Conversely, European growing conditions for CBD resemble fiber conditions and the crop is often dual harvested for fiber and CBD. This CBD is produced at lower concentrations in the tops of fiber varieties. This method creates a dual-purpose production system and resembles densely-packed hemp fiber production as opposed to bushy, flowering marijuana.
First and foremost: Hemp is not marijuana. Marijuana is not hemp. This is one of the most important facts to KNOW AND SHARE because people are unaware that they are different. Oftentimes people believe that hemp is the male plant of marijuana. This is false.
For this reason, certain states have passed legislation for recreational and/or medical marijuana as well as the legal production of industrial hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill protects hemp production for research purposes and pilot scales within universities and State departments of agriculture. This is a federal bill.
Growing for Phytocannabinoids
This confusion exists because marijuana was created by selectively breeding Indian hemp for Tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC). THC is the major differentiating factor between hemp and marijuana.
The major similarity when growing hemp and marijuana is when growing for the cannabinoids. In hemp’s case, farmers grow for the CBD and other minor cannabinoids, but legally require less than 0.3% of the cannabinoid THC. As for marijuana, unless growing for a particular ratio of THC : CBD, growers want the highest concentrations of THC and CBD possible. Because these production schemes both desire high concentrations of cannabinoids found in the floral material; the current growing conditions are similar.
In the regulatory realm, technically anything containing (even the minutest) concentrations of tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC) are regulated under the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Controlled Substance Act; however, the federal government allows states to create their own cannabis policies.
Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis. But, hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the Cannabis sativa species.
Here’s where the confusion comes from: The hemp plant looks a bit like the marijuana plant and it actually come from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L, but there are major differences between the two.
Hemp seeds are cultivated from the hemp plant, which is grown predominantly for its seeds and fibers.
As we sprinkle the seeds on top of our salads, we can’t help but wonder: what’s the deal with hemp seeds and THC?
What are hemp seeds, actually?
For one, the marijuana plant is stalkier, while the hemp plant is taller and thinner. But more importantly, the hemp plant contains low levels (less than 0.3 percent) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of Cannabis Sativa. Marijuana can contain anywhere from 5 to 30 percent.
In the past few years, hemp seeds have gained popularity and have started moving into mainstream markets. These days, you can even find them at Trader Joe’s. People sprinkle them on their salads, blend them into their smoothies, bake them into granolas and even turn them into hemp milk.
They also won’t cause you to fail a drug test. We know that other foods like poppy seeds, which contain trace amounts of opiates, can make you fail a drug test. Certain places actually ask that you don’t eat poppy seed bagels or muffins before testing. But hemp seeds won’t cause the same confusion. A study found that eating hemp seeds had little effect on a person’s THC levels ― and never enough to exceed the levels looked for in federal drug testing programs.
Hemp seeds have long been a staple in health-food stores, being prized for decades for their nutritional benefits ― they’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, a complete protein source, and a rich source of essential minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
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.
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.
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.
Hemp seeds and hemp seed food products are not medicines
To sell hulled 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.
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.
The permission to cultivate, manufacture and sell low-THC hemp seeds as food has no impact on the restrictions on medical cannabis products.