When it comes to CBD, products aren't always what they want you to see them to be

click to enlarge Accuracy on the label isn't a strong suit of CBD products. - KIMBERLY BOYLES/ADOBE STOCK PHOTO
Kimberly Boyles/Adobe Stock photo
Accuracy on the label isn't a strong suit of CBD products.

A study published this month in the Journal of Cannabis Research sheds some light on a part of the cannabis industry that has operated simultaneously in the mainstream and the shadows.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has exploded on the market in recent years, and not just in dispensaries or head shops. CBD began appearing on grocery store shelves, coffee shop menus and in products meant for pets. The sudden ubiquity of CBD products gave them a semblance of legitimacy. While many are legit, the fact remains that CBD's presence in the marketplace is the result of a gray area in federal regulation, and gray areas are often populated by those seeking to work through or exploit loopholes in the law.

Researchers from the University of Kentucky published a study this month looking into the accuracy of the dosage measurements on packaging of CBD products available to the general public. The researchers looked at 80 products available both locally in Kentucky and nationally, and found that nearly half of the products tested were outside of a 10 percent margin of error when it came to reporting the amount of CBD they contained.

"These data suggest that additional regulation is required to ensure label accuracy as nearly half of the products in this study were not properly labeled," the study concludes. "The results of this study support the continued need for good manufacturing practices and testing standards for CBD products."

Simply put, just because a CBD-containing product tells you it has a certain amount of CBD isn't necessarily enough for you to believe that to be fact.

The researchers found that of the products they tested, some had far more CBD than was advertised, while others had far less. Products having far more CBD pose obvious risks, in that users may think they're taking a certain dose but are in fact taking more. Products having far less could be considered simply a scam. Either way, it's not great.

This is because CBD became effectively legalized when Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and, by extension, CBD. But the federal government still considers cannabis, which it sees as distinct from industrial hemp, as illegal. THC, which gets you high, remains illegal federally. But CBD, from hemp, is fine. In reality, both come from the same plant. The result is a massive gray area with very little regulation.

"The findings reported here emphasize the continued need for clear and consistent regulation from federal and state agencies to ensure label accuracy of CBD products and subsequent enforcement," the study's authors found. ♦

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