Cannabis is making its way into more and more foods and drinks thanks to its advertised therapeutic benefits. In fact, no matter where you are in the United States, cannabis products are likely to be sold in your supermarket – and it's completely legal. Because regulation has not kept pace, this should be a cause for concern regardless of your policy. But before we move on, let me define what I mean when I say cannabis.
Cannabis is a plant selectively bred in two different varieties: hemp for its fibrous and nutritious seeds; and marijuana for its medical and recreational uses.
Cannabis contains numerous compounds called cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), causes many people who are associated with cannabis. Marijuana plants were selectively bred to have much THC.
If you think groceries play tricks on you, then they really are
Hemp products contain either tiny amounts or no THC at all. Hemp seeds and the oil extracted from the seeds are already available in grocery stores as food or ingredients nationwide. Hemp seeds are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and other nutrients that contain trace or no THC. Consuming cannabis seeds or hemp oil does not cause high scores and does not result in your failing to pass a drug test.
But there is another cannabis compound called cannabidiol (CBD) that can be found in either marijuana or hemp. It has no mind altering effects and can provide therapeutic benefits. In states where they are legal, CBD from hemp, CBD, and THC from marijuana begin to appear in products such as ice cream, snack bars, beer, and cold brew coffee. This is not limited to pharmacies; Some grocery stores sell CBD oil.
As a nutritionist, I never thought cannabis would be an issue in my wheelhouse. But more customers are asking, and before I thought about it, I did not know when it would be food, drug or medicine ̵
Potential Benefits of Cannabis
According to a 2017 report by the National Academies of Science, Technology and Medicine, there is strong evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids may be used in the treatment of chronic pain, multiple sclerosis-spasticity symptoms and chemotherapy. induced symptoms are nausea and vomiting.
Initial studies show that CBD oil can be helpful for children with epilepsy, and it is being investigated as a potential treatment for other neurological disorders and mental health and substance abuse. CBD oil, THC and marijuana have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the diagnosis, cure, relief, treatment or prevention of disease. However, drugs containing synthetic THC or similar compounds have been approved by the FDA for certain applications.
What is legal and what is not? It's complicated
The border between marijuana and hemp seems clear, but US federal law and some state laws do not match. This is where things get even more confusing.
At the federal level, marijuana and hemp extracts such as CBD oil are illegal, Schedule I substances. It was illegal to grow hemp in the United States until the bill "Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research" was amended in the 2014 Agriculture Law. Now some states are allowed to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is a bill that, when passed, makes cannabis legal nationwide.
Things get much more complicated at the state level. Some states allow recreational marijuana; others allow medical marijuana use for specific health problems that vary from state to state; some allow the use of low THC and high CBD products for certain medical reasons; and others do not allow the use or sale of marijuana or certain parts of hemp or its extracts, including CBD oil. If you are interested in taking CBD oil or other cannabis products, first look carefully at the laws of your country.
What should consumers know about THC or CBD in foods or as extracts? Note that because marijuana and some hemp products are federally illegal, supervision falls on the states. But label laws and quality control vary between states, and the FDA warns that the amounts of THC and CBD listed on a pack are not necessarily precise. As a result, consumers can not accurately estimate the dosage they are getting. This is a safety risk and of particular concern to people using these products to treat disease.
"The market is unregulated and there are companies that sell less safe than inauthentic products," warns Colleen Keahey Lanier director of the Hemp Industries Association
Although I do not support anyone taking in substances whose benefits have not been well studied and possibly illegal, there are steps you can take to protect yourself when you try cannabis products. Keahey Lanier offers the following tips to consumers looking for CBD oil: "Look for brands that offer third-party batch testing not only for cannabinoid content but also for heavy metals and residual solvents Avoid synthetic cannabinoids such as 5-fluoro – ADB that can be deliberately mis-marketed as a bio-hemp product. "
Janice Newell Bissex, a nutritionist and holistic cannabis expert, advises her clients to take a look at where the product was grown and encourages them rather, to select a whole plant product than just an extract of THC or CBD. For example, some whole products contain terpenes, compounds that may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anxiety-reducing effects.
For tinctures and products containing THC, it should be noted that ingesting the compound will cause delayed results. This increases the chances that people consume too much.
There is also concern that children inadvertently take marijuana in food and drink, especially in baked goods and sweets, although the numbers have been low.
It should also be Due to the legal obstacles, marijuana and hemp extracts are not well studied, so we do not know the long-term effects.
Whether you like it or not, the use of cannabis in foods, drinks and supplements is a trend that will continue to grow. This means we need standardization, quality control, accurate labeling and public education – it will all take time. Until cannabis is regulated as comprehensively as alcohol or medicines, consumers and professionals need to educate themselves.
Brissette is nutritionist, foodie and president of 80TwentyNutrition.com. Follow her on Twitter @ 80twentyrule.