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  Impact of Hemp Food on Drug Tests Studied
Posted by FoM on January 21, 2001 at 08:37:09 PT
By Roberta Rampton, Winnipeg Bureau 
Source: Western Producer  

hemp An upcoming debate in the United States over whether the government should ban food made from hemp will likely be fraught with rancor and politics.

But Berkeley, California, researcher Gero Leson hopes a recent study on hemp food will inject some science into the public comment period on the proposed rules.

The peer-reviewed toxicological study shows people who eat hemp food even in mass quantities and every day are unlikely to fail U.S. workplace drug tests, Leson said.

Half of the $50,000 study was paid for by the Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative (ARDI), a federal-provincial funding program in Manitoba. Several Canadian hemp companies also chipped in.

"This is really the time when things are getting crucial," Leson said.

He said Canadian hemp farmers need the high-value U.S. natural food market to stay open.

"If there is a ban in the U.S., there is no need to grow any hemp in Canada."

Leson started the study because of concern over a growing number of U.S. workers who claimed eating hemp food made them fail routine workplace drug tests.

The potential for hemp food to interfere with drug tests is one of the main reasons the U.S. justice department wants the products banned.

In one case, Leson said, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard had to take a urine test after running a boat aground. He showered with hemp soap before the test, and blamed the lather for his positive result.

"People get pretty creative, and understandably so, but it really does hurt the production of these (hemp) products."

Parts of the military and some police forces have blacklisted hemp products to avoid these types of claims, Leson said.

"This is the type of anti-advertising the hemp industry can do without."

Leson wanted to establish whether the minute quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol found in Canadian hemp seed products can be detected by workplace drug tests, causing "false positives" for drug use.

With help from experts, including Harold Kalant from the University of Toronto, he designed a study where he fed volunteers various concentrations of Canadian hemp oil for 40 days.

The volunteers gave urine samples at several points during the experiment.

The results show consumers likely won't likely fail drug tests from eating hemp food, even if they eat a generous six tablespoons of hemp oil or half a pound of hulled hemp seeds every day "quantities that I personally could not eat," Leson said.

There are two conditions critical to his conclusions.

The vast majority of employers follow federal guidelines recommending a two-stage process for drug tests.

The first stage is a quick, cheap, simple screening test. Urine that screens positive should be subjected to a more detailed confirmation test, according to the guidelines.

All volunteers in Leson's study came in well under the "positive" cut-off mark in the more detailed confirmation test, even though some screened positive in certain screening tests.

People won't fail drug tests because they eat hemp foods, as long as employers rely on the two-step process, Leson said.

But screening programs that don't include a confirmation stage can pose problems.

"If the employer is cheap, or they don't care, or they think that anyone who screens positive should not be working at his workplace an avid hemp food consumer may fail that test."

The other critical factor, Leson said, is the quality of hemp seed.

Hemp farmers and processors need to make sure they continue to adequately clean seed before it gets processed, he warned.

Canadian regulations allow hemp products to have THC levels below 10 ppm. But with cleaning, Canadian processors are achieving levels well under five ppm in oil and two ppm in hulled seeds.

Leson is working on a followup study of hemp cosmetics, and hopes to get more funding from the ARDI program.

Using his conclusions about the correlation between hemp consumption and drug test results, Leson hopes to estimate the impact of using hemp body products on drug tests.

Source: Western Producer (CN SN)
Author: Roberta Rampton, Winnipeg Bureau
Published: January 18, 2001
Copyright: 2001 The Western Producer
Address: Box 2500, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7K 2C4
Fax: (306) 934-2401
Contact: newsroom@producer.com
Website: http://www.producer.com/

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Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help

 
Comment #4 posted by sm247 on January 22, 2001 at 05:29:20 PT
no synthetics
I want hemp products not synthetic crap

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by dddd on January 21, 2001 at 10:19:27 PT
beyond absurd
When you really take a look at the feds reason for banning hemp,,and compare it to normal reality,
you are left with this really strange feeling.
Much like the strange feeling of seeing dubya actually become prez.

d...........d...........d.............d

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 21, 2001 at 09:06:25 PT
Just a Note
Hi Dr. Russo and everyone,

I wanted to jump in here and mention that my email has been giving me problems. I'm sorry if I didn't get back to anyone that might have e-mailed me. I think it is working ok now. I hope!

Peace, FoM!

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on January 21, 2001 at 08:53:13 PT:

Save Hemp, Ban Politicians!
If Washington persists in this madness, people will only want the products more. Time for a major backlash. Hopefully this will spur Canada on to even greater independence in its cannabis policies thanks to the aggression of the USA.

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