Foods. 2022 Feb 8;11(3):486. doi: 10.3390/foods11030486.
∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known as the main psychotropic compound present in the hemp plant. It also occurs in commercially available hemp food products and may have adverse effects on consumers. This article provides an overview of the current situation of the THC content in hemp food products in Germany in recent years. The content of THC was evaluated in a data set of 5 different hemp food product groups (tea, seeds, seed oils, food supplements, and nonalcoholic beverages) comprising 511 samples. For the toxicological assessment, the THC intake was estimated and the exhaustion of acute reference dose (ARfD) and lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) was calculated using average daily consumption scenarios. Data show that hemp beverages and seeds typically do not contain amounts of THC that can exceed toxicological thresholds. On the contrary, hemp food supplements, such as cannabidiol (CBD) products, can contain high levels of THC, since the THC content of 18% of the samples has the potential to exceed the LOAEL and 8% even exceed the minimum intoxication dose. However, a significant linear decrease in the THC content of hemp food supplements was observed between 2018 and 2021 (n = 111, R = -0.36, p < 0.0001). A problematic food group is also tea based on flowers, leading to an increase in overall THC levels in recent years. Regulation of low-THC products within the framework of controlled distribution of cannabis for recreational use appears to be advisable.