IN order to avoid a situation where hempseed chocolate bars are sold as ‘body scrub’ regulators need to develop a greater understanding of the hemp and CBD industry, says Kyle Esplin, Co-founder of Holistic Highland Hemp and chair of the Scottish Hemp Association.
IN 2019 the Centre for Medical Cannabis tested 30 CBD oils for sale on the UK market, since then there have been various headlines about ‘illegal levels’ of THC in CBD oils followed by calls for extra regulation.
The CMC study found the average THC content of 30 different CBD oils on the UK market to be 0.04%, in a 10ml bottle containing 5% CBD (500mg). This equals four milligrams (mg).
The CMC study also found the average consumer spending around £25 per month, while those ‘with a presumed medically-orientated usage’, £55 per month.
Therefore, you could say the £25 a month user is consuming around 300mg CBD – and, therefore 2.4mg THC – per month, and the £55 a month user is consuming around 800mg CBD – and 6.4mg THC – per month.
No Risk Of Intoxication
When hempseed oil was reintroduced for human consumption in the mid- 90’s, many contained in excess of 100mg THC (100parts per million – ppm) in a one litre bottle.
Extra attention to seed washing has since been implemented. Well-washed seeds typically contain around five to 10ppm THC, which can be further reduced to around 3ppm when de-hulled; 3ppm in 1kg, equals 3mg THC.
Switzerland set its THC limit for one litre of hempseed oil at 50ppm, or 50mg of THC.
The Swiss deem these safe, saying there is ‘no risk of intoxication or detrimental health effects, even when the hemp foods are consumed in large quantities’.
ACMD Recommends Isolate Only
As such, the CBD market has been growing across the world with the UK being one of the largest.
For some time the UK authorities have worked on an arbitrary limit of THC per pack of 1mg of THC in CBD products.
In an attempt to bring some order to the market Policing Minister Kit Malthouse asked the Advisory Council for the Misuse use of Drugs (ACMD) to set a standardised level to be applied across the industry
Late last year the ACMD proposed a recommended maximum limit of 50 micrograms of THC per ‘dose’ of CBD.
If adopted this would be far less than Switzerland, Germany and what UK CBD users have been consuming for some time It would see hemp seed products – and many whole plant CBD products – replaced by isolate-only products.
We have UK farmers aspiring to sell flowering tops for a domestic CBD market. The ACMD’s recommendations would further drive the industry towards CBD isolate based products.
There is no future in growing domestic hemp to turn it into CBD isolate.
How Does This Apply To The Hemp Market
It is also worth noting that the average consumer purchasing full-spectrum CBD expects a trace amount of THC while consumers of hempseed oil do not. Should we subject hempseed oils to extra regulation? Well the answer to that is – No.
For context, if consuming hempseed oil with a standard 10ppm trace THC, you would be limited to a 5ml serving.
To those who point out the rules don’t apply to hempseed oil, that’s the point, the UK doesn’t appear to have a THC limit for hempseed oil and it’s unreasonable to expect CBD products to contain less per serving than hempseed oil does.
What about the hemp consumers who are now being labelled as ‘CBD consumers’ but actually want low temperature CBDA – cannabidiolic acid; the main phytocannabinoid in hemp fibre and oil – dominant hemp oils?
These oils do not fit the Novel Foods process, no CBDA dominant are oils going through the Novel Foods process. CBDA stabilised isolate is not the answer either, the industry must be able to supply products consumers want.
Where Will Consumers Get Their CBDA Dominant Oils from?
Until recently Australia was selling hempseed chocolate bars as ‘body scrub’. We have companies in Scotland currently making quality stone-ground organic chocolates with whole plant hemp extracts, it would be a sad thing to see companies like that either forced out of the hemp market, or having to choose a new route and sell products as ‘chocolate body scrub’ to stay in the industry with whole plant hemp products.
The customers don’t want CBD isolate as an ingredient, and whole plant hemp extract doesn’t fit the Novel Foods process.
If hempseed oil was subjected to the Novel Foods process it would fail. The majority of CBD companies applying for Novel Foods are avoiding hempseed oil in their CBD oil blends as a carrier, that is the context people need to understand as to how suitable the regulation is for the hemp industry.