Hemp is gaining popularity and significance in recent times. Its benefits, usage and scope have steered the attention of many industries to generate a flourishing business in domestic as well as International markets. It is a valuable product which is used in different sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food, Nutraceuticals, consumer products and agriculture. Hemp is used to make medicines, food products, cosmetics and textiles. Its tremendous industrial usage has grabbed the attention of manufacturers in a wide array of industries. However, the manufacturers of such products are to ensure authentic and effective products with regulatory compliance and reduced risk of product recall. Apparently, the rising health consciousness and consumer awareness regarding the nutritional benefits of hemp-based food products is also driving the market growth.
What is Hemp?
There are three different plants in the Cannabis genus, also called the Cannabaceae family. These include Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Hemp seed means the hulled, non-viable seeds obtained from Cannabis sativa and other indigenous Cannabis species.
The cultivation of Cannabis species for the purpose of hemp seeds in India shall comply with Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, and rules made thereunder while the hemp seed flour means solid product after seeds are milled to a powder with or without extraction of oil. The flour prepared after hemp seed has been pressed to extract oil shall clearly be labeled as ‘De-oiled hemp seed flour’.
Nutritional Value of Hemp
Hemp is used in many different products. It is used in foods, health products, fabric, natural remedies, and much more. Interestingly, different parts of the hemp plant are used to make different products. Hemp seeds are edible and highly nutritious with a high concentration of fiber. They also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are nutrients that are important for heart and skin health.
Hemp varieties of Cannabis contain 0.3% or less THC. Marijuana varieties have more than 0.3%. The seeds are the main edible part of the hemp plant. In fact, hemp seeds are over 30% fats, including essential fatty acids. The potential health benefits of hemp, therefore, come mainly from its seeds.
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seeds are high in soluble and insoluble fiber.
How is hemp gaining popularity in the food industry and food testing laboratories?
- Traditionally laboratories have focused their analysis on five primary compounds: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol(d9-THC), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid(THC-A) , cannabidiolic acid(CBD-A), cannabidiol(CBD) and Cannabinol(CBN). More attention has been given to some of the minor cannabinoids particularly in the medicinal market which requires methods that are capable of higher resolution separations.
- Many of the minor cannabinoids have shown some medicinal effect so it is important to have the ability to separate and identify them. It is also desirable to have methods that minimize peak co- elution of minor and major cannabinoids and provide accurate quantitative results.
- Hemp-based food products help in balancing insulin levels, improving cardiac function, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting joint health. The influx of hemp related products in the market and other factors including the premiumization of gluten-free and organic food and beverages, along with aggressive promotional activities by manufacturers through various online retail channels, are anticipated to drive the market further.
- Hemp seed oil is well known for its nutraceutical usage due to a perfectly balanced content of omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Significantly, its healthy properties are strictly related to its chemical composition, which varies depending not only on the manufacturing method, but also on the hemp variety.
- Hemp seeds are legal in the United States. Hemp seeds in the U.S. must contain a minimal amount of THC. THC is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.
- According to the FDA, some hemp products are safe for food, including Hemp seeds. Hemp seed protein powder and Hemp Seed oil.
FSSAI on Hemp
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has stated that the hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour shall be sold as food or used as an ingredient in a food for sale subject to conforming to the prescribed standards under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Fifth Amendment Regulations, 2021.
- The prescribed standards defines that the total THC shall not exceed 0.2 mg/kg in any beverages made from hemp seeds and any other food for sale that consists of hemp seed or seed products shall not exceed total THC content of 5 mg/kg. Total THC means the total amount of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and delta 9- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
- The level of cannabidiol (CBD) in any food for sale consisting of hemp seed or seed products shall not exceed 75 mg/kg. Cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive component of Cannabis species. It has been clarified that the food for sale that consists of hemp seed or seed products shall not be labeled or otherwise presented for sale in a form which expressly or by implication suggests that the product has a psychoactive effect.
- FSSAI’s new regulations for hemp and hemp related food products restricts manufacturers from making any nutritional or health related claims about CBD.
- Any other product in which hemp seed or seeds products used should not exceed the total THC content of 5 mg/kg in that food. The total THC should not exceed 0.2mg/kg in any beverage containing or made from hemp seed. Although hemp seeds naturally contain very low THC but still authority has mentioned the limit to keep a check/ ensure no psychoactive substance addition/adulteration.
- The food product containing hemp seed or seeds product should not be labeled or presented in a way that implies the product has psychoactive effect.
- Cannabidiol in any food containing hemp seed or seed products should not exceed 75 mg/kg. CBD is one of the natural chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis species.
- Cannabinoids in any food containing hemp seeds or seeds products should be naturally present.
- The label for the food containing hemp seed or seeds products should not include an image or representation of any other part of the plant other than the seed.( other parts of the hemp plant are not permitted to use),a nutrient content claim about CBD, a health claim about CBD, words like cannabis or marijuana or words of similar meaning.
- The label for the food containing hemp seeds or seeds product for sale may use/include the word “Hemp”.
- The manufacture, import or sale of any product containing hemp seeds or seeds product intended for administration to infants up to the age of 2 years/24 months is not allowed.
Labeling of Hemp Seed or Products
- The label for the food containing hemp seed or seed products for sale, the regulations prescribe that the label shall not include: (a) a nutrient content claim about cannabidiol; or (b) a health claim about cannabidiol; or (c) an image or representation of any part of the Cannabis plant (including the leaf of that plant) other than the seed; or (d) the words ‘cannabis’, ‘marijuana’ or words of similar meaning.However, the label for the food containing hemp seed or seed products for sale may include the word ‘Hemp’.
- The regulations also prescribe that no person can manufacture, import or sell any food product containing hemp seed or seed products intended for administration to infants up to age of 24 months.
What do we offer?
Our laboratories located in pan India locations provide hemp and hemp related products testing and analysis. We fulfill the need for reliable and analytical methods, for the analysis of these products desired by many industry stakeholders (producers, regulators and consumers). High Performance Liquid Chromatography(HPLC) is the preferred methodology for potency determination (Total THC, Total CBD or THC /CBD ratio ) as it can identify and measure the structurally similar cannabinoids and their different forms in a single analysis.
If you have any query about Hemp Testing or thinking to get in touch with our experts at Auriga Research Laboratories. Please feel free to contact us through the contact form or call us now on +91-11-45754575. We will be happy to provide you with a proposal for your testing requirements.