DENVER -- Forty percent of Americans buy organic foods, and one of the most popular items is hemp seeds. Controversy over whether hemp seeds can have the same effect as marijuana has some worried.
You can find plenty of hemp products at your local health food store. Seeds can be sprinkled on your favorite meal and there's even a hemp shake these days.
Hemp is popular because it's a great diet supplement for people allergic to soy, containing about 11 grams of protein in a single tablespoon.
Lani Banner of The Vitamin Cottage explains, "It is a complete protein, contains all of the essential amino acids in the ratio that the human body requires." But some worry hemp contains THC, found in marijuana which is in the same family of plants.
This year, the military banned soldiers from eating products with hemp seeds. The reasoning was that the seeds might skew a soldier's drug test. We decided to have the seeds tested at Forensic Laboratories in Aurora.
Our subject was a mother of three who doesn't want us to use her name, but agreed to take part in our test.
She enjoys the health benefits of hemp, but wants to make sure she's not making a mistake and says, "For my children, I want to set an example for them that it's important what you put in your body and drugs are not the way to go."
After eating a salad with three times the amount of hemp seeds usually found in packaged yogurt, our subject submitted a urine sample to the lab to begin the testing process, which was repeated twice.
She also used a good amount of hemp lotion.
Dr. Laura Bechtel revealed to us that the results were negative for THC. Bechtel says the lab does job drug testing on a routine basis and does not find THC traces in people who eat hemp as a health food but do not use marijuana and adds, "People have to realize it's going to have to take a large amount of seeds, a bag of seeds or more to test positive."
Experts say if you want to have confidence in what you're buying, check the label every time. Since hemp seeds that are hulled lose their THC, make sure to buy seeds that are produced in Canada, where exported hemp products fall under tough standards.
Lani Banner of The Vitamin Cottage says, "You can look at the back of the label for the symbol for the test pledge, this is where the companies pledge that they are testing all of their hemp seed products to ensure that it has undetectable levels of THC."
The symbol looks like a small circle or tear drop shape that says "test pledge." Learn more information about the benefits of hemp products here.