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U.S. Food and Drug Administration

FDA Responds to Three GRAS Notices for Hemp Seed-Derived Ingredients for Use in Human Food

Constituent Update

December 20, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed its evaluation of three generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notices for hemp seed-derived food ingredients. The GRAS notices were submitted by Fresh Hemp Foods, Ltd. The agency has no questions about Fresh Hemp Food’s conclusion that the following ingredients are GRAS under their intended conditions of use: hulled hemp seed (GRN765), hemp seed protein powder (GRN771), and hemp seed oil (GRN778).

Foods containing hemp seed and hemp seed-derived ingredients are currently marketed in the US. Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Although hemp is from the same species as cannabis (marijuana), the seeds themselves do not naturally contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The hemp seed-derived ingredients that are the subject of these GRAS notices contain only trace amounts of THC and CBD, which the seeds may pick up during harvesting and processing when they are in contact with other parts of the plant. Consumption of these hemp seed-derived ingredients is not capable of making consumers “high”.

The GRAS notices are for three different hemp seed-derived ingredients. The GRAS conclusions can apply to ingredients from other companies, if they are manufactured in a way that is consistent with the notices and they meet the listed specifications. Some of the intended uses for these ingredients include adding them as source of protein, carbohydrates, oil, and other nutrients to beverages (juices, smoothies, protein drinks, plant-based alternatives to dairy products), soups, dips, spreads, sauces, dressings, plant-based alternatives to meat products, desserts, baked goods, cereals, snacks and nutrition bars. Products that contain any of these hemp seed-derived ingredients must declare them by name on the ingredient list.

These GRAS conclusions do not affect the FDA’s position on the addition of CBD and THC to food. As stated on FDA and Marijuana: Questions and Answers, it is a prohibited act under section 301(ll) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to introduce into interstate commerce a food to which CBD or THC has been added.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed its evaluation of three generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notices for hemp seed-derived food ingredients.

Can hemp seeds make you test positive for marijuana?

Hemp seed

DENVER — Forty percent of Americans buy organic foods, and one of the most popular items is hemp seeds. Controversy over whether hemp seeds can have the same effect as marijuana has some worried.

You can find plenty of hemp products at your local health food store. Seeds can be sprinkled on your favorite meal and there’s even a hemp shake these days.

Hemp is popular because it’s a great diet supplement for people allergic to soy, containing about 11 grams of protein in a single tablespoon.

Lani Banner of The Vitamin Cottage explains, “It is a complete protein, contains all of the essential amino acids in the ratio that the human body requires.” But some worry hemp contains THC, found in marijuana which is in the same family of plants.

This year, the military banned soldiers from eating products with hemp seeds. The reasoning was that the seeds might skew a soldier’s drug test. We decided to have the seeds tested at Forensic Laboratories in Aurora.

Our subject was a mother of three who doesn’t want us to use her name, but agreed to take part in our test.

She enjoys the health benefits of hemp, but wants to make sure she’s not making a mistake and says, “For my children, I want to set an example for them that it’s important what you put in your body and drugs are not the way to go.”

After eating a salad with three times the amount of hemp seeds usually found in packaged yogurt, our subject submitted a urine sample to the lab to begin the testing process, which was repeated twice.

She also used a good amount of hemp lotion.

Dr. Laura Bechtel revealed to us that the results were negative for THC. Bechtel says the lab does job drug testing on a routine basis and does not find THC traces in people who eat hemp as a health food but do not use marijuana and adds, “People have to realize it’s going to have to take a large amount of seeds, a bag of seeds or more to test positive.”

Experts say if you want to have confidence in what you’re buying, check the label every time. Since hemp seeds that are hulled lose their THC, make sure to buy seeds that are produced in Canada, where exported hemp products fall under tough standards.

Lani Banner of The Vitamin Cottage says, “You can look at the back of the label for the symbol for the test pledge, this is where the companies pledge that they are testing all of their hemp seed products to ensure that it has undetectable levels of THC.”

The symbol looks like a small circle or tear drop shape that says “test pledge.” Learn more information about the benefits of hemp products here.

DENVER — Forty percent of Americans buy organic foods, and one of the most popular items is hemp seeds. Controversy over whether hemp seeds can have the same effect as marijuana has some worried. You can find plenty of hemp products at your local health food store. Seeds can be sprinkled on your favorite meal and […]