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Concentrations of THC, CBD, and CBN in commercial hemp seeds and hempseed oil sold in Korea

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Highlights

Extraction and GC/MS methods for hemp seeds and hempseed oil were developed and validated.

Concentrations of THC, CBD, and CBN in commercial hemp seeds and hempseed oil were measured.

A trend was observed by comparing THC, CBD, and CBN ratios in hemp seeds and hempseed oil.

Abstract

Hemp seeds and hempseed oil are marketed on- and off-line as health foods and cosmetics and have been reported to have high nutrient contents. However, because of the various side effects of cannabinoids, especially △ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), many countries regulate upper limits for THC in products, which creates the need for analytical techniques capable of measuring THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN) levels in commercial hemp seeds and hempseed oil. In the present study, hemp seed and hempseed oil extracts obtained by methanol extraction, were analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Validation of the technique used was performed using calibration curves and by determining LODs, LOQs, specificities, selectivities, and intra- and inter-day precision and accuracies. In addition, matrix effects, process efficiencies, recoveries, and sample stabilities were investigated. In hemp seeds, as determined using the fully optimized method THC concentrations ranged from 0.06 to 5.91 μg/g, CBD concentrations from 0.32 to 25.55 μg/g, and CBN concentrations from 0.01 to 1.50 μg/g; CBN/THC ratios ranged from 0.1 to 1.60, and CBD/THC ratios from 0.11 to 62.56. Furthermore, the (THC + CBN)/CBD ratio of most hemp seed samples was less than one. In hempseed oil, THC concentrations ranged from 0.3 to 19.73 μg/mL, CBD concentrations from 6.66 to 63.40 μg/mL, CBN concentrations from 0.11 to 2.31 μg/mL, CBN/THC ratios from 0.12 to 0.42, and CBD/THC ratios from 3.21 to 22.50. Furthermore, (THC + CBN)/CBD ratios in all hempseed oil samples were less than one. The optimized methanol extraction-GC/MS technique was found to be satisfactory for determining THC, CBD, and CBN concentrations in hemp seeds and hempseed oil.

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Concentrations of THC, CBD, and CBN in commercial hemp seeds and hempseed oil sold in Korea Add to Mendeley Highlights Extraction and GC/MS methods for hemp seeds and hempseed oil were

Hemp seed as food

Information about growing, manufacturing and selling low-THC hemp seed as food.

Latest update: Low-THC hemp seed as food

  • Growing, manufacture and sale of low-THC hemp seeds as food is now permitted.
  • You need to meet the requirements of theMisuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 – for activities involving whole seeds you must have a licence.
  • You must also meet Food Safety requirements and Ministry of Primary Industries requirements
  • Hemp seeds and hemp seed food products are not medicines. Health and nutrition content claims cannot be made about CBD

Hemp and its seeds

Industrial hemp is varieties of Cannabis sativa that have a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content generally below 0.35 percent.

Industrial hemp is captured by the “cannabis plant” entry listed in Schedule 3 Part I of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Industrial hemp also contains CBD (cannabidiol).

THC is a psychoactive substance found in cannabis plants.

CBD is a substance found in cannabis that has potential therapeutic value, with little or no psychoactive properties.

Hemp seeds do not contain THC or CBD. Other parts of the hemp plant (eg, leaves and flowers) contain THC and CBD which could contaminate the seed if not processed correctly.

What you need to know

The Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 have been updated to allow low-THC hemp seeds to be grown, manufactured and sold as food products.

The level of THC and CBD permitted in low-THC hemp seeds and hemp seed food products is too low to have a medicinal or psychoactive effect.

The only part of the hemp plant that can be used for food is the seeds.

The permission to cultivate, manufacture and sell low-THC hemp seeds as food has no impact on the restrictions on medical cannabis products.

Terms used on this page

Whole hemp seeds have their outer coat on. Any activity (eg, growing, retail) that involves whole hemp seeds, requires a licence issued by Medicines Control.

Hulled hemp seeds are seeds with the outer coat or hull removed that are not able to germinate. A licence from Medicines Control is not required if your activities start with hulled non-viable hemp seeds.

Hemp seed food products have been produced from hemp seeds for example, hemp seed protein powder and hemp seed cookies. A licence from Medicines Control is not required if your activities start with hemp seed food products.

Importing or exporting hemp seeds and hemp seed food products

If you are importing whole hemp seeds (seeds with their outer coat on) you need an import or export licence under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations from Medicines Control.

You do not need a licence from Medicines Control if you are importing or exporting hulled, non-viable hemp seeds and hemp seed food products.

