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Judging by the rise in Google searches for hemp-derived products, public interest in Hemp Oil is at a historic high. CBD and hemp products are flying off the shelves, but for gluten-free devotees, an important question remains: Is Hemp Oil gluten-free?
Over three million Americans follow a gluten-free diet — a number that has tripled over the past few years. People who follow this diet do so for a variety of reasons. For example, those with celiac disease — an immune disorder — can’t ingest gluten without damaging the lining of their small intestines. There are also people who follow gluten-free diets for health reasons. Some claim that gluten-free diets are healthier, lead to increased energy levels, and can facilitate rapid weight loss. Meanwhile, others follow gluten-free diets to comply with Paleo, keto, or Primal restrictions. The latter focuses on raw, minimally-processed foods.
Generally, finding gluten-free food products involves looking for the “gluten-free” logo. But, what about consumable non-food products and, in particular, Hemp Oil? Over the past few years, 33% of Americans have tried CBD products like Hemp Oil. Unfortunately, the majority of Hemp Oil product labels don’t offer consumers much information. Yet, if you’re avoiding gluten, you’ll need to refrain from ingesting foods that contain it.
So, is Hemp Oil gluten-free? Well, yes and no. The answer is a little more complicated.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is the generalized name for the group of proteins, such as glutenin and gliadin, found in grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley. These proteins are in virtually every food we buy at the market. The low cost and unique properties of gluten make it ideal for nearly every mass-produced food item on the planet. It’s hard to avoid gluten — really hard. In fact, around 32% of restaurant food marked “gluten-free” actually contains gluten. It’s a nearly ubiquitous protein due to its association with wheat — the most commonly consumed food on the planet. Still, pizza enthusiasts no longer have to go without their favorite pie. Due to the popularity in gluten-free diets, pizza chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s now offer gluten-free pizzas.
For those looking to avoid gluten, Googling “Is X gluten-free?” is probably a routine part of your day. To add to the challenge, wheat finds its way into foods you wouldn’t expect. Lunch meats, soy sauce, and salad dressings all commonly contain gluten. So, being vigilant with food choices is crucial for those who need to avoid the pasty, doughy, and sticky protein.
Why Some People Avoid Gluten
For a significant percentage of the population, gluten causes some serious health and digestion issues. These issues include:
- Celiac disease: Some people avoid gluten to reduce calories or participate in dietary programs. But for those with celiac disease, a small amount of gluten can spell trouble. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that impacts roughly 1% of the world’s population. When people with celiac disease ingest gluten, their own cells and antibodies attack the linings of their small intestines, leading to bloody stools, diarrhea, weight loss, nausea, pain, cramping, gas, and a host of other debilitating symptoms. Currently, there’s no cure for celiac disease, and most physicians recommend that these patients rely on 100% gluten-free diets.
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH): Some people with celiac disease also have dermatitis herpetiformis. When they eat gluten products, their skin can break out in pus-filled sores or blisters. As in celiac disease, the body attacks itself if fed foods containing gluten.
- Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS): You don’t have to have celiac disease to suffer from gluten intolerance. Some people who consume gluten products regularly report upset stomachs, digestion issues, and constipation. While they don’t suffer from celiac disease, they do have very real symptoms that cause suffering. Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes NCGS, but they do know that a significant portion of the population (18+ million in America) suffers from this disorder.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS (also called “spastic colon”) is a disorder that affects the large intestines of between three and 20% of Americans. As in the case of celiac disease, the wrong foods can result in a not-so-pleasant trip to the restroom. IBS patients who accidentally ingest foods with gluten can attest to this. Avoiding FODMAP (or “Fermentable Oligo-,” “Di-, Mono-saccharides, and Polyols) foods helps many IBS patients ease their symptoms. Basically, FODMAPs are carbs found in foods like wheat. While FODMAPs generally excludes fructans (another chemical in wheat), many who suffer from IBS must still avoid gluten completely to prevent health catastrophes.
The Importance of Reading the Label
But, here’s the thing: you don’t have to suffer from celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or IBS to enjoy a gluten-free diet. In fact, 72% of Americans who follow a gluten-free diet don’t have celiac disease. They’re eating gluten-free foods to live longer and healthier lives. For most, following gluten-free diets is made easier by modern labeling. Food brands are allowed to use the optional “gluten-free” label if their product contains under 20 parts-per-million of gluten. And, given that millions of Americans follow gluten-free diets, the motivation for brands to produce (and label) foods accordingly is high.
However, non-food consumables aren’t necessarily so cut-and-dried. Drinks, oils, and supplements aren’t always labeled. To make matters worse, hemp isn’t just an obscure plant any more: it’s become a mainstream phenomenon. There are foods, drinks, oils, topicals, and isolates that all come packaged under the banner of hemp. So, what about Hemp Oil? Do those tinctures keep the gluten monsters away?
What Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3% THC (the cannabinoid that makes you feel “high” when you ingest marijuana). Cannabis sativa is an incredible plant. People have been cultivating it for thousands of years, and it’s raw versatility allows farmers to breed a variety of plants for diverse uses. Some industries grow long, tall, and fibrous hemp plans to make durable textiles. Others (like us) grow nutrient-dense hemp plants for Hemp Oil or topicals. And, of course, some farmers grow marijuana plants with thick, dense buds for medical marijuana.
But, here’s a secret: hemp is also grown for food. Believe it or not, you can eat hemp. Hemp seeds are an incredible source of fatty acids and nutrients. In fact, here’s a fascinating conversation our Chief Science Officer Tim Gordon recently had with Dr. Joel Kahn on his Heart Doc VIP podcast. Both discuss the nutritional value of hemp plants and their seeds.
