Cannabis News, India

FSSAI Recognises Hemp Oil and Seed Products as Food

FSSAI recognises hemp oil and seed products in India
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In an unexpected yet exciting announcement, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has notified that FSSAI recognises hemp oil and seed products as food.

In The Gazette of India, published on 15th November 2021, FSSAI has announced that hemp seeds and seed products are now recognised as a food source. Hemp oil and seeds products were among the ___ other edible items approved as food under the name of Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Fifth Amendment Regulations, 2021.

The notification regularises hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, and hemp seed flour to be:

  1. Sold as food, or
  2. Used as an ingredient in a food for sale.

A number of parameters such as the total levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids along with directions for proper labelling of hemp seeds and seed products are also a part of this notification.

This is a big win for the hemp industry in India. The use of hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, and hemp seed flour as a food source or ingredient can lead to ground-breaking innovations in healthy food products while generating employment opportunities for hundreds of people.

FSSAI Recognises Hemp Oil and Seed Products as Food

FSSAI recognises hemp oil and seeds as food in India
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The excerpt of The Gazette of India issuing this notification reads:

“2.16. Hemp seeds and seed products:

(1) For the purpose of these regulations, hemp seed means the hulled1, non-viable2 seeds3 obtained from Cannabis sativa/other indigenous Cannabisspecies. The cultivation of Cannabis species for the purpose of hemp seeds in India shall comply with Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and rules made thereunder. (2) The hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour shall be sold as food or used as an ingredient in a food for sale subject to conforming to the following standards:

(2) The hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour shall be sold as food or used as an ingredient in a food
for sale subject to conforming to the following standards:

(i) Hemp seed:

S.No.ParametersRequirements
1.Moisture, percent m/m, Max.7.0
2.Protein (N x 6.25), percent m/m, Min.30.0
3.. Fat, per cent m/m, Min.45.0
4.Ash, per cent m/m, Max.6.0
5.Total THC4, mg/kg, Max.5.0
FSSAI recognises hemp oil and seed products as food_1

(ii) Oil extracted from hemp seeds:

S.No.ParametersRequirements
1.Free fatty acid (expressed asOleic Acid), per cent m/m,
Max.
0.50
2.Peroxide value, mEq/kg, Max.10.0
3.Total THC4, mg/kg, Max.10.0
FSSAI recognises hemp oil and seed products as food_2

(iii) Hemp seed flour means solid product after seeds are milled to a powder with or without extraction of oil. The flour prepared after hemp seed has been pressed to extract oil shall clearly be labelled as ‘Deoiled hemp seed flour’.

S.No.ParametersRequirements
1.Total THC, mg/kg, Max.5.0
FSSAI recognises hemp oil and seed products as food_3

(iv) The total THC shall not exceed 0.2 mg/kg in any beverages made from hemp seeds.

(v) Any other food for sale that consists of hemp seed or seed products shall not exceed Total THC content of 5 mg/kg.

(3) The level of cannabidiol5 (CBD) in any food for sale consisting of hemp seed or seed products shall not exceed 75 mg/kg.

(4) Cannabinoids6 in any food for sale consisting of hemp seed or seed products shall only be present naturally in or on the seeds.

(5) The food for sale that consists of hemp seed or seed products shall not be labelled or otherwise presented for sale in a form which expressly or by implication suggests that the product has a psychoactive effect.

(6) The label for the food containing hemp seed or seed products for sale shall not include:
(a) a nutrient content claim about cannabidiol; or
(b) a health claim about cannabidiol; or
(c) an image or representation of any part of the Cannabis plant (including the leaf of that plant) other than the seed; or
(d) the words ‘cannabis’, ‘marijuana’ or words of similar meaning.

(7) The label for the food containing hemp seed or seed products for sale may include the word ‘Hemp’.
(8) No person shall manufacture, import or sale any food product containing hemp seed or seed products intended for administration to infant upto the age of 24 months.

Note:

1. Hulled seeds mean seeds from which the outer coat or hull of seeds has been removed.

2. Non-viable seeds mean seeds that are not able to germinate.

3. Seeds include a part of a seed.

4. Total THC means the total amount of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

5. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive component of Cannabis species.

6. Cannabinoids means any of various naturally-occurring, biologically active, chemical constituents such as cannabidiol or cannabinol of Cannabis speciesincluding some that possess psychoactive properties like delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“It’ll be exciting to see the wide adoption hemp oil and seed products will now witness in India. Hemp seeds, oil, and flour will soon be everyday food, easily available on supermarket shelves. In a few years, hemp seed oil will be as common in India as olive oil.“,
-Srijan Sharma, Founder, ItsHemp.


