Fitness & Nutrition

Is CBD Gluten-Free?

By Jyssica Schwartz

This is one of the most-asked questions when it comes to CBD. Many people are staying gluten-free these days, whether it is for health reasons, fitness, wellness, or other things. There are a lot more gluten-free options on the market for food and drink products, in addition to recreational and medicinal edibles. 

Gluten is a category of proteins found in grains, such as rye, wheat, oat, semolina, farro, barley, and the derivatives of them, like malt, durum, spelt, and triticale. Gluten is found in most breads, cakes, cookies, tortillas, and more.

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system, the major network that keeps functions running and moving their best and there are potential benefits to using CBD, including relieving pain, anxiety, and inflammation. 

Let’s start with the short answer: Pure CBD/hemp oil is definitely gluten-free. In fact, there are even those who treat celiac disease with CBD.

CBD oil (or hemp oil) is a botanical extract made from the hemp plant, which is naturally free of gluten. So anything coming directly from the hemp plant with no additives, flavorings, or preservatives is definitely gluten-free.

As a disclaimer, you always want to be sure you’re purchasing organic CBD from trusted sources.

What CBD Products Contain Gluten?

So, the hemp plant is gluten-free. Let’s get into the types of CBD products which can or do contain gluten. This is important to know if you’re maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle. Most organic and high-quality CBD products are gluten-free, but not every single one. It is extremely important that you read the ingredients and know what you’re putting in your body.

For using CBD, there are 5 general ways you can take it:

These first four categories are almost always gluten-free and safe:

Isolates are powder and the purest form of CBD and are gluten-free.

Sublingual means you put it under your tongue and it dissolves, getting into your bloodstream faster. Flavorless CBD oil can be dropped under your tongue alone or mixed with other flavors and tinctures.

Pills are typically filled with pure CBD powder and are gluten-free if pure.

Creams, salves, and lotions are rubbed onto your skin and not ingested. While the Mayo Clinic has said gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, you apply creams with your hands, which means you can get it in your eyes or mouth by accident. If you aren’t sure if it’s gluten-free, you will want to make sure you are not applying these lotions to your face and wash your hands immediately and thoroughly after applying. 

Possible gluten-containing ingredients in skincare products include triticum vulgare, which is derived from wheat, hordeum vulgare, derived from barley, and tocopherol acetate (a form of vitamin E), which is often derived from wheat.

Vaping oils are typically very pure and do not generally contain any gluten. 

These last two categories are where it is important to watch for gluten:

CBD Edibles are any food or candy that has been infused or cooked with CBD. This is the most difficult one to be sure is gluten-free, because of the more extensive number of ingredients and because some food products and additives contain gluten. Remember to check the ingredients—don’t just look for the “gluten-free!” label. 

CBD-infused drinks are the newest thing to hit the market for CBD users. Just as with the edibles, these drinks commonly have many ingredients and additives and can easily contain gluten. 

If you are at all concerned with whether your edible or drink contains gluten, we highly recommend you stay safe and healthy and try using CBD in the other available forms.

Carrier Oils & Gluten

Most of the commonly used carrier and essential oils are gluten-free and produced from plants that do not contain gluten. Coconut oil, for example, is naturally gluten-free and safe. 

The only exceptions we have seen is with the use of wheat germ oil in some topical applications and some users with gluten intolerances have said oat oil and hay absolute (highly aromatic liquids extracted from plants) have caused some reactions. If you are gluten-intolerant, watch out for these.

This information is specifically for pure oils and not any blended products or fragrance/perfume oils. 

What To Look Out For

Even though hemp seeds themselves do not contain gluten, it’s important to note that some processing plants for hemp seeds also process barley, oats, and other gluten-containing products, which means there is a chance of cross-contamination. Also, farms with barley or wheat growing near the hemp plant can also cause cross-contamination. 

The same holds true for carrier oils, as they are derived directly from plants and can be grown or processed near gluten-containing crops.

Still, there are many gluten-free products available for CBD users.

Celiac Disease & CBD

For the last few years, as it has become more popular and widely-accessible, CBD has been the subject of a lot of medical research regarding its ability to fight pain, nausea, inflammation, anxiety, headaches, seizures, and treat the pain associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis, cancer, and the effects of chemotherapy. Here is a fantastic article from the Daily Marijuana Observer by a doctor discussing many of these studies and linking to them.

Celiac disease is also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy and is an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten breaks down the intestinal walls in your body causing inflammation and pain. When the person eats gluten, the inflammation makes it hard for the intestines to absorb essential nutrients and can kill off your appetite and cause weight loss. 

CBD oil has been used in recent years to help control the symptoms and pains of celiac disease. It works by the CBD molecules being captured by the cannabinoid receptors in your intestinal tract and producing a metabolic cascade to help with inflammation. The CBD reduces inflammation and nausea, allowing the body to absorb needed nutrients and have their appetite back. 

Interesting fact: The main difference between actual celiac disease and more general gluten sensitivity or intolerance (which affects up to 10% of people) is that gluten intolerance does not do irreparable damage to the gut lining, whereas celiac disease does. 

Conclusion

Whether you are gluten-free due to medical necessity or for general health and wellness reasons, it is always important to know what is safe and where potential issues can arise. Always check ingredients and be safe in your use of CBD.

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