Is Hemp CBD Oil Gluten Free? What You Need to Know

Posted on July 18 2019

It’s a question that’s increased in popularity over the past decade: is it gluten-free? And now it’s being asked about CBD oil.

When people are choosing what CBD oil products are right for them, whether or not they’re gluten-free are a huge consideration for a large number of the population. Celiac disease--which is an autoimmune disease in which gluten attacks the small intestines--affects 3 million Americans, and gluten sensitivities or intolerances affect even more.

Hemp CBD oil does not naturally contain gluten, but that doesn’t mean that all CBD products are completely gluten-free, and understanding the intricacies here are key to ensuring that you’re choosing a product that’s safe for you to use.

What Is Gluten and Why Does It Matter?

Gluten is a type of protein that’s found in rye, wheat, semolina, farro, and barley grains. These proteins are also naturally occurring in the derivatives of these products, which include malt, spelt, triticale, and durum.

It goes without saying, therefore, that gluten is found in a large number of foods and drinks. Commonly-known culprits include breads, cakes, and other baked goods, but gluten can often be found in many processed foods and in unexpected places like soy sauce or some beers.

Because gluten can affect people so severely--causing an autoimmune response in those with Celiac and negative symptoms for those with intolerances or sensitivities--it’s important to stick to a completely gluten-free lifestyle if you’re impacted by the protein. This includes what you put into your body as well as what you put on it; products like lotions and shampoos will even commonly include gluten as an ingredient.

Does Hemp CBD Contain Gluten?

Here’s the good news: hemp does not naturally contain gluten. This means that the CBD oil that comes from hemp does not naturally contain gluten in it, either. As long as the processing center is clean and certified gluten-free (which we’ll talk about shortly), pure CBD oil should be gluten-free.

There are even some people, in fact, who use CBD oil to counteract some of the inflammatory effects of their Celiac disease.

While pure hemp CBD oil is gluten-free, however, not all CBD products are gluten-free.

What CBD Oil Products Do Contain Gluten?

Most organic, pure CBD oil products that are high quality and regularly tested are also gluten-free. This isn’t a steadfast rule, however, especially once some lower-quality products enter the mix.

CBD oil products are not always true pure hemp CBD oil; they may have flavors, additives, scents, or other compounds added to them. Certain types of products or delivery methods are more likely than others to be affected.

CBD edibles and infused drinks are going to be the two product categories that would most likely be contaminated with gluten. Edibles include any food or candy that’s been infused with CBD, and often include extensive ingredient labels and more complex, less-clean processing centers that may cause cross-contamination.

CBD-infused drinks are rising in popularity, but like edibles, they typically come with a list of ingredients and additives and can easily contain gluten. Since many with allergies or sensitivities to gluten can be impacted by even a small amount, this is something to watch carefully. Because of this, it’s typically best to consume CBD in other forms if you’re concerned about gluten contamination.

The Products More Likely to Be Gluten-Free

The four following delivery methods are often gluten-free (but you should still always check):

  • CBD isolates, which come as a powder.
  • Pills, which are often filled with CBD oil or powder and will likely be gluten-free if pure.
  • Sublingual drops, which can be dissolved under the tongue for fast absorption into the bloodstream, and can be found without any flavors or additives.
  • Creams, salves, balms, and lotions, which can be applied directly to the skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can’t absorb gluten through the skin, though you’ll want to make sure that your hands are clean so you won’t accidentally cross-contaminate anything you do eat.

Fortunately, many topical creams and salves do not typically contain gluten.

What to Watch For

When you’re choosing CBD products, always play it safe and read those ingredient labels if you want to find one that’s gluten-free.

It’s also best to look for reputable, trusted sources of organic, high-quality CBD oil; they’re most likely to have their own processing centers (where there’s no risk of gluten contamination) along with carefully regulated testing. Smaller, less-known companies may be using processing facilities for their hemp that also manage ingredients containing gluten, opening up the possibility for contamination.

In addition to the key ingredients and their derivatives discussed above, keep an eye out for the following ingredients that may include gluten and can be found in some cosmetic products:

  • Hordeum vulgare
  • Triticum vulgare
  • Tocopherol acetate

Fortunately, there are plenty of great CBD products that are gluten-free; you just need to know where to find them. Elixinol’s products are made from hemp grown in our own farms organically, processed in our own facilities, and tested for the highest purity possible. You can learn more here.