• With the wave of the legalization of marijuana, for both medical and recreational use, spreads there is also the proliferation of CBD and hemp products in the mainstream market.

    While even I don’t fully understand the nuances between THC, CBD, and hemp, I am learning. I do know that they are not the same or used interchangeably even if some people will use the terms interchangeably. They do all come from the cannabis plant.

    Here I focus on hemp – the hemp plant, hemp seeds, hemp hearts – and not THC or CBD.

    I must disclose that I took botany in high school and I did not do well. Mostly because I didn’t take the class seriously. I just wanted to take the class because I knew we would make a terrarium and I got a front row seat to the feedings of the resident boa constrictor.

    Also, I am virtually banned from doing anything with plants in and around my house other than eating them. Not only do I not have a green thumb, but I also can’t even keep herbs growing throughout the summer. I do know the difference between an annual and a perennial. I know a weed is just something that a human has determined is a pest or nuisances like the puncture vine that grow in late summer and early fall and sticks in dog paws and bicycle tires. Totally a weed. And they hurt. What I may call a weed is someone else’s healing herb or a salad green. The term weed is subjective. Not to be confused with “weed” that one may purchase to smoke, legally or illegally. But, I said I was going to focus on hemp.

    There are many people who are plant experts including botanists, nursery owners, florists and any number of gardeners. I am not one of those. So, please excuse any errors in terminology.

    Ok, hemp.

    You may have heard that back in the old days, like in the 1700’s, some of the colonies required people grow hemp and they could get in big trouble if they didn’t contribute to the cause. According to hemp.com, it was used for industrial purposes and as legal tender, aka money.

    Even though people weren’t smoking hemp, weird things happened in the early 20th century and it became problematic to have these plants around. If you have heard of Reefer Madness, you know the story.

    Today, hemp is back. Somewhat. Even though there is little evidence that shows hemp is just like the marijuana that one would buy from the first chair trombone player in high school or get from the guy-who-knows-a-guy-than-hangs-out-at-that-fraternity-but-isn’t-in-the-fraternity in college, there is still a stigma.

    Anyone can buy a bag of hemp seed at Costco, Whole Foods, or the neighborhood grocery store. But people still get a bit antsy. At least the people who don’t or won’t smoke pot.

    Hemp seeds do have a very, very small amount of the psychoactive compound from cannabis. According to Janice Newell-Bissex, MS RDN, Holistic Cannabis Practitioner and Culinary Nutritionist in the article she authored in Food and Nutrition Magazine, hemp or industrial hemp is “a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.”

    What makes things a bit more confusing is that I know some people who work for the government and say that they cannot use hemp lotion or hemp shampoo. I thought that was odd. For one, not only is there minimal THC in hemp, which is the reason people smoke pot (I am pretty sure) but could it be absorbed through the skin and hair? I do not know. It seems over the top.

    The best I could find with a superficial search is that as of July 2016 the Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard prohibit the use of hemp products. The Marines and Navy do not restrict the use and ingestion of hemp and hemp products. If you know more, please share.

    Now, I don’t really care one way or the other. I am my own boss, and while she can be a real pain in the butt sometimes, she does not make me take drug tests. And, I have enough fiber and plant stuff in my diet that I don’t feel a need to add hemp to the mix. Protein, omega fats, whatever. I already use flax seed and chia seed. I don’t really need another seed to get stuck in my teeth and keep big dental-floss companies flush with cash.

    However, I was recently at a retreat for four days in which we had hemp in every meal. EVERY meal. In our pancakes, in our buffalo burger, even in the coffee.

    There was no half and half available, but the person preparing our meals that weekend made hemp cream for me. Not the same as half and half no matter how much I used, but I survived.

    And to anyone who may suggest that I felt better because of the addition of hemp? Nope – no different. But I wasn’t really eating much differently than usual.

    But at meal times during the retreat there was an on-going discussion was about the issue with hemp, CBD, and THC and all the legal stuff around it. Even some annoyance at the government.

    It was even suggested that hemp could solve all the world’s problems. I would not go that far. Dictators will still be dictators, even if they had a hemp filled diet. In my opinion. Now, maybe if they turned to the bong…. But this is about hemp.

    Back to the legal stuff. Some of us in the room noted that we have family that are bound by the laws of the land and random drug-testing. For example, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires random drug testing of people with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Someone with a CDL, even off duty, can lose his or her license at a BAC far below the legal limit of 0.08%. Testing positive for THC? Big problem.

    Some people have jobs that are much more valuable than the use of hemp in their diet. Even occasionally. It just isn’t worth the risk.

    Because of this on-going discussion and the perception that hemp coming from the cannabis plant is on par with consuming pot, I decided to test myself to see if I would pass a drug test after this four-day hemp bender.

    While still on the trip, I ordered THC test strips. I was scarfing hemp, even doing a hemp shot (which several people thought was amazing and really good; personally, I thought it was gross and can still taste it in my mouth – ick) from Wednesday through Sunday. Even with my Amazon Prime, I didn’t get my test strips until Tuesday.

    As soon as I got them, I tore open the package and started reading. Unlike alcohol and some other drugs, THC stays in the system for a bit. Several days to several weeks. It really is a combination of dose and fat storage in the body. But enough of that. My point is that testing two days after my last hemp hit, I would surely still have a result that would show, PROVE, that this stuff could get someone fired by testing positive for THC or move on knowing that there was nothing to worry about.

    If you have ever done a drug test, pregnancy test, gave the lab at the doctor a urine sample, you know what happened next. And, if you are so inclined, you can look it up. No need for you to join me there.

    Reading the instructions several times and making sure I didn’t screw this up (even though I had NINE more test strips to work with). Who knows when I would ever consume hemp for ten meals in a row again? And I had to pee. I didn’t want to wait another hour before I had to pee again.

    So, the five-minute pass and here is the result:

    The THC test strip.

    The THC test strip.

    No wait… that was before the test. Unused. And yes, I did wash my hands.

    Here is the after:

    The result.

    The result.

    Yup.

    Hopefully, you are reading it right. That is a NEGATIVE. I did NOT test positive for THC.

    Before you comment, or even if you have already commented, that the line is not very dark and doesn’t go all the way across, so I could be a little bit positive for THC? See this from the insert. Positive or negative. Like a pregnancy test. I would demand the B sample be tested too.

    "...no meaning attributed to line intensity or width."

    “…no meaning attributed to line intensity or width.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    So, I did NOT test positive for THC from my four-day hemp binge.

    I could be confident in starting a new job or peeing for a parole officer if needed. Not that I have a PO, but if I did, no problem.

    So why choose hemp? It has fiber, protein, healthy fat, some vitamins, and minerals that we need. And it is a plant food. So why not hemp?

    Add it to smoothies, sprinkle on salad or cook in your burger. See the recipes from my colleague below.

    You can legally buy it in many grocery stores and take it home without being paranoid about the fuzz. At least not because you have hemp seeds/hearts in the car.

    Because I haven’t gotten into the habit of using hemp seed/hearts I asked my fellow dietitians to share their recipes. Here are some below:

    Very Berry Pistachio Crunch Smoothie Bowl

    Creamy Orange Overnight Oats

    Cranberry Apple Harvest Salad

    Avocado Hemp Dinner Salad 

    Healthy Broccoli Slaw Salad with Flaxseeds and Hemp Seeds

    Vegan Asparagus Leek and Hemp Soup

    Hemp Hummus

    Hempy Guacamole

    Nut-Free Romesco Sauce

    Butternut Squash and Cranberry Hemp Crostini

    Blueberry Hemp Heart Crumble