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CHICAGO — Baked goods — namely brownies — have long been a preferred delivery method for consuming marijuana, a cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) that contains the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It also contains cannabidiols (CBD), compounds associated with relaxation, pain relief, improved sleep, positive mood, better memory and stress response.
Attitudes toward these substances are changing with marijuana becoming legalized state-by-state. Today, 11 states have legalized the substance for recreational use and 33 for medicinal use. CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in hemp, is legal in some capacity in 46 states, and cannabis data and research firm Brightfield Group found CBD sales reached $5.3 billion in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020. The firm projects CBD sales to reach $26 billion by 2026.
Despite this growth and demand, there’s still a lot of room for ingredient technology to grow to make it safe, consistent and effective in baked goods.
Safety, efficacy and legality
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized hemp-derived cannabis ingredients with less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis of THC and CBD as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for human products such as tinctures and extracts in December 2018.
“While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, the FDA has not approved hemp-derived CBD for use in food and beverages,” said Hilary Brown, director of technical and analytical services, SōRSE Technology. “Despite this, CBD-infused products are on the market. Some states, like California, have taken steps to approve CBD for use in food and beverages and have created regulations for that use.”
Hemp-derived CBD ingredients can be used in a wide range of products; all types of baked goods are popular delivery vehicles.
“Product developers are creating CBD-infused products that replicate formats consumers are familiar with,” Ms. Brown said. “Baked goods and snacks are a solid platform for CBD because of the small format, the strong flavor profiles that can cover the CBD’s off notes and the amount of product a consumer would typically ingest. Baked goods and snacks are very consumer-friendly products; they provide an easy way to incorporate functional ingredients into your daily routine.”
While bakery products may be a good fit for CBD, Russ Cersosimo, founder and chief marketing officer, Hemp Synergistics, noted that in its raw form hemp or CBD oil present several challenges.
“When it comes to manufacturing, the oil itself is highly viscous, making it difficult to work with and evenly dose, and requires the use of chemicals to clean machinery and utensils,” he said. “As far as challenges to the formulation, CBD oil is extremely bitter, with a chemical taste and an off-putting odor. This has caused the market to search for better, more efficient alternatives to cooking with the oil itself. One of the ways to overcome these problems is to look for a powdered form of CBD oil. Some have been specifically developed for baking.”
Like with all living plants, the C. sativa plant experiences ongoing chemical reactions that alter its composition until the plant is harvested and then physically processed to make it inert. In the early stages of growth of C. sativa, cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) develops. As the plant grows, it is transformed into various cannabinoid compounds, with one of the first compounds being cannabidiolic acid (CBDa).
“A key differentiator for CBDa, as compared to CBD ingredients, is that it is extracted from young hemp leaves without heat,” said Chris Boucher, chief executive officer, JuiceTiva, Laguna Beach, Calif.
JuiceTiva markets hemp juice powder made from fresh-picked, California-grown non-GMO hemp leaves. The hemp leaves are immediately packed into refrigerated trucks and delivered to the company’s processing facility where they are cold pressed into fresh, pure hemp juice.
“The final step is a proprietary process that creates crystalline hemp juice powder,” Mr. Boucher said. “Our process locks in the inherent compounds to deliver the maximum hemp superfood value.”
Research shows that CBDa is up to 18 times more bioavailable than CBD because it is not in an oil form. The JuiceTiva ingredient contains no THC but does contain vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and cannabinoids mainly in the form of CBDa.
“CBDa gives you more bang for your buck as a CBD ingredient, allowing the body to absorb more of the nutrients and enzymes,” Mr. Boucher said. “Also, in clinical research, taking CBDa results in three times more cannabinoids reaching the bloodstream compared to CBD alone.”
Mainstream CBD ingredients are extracted from mature plants using heat. They are extracted as an oil, which limits their solubility. CBDa, on the other hand, is 100% water-soluble in liquid.
“When the raw cannabis plant is exposed to heat, the CBDa loses its acid molecule and is transformed into CBD,” Mr. Boucher said. “The final product contains a small amount of CBDa and a generous amount of CBD.”
Not all CBD is created equal, and not all hemp ingredients contain CBD. Further, not all non-CBD hemp oil ingredients contain the same nutrient profile. They vary in protein, fat, fiber and other nutrient contents.
“Some products such as hemp seed oil, hemp protein and hemp hearts don’t typically contain CBD. They are common food ingredients due to their beneficial nutritional content,” said Drew Hathaway, senior food scientist, Caliper and Ripple. “Hemp hearts and hemp seed oil are highly nutritious ingredients as they’re rich in two essential unsaturated fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). Hemp protein is emerging as a trendy way of adding sustainable plant-based protein to a variety of products and could work well in many products that already contain another plant-based protein such as pea protein, as they have similar functionality.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Donna Berry on Food Business News
Published: August 23, 2022
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