Cannabis Beer Will Be Gluten-Free

Courtesy of Mark Johnson, President CCA Ottawa Chapter

According to numerous sources, scientists in Canada are working on marijuana beer. Canadian company Province Brands, out of Toronto, has filed a provisional patent for “the world’s first beers brewed from the cannabis plant”. And they will be gluten-free!

While there are already beers and wine out there that are laced with cannabis, this will be a first in that it will be entirely brewed from cannabis. The company says its product will be “alcohol-free, yet highly intoxicating”, and low in sugar and calories. And no gluten – instead of barley, the beer is brewed from the stalks, stem, and roots of the cannabis plant – which offers the added benefit of using what is essentially a waste product for the industry.

According to company spokesperson Dooma Wendschuh, “The flavor is dry, savory, less sweet than a typical beer flavor. The beer hits you very quickly, which is not common for a marijuana edible.” After various “horrible … rotten broccoli” taste-test rounds, the flavor was perfected with the help of a chemist. They eventually hit on the right combination of hops, water, yeast – and cannabis. The aim is to create a product that, when consumed, will be roughly equivalent to a single dose of alcohol.

In the early 2000s, Canada became the first country to legalize medical marijuana and, as you likely know, the government is very close to legalizing cannabis, including edibles and beverages. By sometime in 2019, all the above should be legal. While pot is already legal in several US states, the situation is tenuous, with the federal government strongly opposed, whereas in Canada, the consensus seems to be that this is the right way forward.

And it won’t just be beer! The company wants to also spin-off, according to a wine business report, “to make alcohol-free cannabis drinks like sodas, coffees and fruit-based drinks.” At Canopy Growth, North America’s first publicly traded cannabis company, researchers are already developing a line of cannabis-infused cocktails.

The cannabis industry in the US alone was worth almost $7 billion in 2016, with industry experts projecting it to rise to $50 billion by 2026.


Celiac Research Tidbits – June 2018

Still getting glutened an ongoing problem

A February study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that unintentional exposure to gluten may be greater than was previously thought. One of the study’s authors, herself a celiac, talked about how she was still getting sick, and used mass spectrometry to find out that some of the “glutenfree” pasta she was eating in fact contained gluten.
For more information:

Mono linked to celiac, other disorders

New research from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – best known for causing mononucleosis – also may increase the risks for some people of developing seven other major diseases, including celiac disease. Other linked diseases are: systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes.
For more information:

New wheat with less gluten coming out

Arcadia Biosciences, a California-based company, has developed wheat in which gluten has been reduced by around 60%. While this wheat will still not be safe for people with celiac disease, the company is targeting those who have gone gluten-free by choice, or feel they are sensitive – the vast majority of those who are eating GF.
For more information:

Does baby delivery method impact celiac?

Much research has been published suggesting that babies delivered by caesarean section are more likely to develop celiac disease. However, new research published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology suggests that this may not be the case. Researchers used data from administrative registers and health administrative registers from Denmark and Norway and linked the data at the individual level. The mode of delivery was not associated with an increased risk of diagnosed celiac disease.

For more information:

Celiac disease and the gluten-free diet found unlikely to impact IVF outcomes or fertility

Here’s yet another reason why those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity do not need to follow the gluten-free diet. Research presented in October by the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) indicates that the gluten-free diet is not effective as a treatment for infertility. The findings are combined from 30 different scientific studies.

While healthy eating, including a low-carb diet, is part of a holistic, evidence-based approach to treating patients with infertility at RMANJ, adhering to a gluten-free diet has been shown to have no impact on increasing fertility for those trying to conceive.

The studies are the first large research projects to investigate IVF outcomes in gluten-free patients and the frequency of celiac disease in infertile patients.

One study found that patients on a gluten-free diet had equivalent IVF success rates to those whose diet included gluten, proving that maintaining a gluten-free diet to improve IVF outcomes is a major misconception.

The other study revealed that IVF success rates were equivalent between those with celiac disease (a disease with proven gluten intolerance) and those without.