What are Hemp Seeds?

Hemp seeds are seeds of the hemp plant—a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species. Even though hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, they are non-intoxicating in nature and do not produce a mind-altering effect.

Hemp seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are rich in protein, fibre, and healthy fatty acids such as omega-3s and 6s. Regularly consuming hemp seeds can reduce symptoms of numerous ailments, improving heart, skin, and joint health.

Hemp seeds are a rich source of:

  • Proteins: hemp seeds contain all the 9 essential amino acids required by the human body, and are thus, considered a complete source of protein.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Hemp seeds contain omega-6 and omega-3 in the optimal ratio of 3:1. These give hemp seeds anti-inflammatory properties and help in reducing inflammation throughout the body, helping with medical conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and muscle pain.
  • Fibre: Dietary fibres present in hemp seeds regulate blood sugar levels and help maintain healthy gut bacteria.
  • Dietary Vitamins & Minerals: hemp seeds contain substantial amounts of vitamin E and dietary minerals such as zinc, manganese, and phosphorus.

Featured Reads
What are Hemp Seeds? Benefits and How to Use?
5 Hemp Seed Recipes You Can Easily DIY

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil is the oil extracted by cold-pressing hemp seeds. It retains the complete nutritional value of the seeds and can be used as a dietary and personal care supplement.

Hemp seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of vitamin E, omega-3s and 6s, and phytosterols (plant cholesterols that help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in the body).

Hemp seed oil can be consumed raw, added to shakes and smoothies, or used as a salad dressing. It is not recommended for deep frying because it has a low boiling point.

As a personal care supplement, hemp seed oil can be used as hair oil, massage oil, or in various combinations to act as a face mask.

Featured Reads
What is Hemp Oil? Benefits and How to Use?
How to use Hemp Oil in Food (+10 Recipes)?

What is Hemp Seed Flour?

Hemp seed flour is made by finely grounding hemp seeds. It is a complete plant-based source of protein and does not contain any soy, lactose, dairy, or gluten.

Hemp seed flour is a rich source of protein, essential fatty acids, and dietary vitamins and minerals.

Hemp seed flour can be used as a replacement for whey protein—in milk or water. It can also be added to pancake and parantha batter or to smoothies, shakes, and porridge.

Featured Reads
All You Need to know about Hemp Powder in India

What are CBD and THC?

The notification issued by FSSAI also defines the levels of CBD and THC hemp seeds and seed products can have. Why is this important?

CBD and THC are chemical compounds naturally present in the cannabis plant. They belong to the group of cannabinoids. The levels of these compounds are important because one of them is the compound that is responsible for the high people experience after consuming cannabis.

What is THC?

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical compound that causes a high when someone consumes cannabis. The levels of THC are usually specified to minimise the intoxicating effects experienced by a user.

Cannabis extracts with a high amount of THC (typically more than 0.3%) are classified as Ayurvedic medicines in India and can be purchased on presenting a prescription from an Ayurvedic doctor.

Is THC legal in India?

Cannabis is a Schedule-E1 drug in India regulated by the AYUSH Ministry and the Excise Department of India. Cannabis products with high amounts of THC are, therefore, legal but regulated in India. These can only be purchased on presenting a valid prescription from an Ayurvedic doctor.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is another cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant that has numerous therapeutic effects. However, unlike THC, it is non-intoxicating in nature and does not produce the high.

Regular use of CBD can provide symptomatic relief from physical, mental, neurological, sexual, and psychological disorders. CBD may be called a plant-based alternative medicine for a plethora of medical conditions.

Featured Reads
The Ultimate Guide to CBD in India, 2021
How to buy CBD oil in India?

Is CBD legal in India?

There are no clear guidelines about the legality of CBD in India. While the NDPS Act of India outlaws the recreational use of cannabis, it does not apply to the leaves and seeds of cannabis plants.

Therefore, if extracted from the leaves of a cannabis plant, CBD is not technically illegal. From the latest regulations available, it is legal to use CBD products with low to zero amounts of THC for both medicinal and wellness purposes.


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2 thoughts on “FSSAI Recognises Hemp Oil and Seed Products as Food

  1. Drsrvijayalakshmi says:

    Does this mean the exorbitant price of cbd oil will come down drastically? Only then this recognition is meaningful and can really help those suffering.

    1. Hi Drsrvijayalakshmi!
      This Fssai recognition enables businesses to use Hemp seeds and their by-products as food items instead of ayurvedic medical products. At this moment this move by the Fssai doesn’t have any direct impact on CBD or any medical cannabis products. However, it definitely is a step in the right direction and we can be hopeful of new regulations in the coming future that enables CBD oil to be available to the masses soon.

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