp seeds naturally do not contain THC. However, they can come into contact with THC-rich parts of plants (flowers, leaves or stems) during harvest. As a result, THC can be found in measurable amounts in commercially available hemp seeds and foods made from them.

There is no standardized limit value for THC in food across Europe. The Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection and Veterinary Medicine has derived THC guide values ​​for food. They are intended for orientation for manufacturers and food inspection.

  • 5 micrograms (µg) per kilogram (kg) for non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages
  • 5000 µg / kg for edible oils
  • 150 µg / kg for all other foods

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) explains: If the guideline values ​​were complied with, according to the current state of knowledge, it is not to be expected that there will be any questionable effects. However, the authority emphasizes that the guideline values ​​are only provisional, as it has not yet been finally clarified how strongly individual effects of THC depend on the dose.

According to the opinion of the BfR, however, the guideline values ​​are often exceeded. This is especially the case with hemp-like tea-like products, which consist in particular of hemp leaves and possibly hemp flowers, in which THC is naturally contained. But increased values ​​were also found in products made from hemp seeds. Very high THC levels were found in food supplements containing hemp. According to the opinion of the BfR, almost all samples (94%) exceeded the guideline value.

Health impairments are possible, especially with high consumers, children or pregnant women. The impairment can also be aggravated by alcoholic beverages and certain drugs.

THC in food of animal origin from feed containing hemp

Hemp and the products made from it can be used in many ways in animal nutrition.

According to the BfR, the extent to which THC is transferred to animal products cannot be estimated due to a lack of data. However, the BfR assumes that dairy cows - even with only low levels of THC in their feed - permanently excrete the cannabinoid through their milk: "Consequently, milk and milk products from animals that receive feed made from hemp and hemp products could contain traces of THC . " The European Food Safety Authority does not currently see any health risk here, even if the study situation is still insufficient overall.

If you want to be on the safe side, you can use valuable nuts, flax and sesame seeds instead of hemp seeds. Instead of hemp oil, for example, walnut or linseed oil can be used - these are guaranteed to be free of THC.