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Healthy Foods

Hemp

What is hemp?

Hemp is a seed. It is not marijuana, or any sort of wacky-tobacky. If someone was to smoke our granola, it would probably just taste a little burned. It would not be any sort of mind-bending experience.

Hulled hempseed is not psychoactive. Ingesting foods with hulled hempseeds does not lead to intoxication. True, all hemp plants have delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but the residual level in hulled hempseeds used for food is miniscule—usually measured in 1 or 2 parts per million. Nature’s Path foods with hulled hempseed do not cause involuntary intoxication.

All of our products are tested for THC. We are able to test down to one part per million and report finding no detectable THC. Based on this scientific testing, we are confident in saying our foods will not cause involuntary intoxication.

How can something so delicious be legal?

It’s totally legal to eat it. There’s a law called the Controlled Substances Act that says it is illegal to make, distribute or sell products that cause a human being to ingest any amount of THC. But when it was originally passed in 1970, it carried an exemption for hulled hempseed. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), doesn’t recognize this exemption. So several U.S. and Canadian companies, Nature’s Path included, have challenged both the scientific and legal basis for the DEA’s interpretation of current U.S. law.

On March 7, 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals prohibited the DEA from enforcing their interpretation of the law until all legal arguments could be heard by the Court. On March 21, 2003, the DEA reissued their final rules on hemp foods with no change on their position. On April 17, 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals once again stayed the Final Rule published by the DEA. This effectively prevents the DEA from enforcing their Final Rule hereafter, and allows us, our distributors and retailers to market our hemp foods without fear of punishment.

What are the benefits of hemp?

Hemp is an excellent source of protein. It’s got all of the amino acids (all of ‘em), arranged just so, so they meet the body’s needs in a way few other plant proteins can. It’s chock full of nutrients and minerals and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. And it’s a renewable resource that can be used for all sorts of other things beyond eating—paper, oil, purses, clothing, building material. It's truly a wonder plant and fits perfectly with our sustainable spirit.

Hemp seeds are nearly a perfect food source: high in digestible protein, essential fatty acids and naturally occurring minerals - as well as gluten-free with no known allergens.

Why are hemp products difficult to find?

Products with hemp seeds are hard to come by. That's why we’re busy working with the Hemp History Week campaign to renew support for hemp farming in the U.S. and educate elected officials about the benefits of growing industrial hemp on American soil. We're always looking for more volunteers, if you're interested!

Photo courtesy of Hemp Industries Association.