Cannabis da mangiare

Edible hemp: what does the regulation say?

In this article we will talk about hemp in food, its use in edible products and how this plant is increasingly conquering large market shares in the food industry. Specifically we will tell you:

  1. What the law says
  2. THC in food
  3. CBD and digestion
  4. Cannabis as a dietary supplement

Light cannabis is everywhere, even on the shelves of your trusted supermarket. Law 242 of 2016 , which came into force in 2018, legalized the cultivation of THC-free cannabis sativa for industrial uses, particularly in the food sector.

As of January 2018, hemp-derived food products have become a must.

We live in the age of strange eating : the web continuously provides us with information about food and, in recent years, new awareness has guided people's eating habits.

Compared to 10 years ago, today there are many more people who pay attention to what they eat; we are not just talking about healthy foodies , passionate about healthy and balanced cuisine, but about mothers and grandmothers who - day after day - have opened their recipe books to seeds, exotic legumes and flours very different from the legendary 00.

Hemp is good for you and has worked hard to earn a place in the Olympus of superfoods . Everyone talks about it, the word "superfood" is one of Google's search trends in 2019, but what are they actually?

The Ministry of Health has not yet compiled an official definition of this category of products, but the word "superfood" refers to those foods that we could define as a real cure-all .

These are food products that show properties beneficial to health, due to their nutritional characteristics or the concentration of some beneficial chemical elements.

There is no scientific definition, and goji berries certainly won't make grandma rejuvenate, but integrating some of these elements into a healthy and balanced diet combined with a good dose of physical activity will certainly make your body and mind happier.

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Any examples of superfoods? Ginseng root, guarana, goji berries, chia seeds, avocado, turmeric and, of course, cannabis seeds.

What the law says

Law 2 December 2016, n. 242 called "Provisions for the promotion of the cultivation and agro-industrial supply chain of hemp" allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp in Italy, exclusively for the production of fibers or for uses other than the pharmaceutical one.

The hemp varieties that the law, which came into force in 2018, allows to be cultivated only those registered in the Common Catalog of the Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species : these are plants born from certified seeds, coming from Italian territory, deprived of THC by mandatory limit of 0.2%.

Starting from 2018, hemp cultivations have increased exponentially and, according to Coldiretti data, the 400 hectares of 2013 have become approximately 4000 in 2018 .

Many agricultural companies have chosen to dedicate their work to the cultivation of cannabis, thanks also to companies like ours: Terre di Cannabis has created a network of cannabis growers, even very distant from each other, who collaborate daily for the realization of a large project common.

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In 2016 the approval for cultivation and sale arrived, not without problems and changes of course.

The hesitations mostly concerned light cannabis sold for recreational purposes, opposed by most of the League's parliamentarians and in particular by the former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

For beers, biscuits, flours and infusions, however, there were no major problems. On the contrary, the issue of cannabis light in food products has long been neglected.

4 years after the approval of the law, there were still no certain provisions on the quantity of active ingredient allowed in hemp-derived products.

Then, in January 2020, an official ruling finally arrived and the use of cannabis was also regulated at the table . On 15 January 2020, the provision of the Ministry of Health was published in the Official Journal which regulates the THC limit in products of the agri-food industry, such as hemp seeds, flour, oil and supplements.

Cannabis light

The decree of the Ministry of Health sets the maximum permitted quantity of THC in foods, diversifying for each type of product; the catalog will have to be updated every time a new food product based on industrial hemp is launched on the market.

The permitted THC limit is 2 milligrams per kg in hemp seeds, flour and hemp-based supplements, while in the oil obtained from pressing the seeds the limit rises to 5 milligrams per kg .

THC in food

Taking cannabis through inhalation is very different from taking it through food.

There are notable differences to take into consideration regarding the effects, dosages and precautions to take when deciding to take cannabis through the digestive system .

First of all, we must consider the time that passes between intake and the onset of the effects: if with inhalation the THC begins its action within a few minutes, rapidly passing from the lungs to the blood to the nervous system, when cannabis is taken as a food the process will be much slower.

The effect comes later, but is significantly longer lasting: if the effects of a joint fade in a maximum of a couple of hours, those of a marijuana-based biscuit can last even half a day.

Another difference between inhaled cannabis and that taken as food is biological . Among the metabolites that our body produces when processing THC is 11-Hidroxi-THC (11-OH-THC).

When cannabis is inhaled, the THC transformed into 11-Hidroxi-THC by the body is very little, while when cannabis is ingested the metabolite increases considerably, sometimes reaching a 1:1 ratio.

Light cannabis cultivation

This significantly affects our neurological reaction: 11-Hidroxi-THC is much more powerful than THC, because it is able to overcome the blood-brain barrier more easily.

This is why law 242/2016 brought about a small revolution, especially in the world of therapeutic cannabis: being able to take THC through the digestive system has guaranteed more intense effects for all those who take marijuana for medical reasons, with the aim to reduce chronic pain and muscle spasms .

Regulating the THC content in marijuana-based foods is not at all easy, also because each food has different dosages and the same applies to each type of herb, but - today - thanks to the provision of the Ministry of Health we will know with certainty the measurement of the THC in the foods we are using.

CBD and digestion

What happens to cannabidiol after it enters our body? It does not transform into THC, has no psychoactive effects and is not addictive!

If these were your big fears, rest assured and take CBD through food with peace of mind.

If you want to know more, here is a fairly accurate explanation of the path that cannabidiol takes once it enters the bloodstream.

Once it enters the bloodstream, CBD travels through the body and interacts with the endocannabinoid system to exert its beneficial effects by binding to the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. After a while, halfway through the journey, the CBD molecules pass through the liver, which converts the compound into inactive, water-soluble forms, so that the kidneys can dispose of it.

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The liver converts CBD into various metabolites, including 7-OH-CBD and 6-OH-CBD. Over time, more and more CBD will be converted into inactive metabolites.

The entire process can take a couple of days before all the CBD is completely eliminated from the body; however, the effects tend to last about 6-8 hours, until blood concentrations are too low to provide noticeable effects.

Hemp as a food supplement

Until the 1960s, industrial hemp was used in the food industry, and continues to be used in Russia and Asia.

What is obtained from squeezing and grinding the seeds is a perfectly balanced food , optimal for human nutrition, thanks to a perfect balance between amino acids and essential fatty acids.

65% of the globulins contained in food hemp satisfy the daily requirement of proteins, necessary for the creation of antibodies, the absorption of nutrients and the health of organs and tissues.

Hemp also contains a large amount of healthy fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, which keep blood vessels and arteries healthy by fighting bad cholesterol, as well as vitamins, minerals and fiber.

What are the properties of hemp?

  • Protects the brain: many scientific studies show that eating hemp brings benefits in some pathological conditions of the central and peripheral nervous system such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis;
  • Improves heart health : the presence of essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 helps improve heart health, reducing the risk of problems such as arrhythmias and heart and cardiovascular diseases;
  • Reduces inflammation : Hemp seeds and sprouts are a source of gamma linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that may have anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation, GLA can help manage the symptoms of chronic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Relaxes muscles: thanks to its muscle-relaxing effect, CBD is an excellent ally for combating the symptoms of diseases such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, characterized by the presence of muscle spasms and chronic pain.

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