Is Hemp Safe to Eat When You’re Gluten-Free?
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
Hemp—a very close but non-psychoactive relative to the cannabis plant known as marijuana that has gained a reputation as a superfood in recent years —is technically gluten-free. It’s not at all closely related to the gluten grains wheat, barley, and rye.
However, that’s not the end of the story for hemp, which is a valuable source of fiber, magnesium, and essential fatty acids. With all this versatility and nutrition contained in hemp, how can those of us on a gluten-free diet reap its benefits?
The catch with hemp, as with many other grain products, is that hemp is often grown in rotation with other crops including gluten grains like wheat. And farmers may use the same equipment to harvest, store, and transport hemp as they do with gluten grains. That’s how hemp can become contaminated.
It’s not guaranteed that hemp will be cross-contaminated with gluten, of course, though there’s a chance that some hemp could be above the U.S. legal limit of less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
So What Can You Do to Enjoy Hemp?
In order to avoid gluten cross contamination, you should look for hemp product manufacturers that ensure their sources of hemp are as pure as possible. To be extra cautious, avoid any hemp-based products that don’t reference gluten on the packaging (or manufacturers who openly admit they can’t guarantee they meet gluten-free standards, such as Pacific Foods ). Instead, look for products that are labeled “gluten-free,” which means they fall below 20 ppm.
Products that are labeled gluten-free must meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s legal standards of less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Manufacturers of products that are certified gluten-free are required to take extra steps to ensure the raw materials they source are free of gluten cross-contamination. If you’re particularly sensitive, your safest bet is a “Certified Gluten-Free” label from the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which ensures that that products fall below 10 ppm.
You can find many certified gluten-free hemp products on the GFCO’s website, and here are a few hemp products that are certified gluten-free to help get you started:
- Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Hemp Ancient Grain Granola. Purely Elizabeth granolas are packed with nutrients and come in a variety of flavors including blueberry hemp, which is made with other superfoods like amaranth, quinoa, and chia, and is lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and baked with coconut oil. All of Purely Elizabeth’s products are certified gluten-free by the GFCO, certified vegan, and non-GMO verified, and are made with organic ingredients and contain no artificial additives or soy.
- Elmhurst Barista Edition Hemp Milk. Made for steaming, foaming, and pouring, this barista-style hemp milk is certified gluten-free by the GFCO and is vegan, dairy-free, carrageenan-free, kosher, and non-GMO verified. It contains only six ingredients and is shelf-stable until opened, and you can also use it as a creamer for your favorite cup of coffee or tea.
- Suncore Foods Hulled Hemp Seeds. These hulled hemp seeds make for a quick energy-boosting snack or can add a satisfying crunch and nutty flavor to yogurt, smoothies, and salads. Suncore Foods’ hemp seeds are labeled gluten-free and included in the GFCO’s product directory, and are also organic and non-GMO verified.
As hemp foods become increasingly popular, more hemp-based products are available that are specially sourced and certified safe to eat for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As always, read labels carefully and don’t hesitate to contact the company or manufacturer should you need to know more.
Hemp-based foods are not always gluten-free enough for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Here's what you need to know to stay safe.
Are hemp hearts gluten free
January 16, 2019 by Ian R
Hemp seeds do not contain gluten-protein, and are also nut, lactose, and sugar free. People who are gluten intolerant can incorporate hemp seeds into their diet safely. This is good news for many because more and more people are becoming aware that they have gluten sensitivities and even intolerances.
It’s understandable why these people want to know what foods contain gluten. And this is the same for supplements too. Now that we’ve answered the question for those wondering, are hemp seeds gluten free, let’s discuss a little bit more about the significance of this and discuss some other valuable information about hemp seeds.
Before doing this, we should mention that although there are no known allergies to hemp, it is possible to have wheat allergies (gluten comes from wheat). Wheat may promote symptoms that are like gluten allergies when you are taking a compound product that includes hemp seeds.
In addition, as we’ll detail below, hemp seeds can be cross-contaminated with gluten as farmers often produce them together.
A Smarter Natural Protein Source
Not only are hemp seeds gluten free, but as a protein source, they’re a smart choice for anyone who has a multitude of other intolerances to go along with their gluten ones. That’s because hemp seeds are a more digestible protein than meat, whole eggs, cheese, and milk. Considering those are the benchmark sources for protein in the Western diet that’s really saying something.
Where hemp seeds really shine is in the way they promote cellular health. They are one of the best-balanced sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. Between them and their spectrum of proteins they promote fortified cellular development for a whole host of immediate health benefits, including:
- Significantly lowered cholesterol and blood pressure plus decreased probability of stroke
- Reduction of the inflammation that comes with many diseases and conditions
- Speedier disease recovery due to better cellular health
- Better circulation for those with circulatory impairment, and particularly for diabetics
- Better immune system performance overall
Risk of Cross Contamination
Those asking the question are hemp seeds gluten free can trust in the insistence that they’re not, but there is one precaution that needs sharing here. Hemp is frequently grown in rotation with other crops, and most common among them are gluten grains – in particular, wheat. These farmers will use the same harvesting, storage, and transport equipment for the gluten grains that they use for hemp.
Cross-contamination can occur as a result, and it does happen quite regularly in these scenarios. Certain studies in the US have found traces of gluten protein in hemp flour, and in significant enough quantities to be a cause for concern for people with gluten intolerances or sensitivities.
This is the only way there would be an exception to our understanding of are hemp seeds gluten free, but it is one that you should pay heed to. Especially if your celiac disease or similar condition makes it essential that there be no gluten in your hemp seeds. You can look for products that indicate ‘cleanly’ sourced hemp, and customer recommendations online are a good way of verifying that.
Of course, you shouldn’t put full faith in any manufacturer claiming to have ‘gluten-free’ hemp seed products as there isn’t any type of regulatory body overseeing that. With that said, products labeled as ‘gluten free’ should have less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
The Canadian Celiac Association also certifies brands that manufacture gluten-free products, through their Gluten-Free Certification Program. You can look up safe products on their website or check for their badge while shopping.
Let’s end this on a positive note. As hemp becomes more widely accepted, more farmers will grow the crop exclusively. This will cut down on the incidence of gluten cross-contamination considerably.
Are hemp seeds gluten free? While they might get contaminated by gluten-containing foods during processing, hemp seeds are naturally gluten free.