Blog - Hemp and Drug Testing

cannabis plant

There have been lobby groups in existence for a long time who seek the legalisation of the use of hemp and hemp products, and the decriminalisation of recreational cannabis use. While hemp has many potential uses, ranging from textiles and fibres, to construction materials and animal feeds, its availability has been restricted mainly because of concerns that hemp may contain the psychoactive cannabinoid components of cannabis including delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

South Australian and Commonwealth legislation recently relaxed laws  around medicinal cannabis, allowing farmers to produce cannabis free of THC. The Greens have introduced a bill to legalise industrial hemp that will be voted on in Parliament in 2017. In a related move, low THC hemp has been approved as a food for human consumption.

Hemp used for food products, including hemp seeds and hemp oil, are considered rich in amino acids and beneficial omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are used in a variety of products including chocolate, hemp protein powders, cereals, milks, and yoghurts. Low THC hemp is not considered to be a risk of either illicit consumption, nor of diversion to illegal cannabis activities. People consuming low-THC hemp products are not likely to experience any psychopharmacological effect, and workplace drug testing of THC in oral fluids and THC carboxylic acid in urine is unlikely to detect the low levels of THC. The proposed reduction in the cut-off threshold for THC in oral fluids from 25 to 10µg/L will also be unlikely to impact on detections of consumers of low THC products.

However, individuals sourcing their hemp products from suppliers who do not verify the low THC status of their products may run the risk of consuming products made using cannabis, which will remain illegal and detectable in both roadside and workplace drug testing procedures.

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