More info:

April Celiac Tidbits

By Mark Johnson

Some people are still reading and promoting the Wheat Belly book. The CCA has reviewed this book and this is not a scientifically-valid publication. We do not recommend reading this book, nor following its advice. To read a quality, scientific book on celiac disease, we encourage you to look at books like that of Shelley Case, who sits on the CCA’s Professional Advisory Council.

Confused about ingredient lists and whether there might be “hidden gluten”? Worry not. In Canada, any ingredient that contains wheat, rye, or barley gluten MUST be identified on the ingredient list. No “hidden” gluten is allowed. The only way to be certain is to look at the ingredient list on the package you are about to use.

Allergen and gluten labelling is a challenge for manufacturers. The upper limit for gluten is 20 ppm, but the limit for wheat and other primary allergens is zero. This means, legally, that a product can be gluten-free but not wheat free. This is why you may see products labelled GF but with warnings such as “may contain wheat” or “made in a facility that also processes wheat”. The gluten-free claim, which the manufacturer must be able to defend, indicates it is safe for people with celiac disease. So that’s what you need to look for as a celiac. If it has the “may contain” warning without the gluten-free claim, avoid the product. But if there’s a GF claim, it should be safe for you. The “made in
a factory…” warning does indicate that it may not be safe for someone with a wheat allergy, however.

A gluten-free market analysis by Grand View Research showed that the global gluten-free products market size was valued at USD $14.94 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow. Increasing incidences of celiac diseases & heightened gluten sensitivity in consumers has generated high demand for gluten-free foods & products in recent years. For more information, please read the full report (110 pages) at:

One of the common past-times (understandably) for celiacs is to complain about the high cost of gluten-free baked goods. It’s true, the cost is often over 200% higher than “regular” products. However, these higher costs are a result of the need for pure, gluten-free supplies. It can cost a LOT more to; a) get gluten-free flour alternatives, and b) to make sure those supplies test below 20 parts per million. The testing itself is expensive, but necessary because sick consumers and/or a recall by the CFIA can potentially ruin a business. Competition in the marketplace is fierce and that has lowered prices, but please be understanding with the pricing. If you want to learn more, we’re sure that gluten-free food manufacturers would be pleased to tell you more about the high production costs they face. Please support these businesses, who make life easier for us!

Childhood Respiratory Infections Linked With Celiac Disease

Findings published recently in the journal Pediatrics reported that the number of at-risk children – or those with relatives who have celiac disease – who go on to develop celiac disease seems to be increasing. And recently, Dr. Renata Auricchio, from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, set out to understand why this might be the case.

Studies have pointed toward infections in childhood as a potential trigger of celiac disease in those who are genetically susceptible. For instance, a 2013 study found that the presence of rotavirus antibodies could predict the onset of celiac disease.

Similarly, in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, children who had experienced 10 or more infections before reaching the age of 18 months had a significantly increased risk of developing celiac disease than children who had had four or fewer.

Many earlier investigations into infections and celiac disease relied on parental recall of infections and have included a general cross-section of the population. However, to gather more detailed information, the new study used a prospective cohort. In other words, the team studied a group of infants known to be at risk of developing celiac disease and followed them for 6 years.

As the authors explain, the study’s aim was “to explore the relationship between early clinical events (including infections) and the development of CD [celiac disease] in a prospective cohort of genetically predisposed infants.

Across the study, 6 percent of the children were diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 3, 13.5 percent at age 5, and 14 percent by age 6. They also found that “[c]ompared with gastroenteritis, respiratory infections during the first 2 years of life conferred a twofold increase in the risk of developing CD [celiac disease].”

When discussing how early infections might impact the later development of celiac disease, the authors write:
“It is possible that […] early infection stimulates a genetically predisposed immune profile, which contributes to the switch from tolerance to intolerance to gluten.”

More info:

Treated Malt Beer Still Not Safe For Celiacs

beer-not-gluten-freeMisinformation by bartenders and beer sellers is still prevalent, so routinely we feel it necessary to issue the following reminder.

NO beer made with malt is considered safe for people with celiac disease.  Not mainstream beers, and not enzyme treated beers. Examples include Estrella, Celia and Omission.

