E.U.: “Hempseed oil is exempt but one of the naturally-occurring chemicals in it is not”

Hempseed oil is exempt but one of the naturally-occurring chemicals in it is not…

by Richard Rose

hempseed oil

  • Hemp Flower Products such as Hempseed and the extract Hempseed oil are authorized Novel Foods under Catalogue v1.1, exempt from registration as new Novel foods due to demonstrated consumption in member states prior to May 1997.
  • Naturally incidental to the long history of consumption of the Hemp seed is a sticky resin, on the outside of the seed shell.
  • Naturally incidental to that resin are cannabinoids, inside the resin.
  • The predominant cannabinoid in that resin in Hemp is Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa), second-most is Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCa). Cannabidiol content could legally be as high as 6% in Hempseed oil.
  • The parts making up the whole are inseparable from the whole; if the whole is exempt then so are the parts. Since Hempseed and the extract Hempseed oil are exempt from registration as new Novel Foods, so should be the resin and thus Cannabidiol.
  • The recent E.U. Novel Food Catalogue update was incorrect, Hemp Flower Products indeed have demonstrated long use, including Cannabidiol.
  • If any one of the over 500 chemicals in Hemp Flower Products is extracted or concentrated, such as the oil in the seed or the essential oil in the leaves, it is substantially equivalent to the underlying authorized Novel Food.
  • If Cannabidiol is not “added,” a concentration of Cannabidiol from an exempt (<0,2% THC) source which is also an exempt Novel Food is an authorized Novel Food.
  • Many other foods are extracts, such as Hempseed oil and essential oil of the flowers, a popular food flavorant, and perfume. Carbon Dioxide Supercritical Fluid Extraction is often used to extract botanicals and foods, and by itself use should not render a Cannabidiol extract a new Novel Food needing registration.
  • The E.U. update to the Novel Food Catalogue regarding Cannabidiol applies to more than just Cannabis sativa L. Non-Cannabis Cannabinoids should not be regulated like Cannabis.

Cannabis sativa L. is an authorized Novel Food in the E.U. Novel Food Catalogue v1.1. Common names include Kaņepe (sējas) (LV), Hampa (SE), Hemp (EN), hamp (DK), Hanf (DE), hennep (NL), chanvre (FR), cânhamo (PT), konopie siewne (PL), harilik kanep (ET), konopí seté (CZ), Cáñamo (ES), indiai kender (HU), ινδική κάνναβις (EL), navadna ali industrijska konoplja (SL), and hamppu (FI). Here I will use “Hemp,” and “Hemp Flower Products” which includes primary products in Hemp flowers such as whole seed, shelled seed, seed oil, defatted meal, seed shells, pollen, terpenes, essential oil, flowers, leaves, and compounds within them such as trichomes, cannabinoids including Cannabidiol, flavonoids, Cannabisin, enzymes, and others.

In the European Union (E.U.), the cultivation of Hemp varieties of Cannabis is permitted provided they are registered in the E.U.’s Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species, and the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content does not exceed 0,2% (w/w, or 2.000 ppm).

Products derived from the Cannabis sativa plant or plant parts such as Hempseed, the extract Hempseed oil, Hempseed flour, and defatted Hempseed meal have a history of consumption in the E.U. prior to the Novel Food cut-off date of May 1997, and therefore are considered authorized Novel Foods, exempt from registration as new Novel Foods.

Trace amounts of THC found upon analysis are due to contamination of the seed by adherent resin or other plant residues. From Small (2017): “Birds are well known to occasionally become drunk by feeding on fermented berries, and there may be a parallel situation with respect to hempseeds. While the seeds (achenes) of Cannabis sativa do not contain intoxicating constituents, resin from the surrounding bracts can coat the seeds, and thus marijuana varieties could produce seeds with appreciable intoxicant ability. Cannabis seeds with adherent resin have been shown to be capable of making birds giddy.” There is 20 to 30 times or more Cannabidiol than THC, as CBD is the predominant cannabinoid in Hemp. “Seed oil prepared from seeds coated with resin may have small levels of THC, and the same is true for foods made with the seeds. It has been suggested that trace amounts of cannabinoids (and also terpenes) could have health benefits.” See Small (2015).

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hempseed oilWritten by Richard Rose, available for license under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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