So, cannabis is, without a doubt, one of the most widely cultivated and diverse plants on the planet. Luckily, hemp contains absolutely no gluten or any FODMAPs elements.
So, what does hemp have in it? For starters, it has cannabinoids. These are cannabis chemicals that interact with your endocannabinoid receptors. That’s right: You have receptors in your body that hemp specifically binds to.
Hemp also has flavonoids, terpenes, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. We won’t dive too deep into the nutritional profile of hemp. However, we will say this: hemp contains absolutely no gluten. It’s not a natural compound in the plant itself. So, what about Hemp Oil and hemp products? Well, that’s a different story.
Hemp Oil: A Battle of Standards
Not all Hemp Oils are made the same way. In fact, there are a million ways you can extract oil from hemp. And, trust us, they’re not all equal. Let’s get this out of the way: there are shady Hemp Oil companies out there. From falsifying lab results to contamination and mislabeling issues, the still-young CBD market has its fair share of unscrupulous actors. And, it’s not farfetched to consider that some companies may be using subpar manufacturing methods to produce CBD as cheaply as possible. And, when we look at industry-standards for Hemp Oil production, there’s a wide disparity in manufacturing practices.
Some producers extract oil from hemp using hazardous chemicals. In fact, recent studies show that around 70% of ALL Hemp Oil products on the market contain heavy metals and dangerous pesticides. The industry experienced a recall recently after some manufacturers shipped out CBD products containing lead. The various chemicals used to extract hemp may or may not be gluten-free. There are typically two ways gluten finds its way into Hemp Oil:
- The Hemp Oil producer using a gluten-containing oil (hay oil, oat oil, etc.) during the manufacturing process
- Gluten contamination in the factory where the product is processed
Why Your Hemp Oil Isn't Gluten-Free
Due to fast growth rates and high yields, hemp is a very attractive crop. However, this prompts some companies to cut corners in order to leverage the entire yield. If these companies produce Hemp Oil in factories that also handle gluten products, they prevent waste from accumulating. However, this state of affairs also leads to cross-contamination. The result is gluten in your supposedly gluten-free Hemp Oil.
The same is also true for “pure CBD” oils. Specifically, CBD oil is made using a harsh CO2 extraction method. It rips apart cell walls and extracts only the CBD from the plant. But, if the company producing the hemp is cutting corners, it’s possible for gluten to make its way into the CBD isolate.
So, the real answer to the question, “Is Hemp Oil gluten-free?” is a little complicated. Hemp itself is gluten-free. And, ethically-made Hemp Oil contains no gluten. But, given the diverse factors in manufacturing, we certainly can’t confirm that all Hemp Oil is gluten-free.
What About Other Hemp Products?
Are you looking to explore the wonders of CBD? If so, you aren’t short on options. There are CBD-infused lollipops, energy drinks, teas, tinctures, sunscreens, and even hemp hand sanitizers (which are now a part of the average person’s daily health regime). Many of these products contain gluten. In addition, many companies add gluten-containing fillers and sweeteners to their hemp products.
For those who avoid gluten, many CBD-infused food and beverage products don’t come with “gluten-free” labels. Want to try out that new CBD beer? Watch out! It may contain gluten. Many CBD-infused beers are brewed with barley.
What about satiating your sweet tooth with a brownie, instead? Most store-bought brownies contain wheat flours. A good rule-of-thumb is to check for the gluten-free label. If the product doesn’t have the label, assume it contains gluten.
Of course, you can always Google the product in question. Most manufacturers will let you know if their products are gluten-free. However, we recommend checking the labels, especially when it comes to hemp-infused food and beverages.
Looking for Gluten-Free Hemp Oil?
Finding gluten-free Hemp Oil should be a cinch, right? How about finding holistic and nutrient-dense Hemp Oil? In fact, why should you settle for harsh extraction methods, subpar crops, and shady manufacturing methods?
At Synchronicity™, we use whole-leaf hemp plants and extract their rich oil using what we call the “LipidTrans Infusion™” method. It involves gently hand-pressing GMO-free hemp with nutrient-rich oils like MCT and coconut oil to absorb all of those rich hemp nutrients. Our patented, one-of-a-kind hemp plant — CBDRx18 — isn’t only the gold-standard in hemp genomes, but it also contains exactly zero gluten. From crop-to-table, our Hemp Oil is completely gluten-free.
We aren’t your average Hemp Oil company. Specifically, we’re a family-owned business that uses best-in-class processes and tight quality control to deliver some of the most holistic Hemp Oil on the planet. Our Hemp Oil is 100% gluten-free. Most importantly, our packaging is made using recycled ocean plastics. Plus, our farm only grows sustainable crops. Some people call us obsessive hemp evangelists. But we’re not using a more expensive, time-consuming infusion process for our benefit; we’re doing it for you.
Consumers shouldn’t have to settle for unreliable Hemp Oil production methods or unknown plant origins. We believe that getting a complete hemp experience starts with the right Hemp Oil. So, whether you’re avoiding gluten, want to preserve the environment, or simply just want to know the quality of the oil you’re ingesting, our Synchronicity product line has you covered.
Want to learn more about our patented hemp plants or sustainable manufacturing process? Curious about our best-in-class products? if so, contact us, and let’s talk hemp. We’re not afraid of questions. We think we make the best Hemp Oil on the planet, and we’re ready to prove it!