Whatever type of hemp seed or hemp seed food product you are importing or exporting, you must also meet New Zealand Food Safety requirements. These include having to be registered as a Food Importer with MPI and biosecurity rules. See link to

  • More information can be found on the MPI website: Hemp seed as food

Growing hemp to use the seeds as food products

You need a general licence issued by Medicines Control under the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006, with cultivation listed as an activity:

To grow hemp for commercial use you have to grow an ‘approved cultivar’. Link to approved cultivar page The Industrial Hemp Regulations set the allowable limits of THC (given as a % of the dry weight of the plant) of generally below 0.35% and not more than 0.50% in hemp plants.

You also need to be registered under the Food Act with the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Growers can only sell whole hemp seeds to someone who has a licence from Medicines Control with ‘procurement’ or ‘processing into specified hemp products’ listed as an activity.

Processing and manufacture of hemp seeds and hemp seed food products

If you are processing whole hemp seeds (eg, washing and hulling) or manufacturing hemp seed food products from whole hemp seeds you must:

  • Have a general licence issued by Medicines Control with processing into specified hemp products listed as an activity
  • Make sure you are using approved cultivar low-THC hemp seeds
  • Record all transactions in the seed register
  • Make sure that the food produced is within the allowable limits of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) as set by the Food Standard. Note that the allowable limits of THC differ depending on the type of product (ie, whether an oil, a beverage or other hemp seed food product).
  • Be registered under the Food Act.
  • Make sure the product labelling meets the requirements of the Food Standard. Health claims and nutrition content claims cannot be made about CBD.

If you are processing hulled hemp seeds or hemp seed food products (eg, hemp oil, hemp powder) you do not need a licence from Medicines Control. You must:

  • Make sure you are using approved cultivar low-THC hemp seeds
  • Make sure that the food produced is within the allowable limits of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) as set by the Food Standard. Note that the allowable limits of THC differ depending on the type of product (ie, whether an oil, a beverage or other hemp seed food product).
  • Be registered under the Food Act 2014.
  • Make sure the product labelling must meet the requirements of the Food Standard. Health claims and nutrition content claims cannot be made about CBD

If you want to transport or store hemp seeds and hemp seed food products

You do not need a licence from Medicines Control to transport hemp seeds (whole and hulled) or hemp seed food products but you must be registered under the Food Act.

If you are storing whole hemp seeds you must have a general licence issued by Medicines Control with ’procurement’ listed as an activity and be registered under the Food Act.

If you are storing hulled hemp seeds and hemp seed food products you do not need a licence issued by Medicines Control but you must be registered under the Food Act.

Selling hemp seed food products

To sell whole hemp seeds you must:

  • have a licence issued by Medicines Control with ’procurement’ listed as an activity
  • only sell to a person with a general licence issued by Medicines Control with ’procurement’ listed as an activity.
  • record all transactions of whole seeds in the seed register
  • ensure labelling, promotional material and information must meet the requirements of the Food Standard. Health claims and nutrition content claims cannot be made about CBD.

To sell hulled hemp seeds and hemp seed food products:

  • a licence from Medicines Control is not needed
  • these products can be sold to anyone
  • labelling, promotional material and information must meet the requirements of the Food Standard. Health claims and nutrition content claims cannot be made about CBD.

Hemp seeds and hemp seed food products are not medicines

While there is interest in the use of THC and CBD for medicinal uses, the level of THC and CBD allowed in hemp seeds and hemp seed food products is too low to have a medicinal effect. THC and CBD are present in these products as a ‘natural contaminant’, fortification of products with CBD is prohibited under the Food Standard. The Food Standard that allows the sale of hemp seeds and hemp seed food products does not permit health or nutrition claims to be made about the CBD content of these food.

  • THC and CBD products for use as a medicine must be accessed via prescription from a doctor.
  • No impact on medical cannabis
  • The changes to enable low-THC hemp seeds to be cultivated, manufactured, imported, exported and sold for use in, or, as food will not apply to cannabis products used therapeutically. Read more about cannabis products for therapeutic use in the sections:
    • Medicinal Cannabis Agency
    • CBD products.

Further information about industrial hemp and the changes to allow hemp seed food products

Read about industrial hemp and the regulations that control its use:

Changes have been made to the Misuse of Drugs (industrial Hemp) Regulations and the Food Regulations to allow low-THC hemp seeds and hemp seed food products to be grown, manufactured and sold.

  • The consultation document and the summary of submissions on the proposed changes are available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website
  • Link to the Industrial Hemp Amendment Regulations
  • Link to the Food Amendment Regulations

Information about growing, manufacturing and selling low-THC hemp seed as food