Public Release: 

Tetrahydrocannabinol levels are too high in many hemp-containing foods

Health impairments are possible

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

On the basis of the available data, the BfR comes to the following conclusion: the consumption of hemp-containing foods with the total -Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels on which the calculation is based can lead to an exceedance of the acute reference dose (ARfD) of 0.001 milligrams (mg) per kilogram body weight proposed by EFSA. This acute reference dose describes the quantity of Δ9-THC which can be ingested over short term periods without the expectation of any psychomotoric and psychogenic effects. It is also possible when consuming foods containing hemp that Δ9-THC doses could be ingested which lie within the range of the doses of > 2.5 milligrams (mg) per person and day used in pharmaceutical products, in which case pharmacological effects would be expected. As the occurrence of psychomotoric effects such as reduced reaction capability or tiredness has to be expected in this dosage range, restrictions in a person's ability to drive or operate dangerous machines can be connected with the consumption of foods containing hemp. This applies in particular to high consumers of products of this kind. The psychomotoric effects can also be enhanced by the consumption of alcohol and certain other drugs. In the opinion of the BfR, the levels of Δ9-THC in hemp-containing foods should therefore be further minimised.

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BfR opinion No 034/2018 of 8 November 2018

The full version of this BfR Opinion is available in German at:

https://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/343/tetrahydrocannabinolgehalte-sind-in-vielen-hanfhaltigen-lebensmitteln-zu-hoch-gesundheitliche-beeintraechtigungen-sind-moeglich.pdf

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