Fancy A Hemp Burger? Be Careful, Report Warns!

Fancy A Hemp Burger? Be Careful, Report Warns!
Posted by FoM on July 27, 1999 at 08:19:15 PT
Health Canada study says THC poses health risk
Source: Globe & Mail
Ottawa -- New food products and cosmetics made from hemp -- the marijuana plant -- pose an unacceptable risk to the health of consumers, a report prepared for Health Canada says.
Hemp oil and seeds are available in some specialty stores, and Canadians can order hemp pasta, burgers, cheese and even beer over the Internet. The Body Shop sells lip balm and other products made with hemp, which is legal when it has been bred to be low in delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that makes people high.The risk assessment done for Health Canada says hemp products may not be safe because even small amounts of THC may cause developmental problems. Those most at risk, the study says, are children exposed in the womb or through breast milk, or teenagers whose reproductive systems are developing.Hazards associated with exposure to THC include acute neurological effects and long-term effects on brain development, the reproductive system and the immune system, the study says. "Over all, the data considered for this assessment support the conclusion that inadequate margins of safety exist between potential exposure and adverse effect levels for cannabinoids [the active ingredients] in cosmetics, food and nutraceutical products made from hemp."The study reviewed the results of existing tests on lab animals. It was obtained for The Globe and Mail by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin, and has not yet been reviewed by other scientists to make sure its conclusions are valid. Hemp producers say it is alarmist and speculative."It refers only to historical data and cites theoretical assumptions, rather than reporting the findings of actual product tests," says a statement released by the Body Shop, which says its hemp products are safe.If the study stands up to scrutiny, Health Canada may require warning labels or new regulations that could stop some products from being sold, said Rod Raphael, director-general of the environmental-health program. He said the department is considering new animal studies to look at the effects of low-level exposure to THC over several generations."We are concerned," Mr. Raphael said, explaining that is why Health Canada ordered the risk assessment and is considering financing more research. But, he said, very few Canadians use or eat hemp products.It became legal to grow hemp -- Cannabis sativa -- in Canada in March, 1998. Producers need a special permit, and federal regulations require that to qualify as industrial hemp, cannabis plants contain less than 0.3 per cent THC.Hemp growers say it is ridiculous to think it may pose a health threat."It is like saying you can't eat poppy-seed bagels, because poppy seeds have a minute amount of the active ingredient in heroin," said John Roulac, a board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council, which represents growers in Canada and the United States.Mr. Roulac said the study didn't look at the positive health benefits hemp products offer in terms of an improved diet, nor does it mention that in Japan and China, people have eaten hemp products for hundreds of years with no ill effects.Paul Wilkes, a head of regulatory affairs for the Body Shop, said the company reviewed the same literature as the Health Canada study and came to very different conclusions. "We consider our products to be perfectly safe."The Body Shop also issued a written statement, saying the report produced for Health Canada makes "unsubstantiated" and "speculative claims.""The Body Shop has worked with Health Canada on product testing and has reassured itself through detailed research, extensive testing and the advice of leading dermatologists and toxicologists that the company's industrial hemp-based products pose no risk to the health and safety of consumers. The Body Shop therefore stands by its hemp-based products."The Body Shop does not do animal testing, and could not do its own experiments on low-level exposure over several generations, Mr. Wilkes said.Mr. Raphael said Health Canada looked at the research done by the Body Shop and decided more was needed.Many of the animal studies that have been done look at exposure to high levels of THC. They found long-term effects to offspring who were exposed to THC in the womb. Permanent effects included reduced sensitivity to morphine and reduced copulatory behaviour in males as well as abnormal estrus in women."The potential for these effects to occur is of great concern, since THC has been found to cross the placenta and to appear in the fetal brain within minutes of a maternal exposure."Mr. Raphael said the internal and external peer reviews of the study should be finished by September. Until then, he said, Health Canada is not justified in issuing any warnings to consumers.EDIBLE HEMPHemp products listed in the Health Canada study on hemp foods: Hemp-seed oil Bread Cookies Pancakes Hemp-seed porridge Frozen dessert (hempscream) Pasta Burgers Pizza Salt substitute Brownies Hemp fruit crumble Salad dressings Hemp-oil mayonnaise Hemp cheese Hemp yogurt Butter substitute Hemp milk drinks Nuts and seeds Hemp-seed pad Thai Lemonade Beer Wine Coffee Hemp nog
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 02, 1999 at 22:22:48 PT:
Hemp is Harmless, Angry Growers Say
Report done for Health Canada that warns of health risk called alarmist.Anne McIlroyThe Globe and MailWednesday, July 28, 1999 -- Cheeseburgers pose more of a danger to humans than hemp burgers, say Canadian hemp growers who are furious at a report done for Health Canada that says their products may pose a health risk.Ruth Shamai, who owns R & D Hemp Inc. in Toronto, said yesterday that the study done for Health Canada shows that there is still a prejudice against hemp because it is the same species of plant that produces marijuana.She said the federal government should be more worried about the fatty foods many Canadians eat that lead to heart attacks and other health problems. Hemp, on the other hand, is a healthy substitute for animal protein such as beef and chicken and can lead to lower cholesterol levels, she said."The hospitals are full of all kinds of people who have been eating the kind of crap Health Canada allows people to eat," an angry Ms. Shamai said. "What are consumers going to do, go back to their awful fatty burgers?"Hemp is the same plant as marijuana, but is bred to be low in delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in dope that makes people high when they smoke it.Hemp as a crop was legalized last year, and foods made from hemp -- including oil, seeds and even pasta, brownies and ice cream -- by law can contain only 10 parts of THC per million. They are starting to become available in Canada.But the report carried out for Health Canada, which has not been reviewed by other scientists to see if its conclusions are valid, said that even the small levels of hemp in food and cosmetics may cause developmental problems, especially in babies and teenagers. It was based on a review of the scientific literature regarding exposure to THC. The Body Shop and other purveyors of hemp products say the study is speculative, unsubstantiated and alarmist.Yesterday, hemp growers were furious at The Globe and Mail for running a story on a scientific study before it had been peer reviewed. It was obtained under access-to-information legislation. Health Canada says it won't consider any warnings or other measures until it is sure its conclusions are valid.Eric Hughes, a spokesman for the Canadian Industrial Hemp Council, said there are several studies, including one carried out in the Netherlands and another in Jamaica, that found no long-term effects from smoking marijuana.Hemp products contain such minuscule amounts of THC, there is no way they would pose any kind of serious threat, he said.Pubdate: July 28, 1999Copyright  1999 The Globe and Mail
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 29, 1999 at 22:49:25 PT:
Industrial Hemp Health Canada Report - 7/28/99
Newshawk: DdCRelated Article:
Industrial Hemp Health Canada Report
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Comment #1 posted by BigAb on July 28, 1999 at 05:20:16 PT:
  I am so sick of this I could vomit !!!! What a load of crap !!!! How the hell about the gulf war vets who are now having deformed kids ? How about the water being SO polluted as to be unfit to drink ? How about the posions in out air and food ?? Big Business has given us all a death sentence and these A** ***** are blowing smoke up their own butts!!!!!!
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