Free to Pee THC
By Todd Hungry Bear Dalotto c. 1997 Hungry Bear Hemp Foods
Published in Hemp Magazine, August, 1997.
Within the past year we have come to learn that a positive urine analysis for THC may result after eating highly-nutritious hemp seeds. The springboard issue happened back in late August of 1996 when a Tennessee testing lab made public their plea to the DEA and the FDA to have Seedy Sweeties (hemp seed treats made by Hungry Bear Hemp Foods) removed from the market because it exposes the inaccuracies of their tests.
Sources report that federal agencies responded by stating
that these products contain no illegal levels THC, are legal import products, and have been cleared for culinary use.
Further investigation revealed that edible hemp seeds are far from the only factor that reveal the inaccuracy of urine testing. For instance, the following anti-inflammatory drugs (phenylpropionic acid derivatives) produce positive cannabinoid results:
ibuprofen (Motrin; Advil), naproxin (Anaprox; Naprosyn), and fenoprofen (Nalfon).
Also, as this $600 million a year
industry continues to grow, so does the quantity of specimens analyzed, hence, the increased likelihood for human error.
In most cases, urine tests are performed using a combination of two types of tests. The first test is a screen test, usually an immunoassay, it indicates whether the target chemical compound binds to an antibody. This is one of the least expensive tests available, and are commonly automated to perform and large number of tests rapidly. It does not give an accurate level of the substance tested for, rather a simple “positive” or “negative”. In the case for THC testing, labs usually test for the metabolite 11-nor-D9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
(THC-COOH), which also cross-reacts with other
cannabinoids. Because the tests lack an acceptable level of accuracy, it is sometimes backed up by a second, less
The second test, called Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), is used to confirm the results of the screen test. The GC/MS works by providing a reading of the complete mass spectrum of a analyte as it flows through a column. It records the peaks of the signal that result at various times that each constituent takes to affect the detector. To maximize the accuracy of the GC/MS, it should be programmed to record several mass ions. For instance, a single mass ion should distinguish the target compound from 16 others, however, three mass ions should distinguish the target compound from over a million organic compounds. Further accuracy can be achieved by extracting, separating, derivatizing, using different ion sources, increasing resolution, and using improved packed or capillary columns.
To date, studies have proven that the ingestion of cannabis hemp seeds, whether sterilized, cooked into candy, ground into flour, or pressed into oil, cause positive urine analysis results for THC in many people using both the screen test as well as GC/MS. What has yet to be proven is how these test results occur. The most logical explanation is that there may be minute residue of THC on the surface of the seed. Why not? The most THC-potent part of the plant is the calyx that grows around the seed. But some of the products tested contain hemp seed that has gone through very thorough cleaning. In addition, the when the mature seed is harvested, the flower is quite dead and inactive. If this is the case, the THC level is certainly below the legal limit and one would have to consume several times his or her body weight in hemp seeds in order to catch a buzz.
Another explanation may be that, as the anti-inflammatory drugs mentioned above contain a compound that shows up as a THC metabolite in urine, hemp seeds may contain a non-cannabinoid compound that will be detected as the THC metabolite as well.
The case for poppy seeds is much simpler. Poppy seeds do contain minute quantities of morphine, which may show up on a urine test as morphine, heroine, or similar opiates.
If your freedom or livelihood is threatened because you test positive for THC on your U.A. after eating hemp seed, consider the following options:
1.Educate the threatening party of the correlation between the ingestion of hemp seeds and urine analyses. Ask that they rescind their threat and to apply this experience to hemp seed-eaters to follow.
2.Demonstrate that hemp seed is an important part of your diet. Obtain factual documentation supporting the unique nutritional and medicinal properties of hemp seed:
1.Hemp seed contains Essential Fatty Acids (LA and LNA) in ideal proportions to our dietary needs. EFAs are essential for a healthy immune system, skin, and hair, and for the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases.
2.Hemp seed contains Gamma Linolenic Acid, which is absent from most common foods. GLA is beneficial for arthritis and premenstrual syndrome and is crucial to the production of prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals that regulate nearly all cellular functions).
3.Hemp seed is one of the few foods that contain all eight essential amino acids (a complete protein) in a
well-balanced, easily digestible form.
4.Hemp Seed has the following medicinal properties:
Demulcent (soothes, protects and nurtures intestinal
membranes), nutritive (nourishes the body), and laxative
(promotes bowel movements).
5.Hemp seed is very delicious and is rapidly becoming a staple food of health- conscious people.
3.Contact experts who know about this, and ask that they help to back you up with expert testimony. People such as certified forensic lab analysts or hemp food experts, such as myself.
4.Ensure the protection of your right to consume safe, nutritious foods without sanction.
5.Demonstrate that urine testing without probable cause is a violation of your Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights (the right of the people to be secure in their persons...against unreasonable searches).
6.If it comes down to determining the accuracy of the test:
Obtain details of every aspect of the testing process:
were the results obtained?
Was a screen test performed without confirmation by a GC/MS?
To how many mass ions was the analyte tested to?
Has the lab undergone proficiency testing?
Find out the lab’s record of false positives.
Any lab “mix-ups” that day?
To this date, I know of no cases where, after presenting the facts, a person has lost a job or been found to be in violation of parole when the ingestion of hemp seeds has resulted in a positive urinalysis for THC. But, for people to undergo such suspicion and scrutiny for eating nutritious food is unacceptable.
If enough people who suffer from such injustice challenge it extensively, then the institutions who require such testing, as well as institutions who provide the testing will be forced to utilize methods to ensure safe work places without using such invasive and unconstitutional methods.
Marching To Victory!