Current technology can not accurately measure the amount of gluten in beer. It doesn’t matter that the company says their beer tests at 3 ppm or 10 ppm, or whatever. We feel that those numbers are not reliable. Other people drinking the beer without apparent symptoms doesn’t make it safe.

Recognize that this restriction is just a bad part of having celiac disease and find your new drink.

Celiac Research Update February 2018

by Mark Johnson, CCA National

Would you eat bread with wheat flour, if it was safe? Scientists in the UK are experimenting with genetically modified wheat that does not include the gluten that would trigger a reaction in a celiac. It’s still very early in the game, and much gene work remains to be done, but wouldn’t that be exciting? Some trials with the new wheat are taking place in Mexico and Spain. It’ll be interesting to see the results? For more information about the GM wheat, please visit:

Researchers at the University of Toronto studied the blood work of nearly 3,000 people and found that celiac cases were undiagnosed approximately 90% of the time. Ahmed El-Sohemy, a professor of nutritional science at the University of Toronto, wanted to see whether celiac disease results in subpar nutrition because of poorer absorption of vitamins and minerals. To find out, he needed data on the frequency of undiagnosed celiac disease. The findings reinforced that celiac disease occurs in around 1% of the population, but the vast majority who have it do not know they have it. To read more, please visit:

A lot of celiacs feel that cannot tolerate oats. But the science shows only about 4% of us actually have problems with oats. You may feel “glutened” after eating oats but remember that oats are very high in fibre and can cause gastrointestinal issues if you have too much too quickly. Ease back into oats slowly, to allow your system to adapt. And of course stick to safe, clean, uncontaminated oats like those from Only Oats and Cream Hill Estates. Oats are a healthy and delicious option for us – enjoy!

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK are looking to gain an understanding of how people who have one sibling with an autoimmune disease feel about and manage their own health. This is an area of psychology which has not been studied very much before. If you know someone who would like to participate, please direct them to

According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, infection with reovirus, a common but harmless virus, may trigger the immune system response to gluten that leads to celiac disease. The study was published in the journal Science and it suggests that certain viruses play a role in the development of autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. This raises a possibility that a vaccine could be developed in future to treat celiac disease! For more information, please visit:

Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital are currently recruiting 500 infants (250 in the US and 250 elsewhere) to participate in their new study that plans to look at the various factors that affect celiac disease’s development. A skilled group of doctors and scientists will conduct a study called Celiac Disease Genomic Environmental Microbiome and Metabolic (CDGEMM), in order to understand and identify the various factors that are associated with the development of celiac disease. The study is led by Dr. Alessio Fasano and they’ll be hoping to find a pattern, which would lead the team to create a treatment and predict the disease’s development. For more information, please visit

Research published recently showed that concludes that oral symptoms can precede gastrointestinal symptoms in celiac disease, and be useful in diagnosis. In addition to celiac, oral problems can show up in the presence of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. These symptoms may be key to identifying celiac earlier on, to reduce the current average delay of 11 years between the onset of symptoms and a firm diagnosis. To read more about this research, please visit

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

wheat grain on stalk

wheat grain on stalkFor those of you with gluten sensitivity, please do not feel abandoned by the celiac research community. We can understand it is frustrating when friends and family may think you are lying and when popular media continually leaves you out of the “must eat gluten-free” group.

There are a lot of top name researchers who are making real progress in identifying what is triggering these reactions. The scientific community has made significant strides and is continuing to study why this is happening and what the indicators might be.

Today there is some pretty good evidence that some people may be dealing with FODMAP issues and others may be reacting to another component of wheat (amylase/trypsin inhibitors). This was in the theoretical discussion stage two years ago at the International Coeliac Disease Symposium in Prague. There is even some progress on bio-markers to allow a positive diagnosis rather than a “rule out” diagnosis.

The CCA changed its mission to focus on “anyone adversely affected by gluten” despite the concern expressed by long-term members who were afraid we were going to forget about people with celiac disease. We recognize that we all face the same challenges eating safely.

To read more about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, please visit