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Hemp seed products prohibited

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Some products being sold through commercial vendors contain hemp seeds, a prohibited substance for military members. The Air Force prohibits military members from ingesting any product that contains or is derived from hemp seed or hemp oil to help ensure military readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Some products being sold through commercial vendors contain hemp seeds, a prohibited substance for military members. The Air Force prohibits military members from ingesting any product that contains or is derived from hemp seed or hemp oil to help ensure military readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Plant based proteins are increasing in popularity as an eco-friendly, sustainable way to fuel workouts and meet energy needs.

One protein on the rise is the controversial hemp seed.

While hemp seeds have been consumed around the world for almost 12,000 years, the vegetarian protein source has recently been added to some favorite grocery staples and is loved by many for its soft texture, nutty flavor and nutrient rich nutritional profile.

Hemp seeds or hemp nuts are the inner portion of a shelled seed from the Cannabis sativa plant that naturally contains the substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).

High in protein and essential fatty acids, hemp seeds are common ingredients in energy bars, yogurt, granola, cereal, veggie burgers, smoothies, beverages, dips and salads. 

A 2015 report prepared for Congress on Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity details the use of the cannabis plant including industrial hemp as an agriculture crop used for food, textiles, and paper among other goods which generally contains less than 1 percent THC.

Marijuana is generally comprised of 10 percent to upwards of 30 percent.

Though food products made with hemp seeds only have trace THC amounts, the quantity may be detectable under the Air Force Drug Testing Program and use is therefore prohibited by Air Force Instruction 90-507.

Since military guidance limits the ingestion of hemp-based products for military personnel and Defense Department civilians, on base retailers such as  the Commissary, Base Exchange and General Nutrition Centers don't carry items that contain hemp seed or oil.

It's important to read ingredient labels to ensure foods and supplements are free of hemp based materials especially when shopping at off base retailers.

As for plant based proteins, there is always soy, lentils, chia, nuts and many other vegetarian protein sources too help you meet your needs.