Study Shows Nearly 70 Percent of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online Are Mislabeled


Currently, only retailers possessing full medical marijuana licenses are allowed to sell CBD products within Israel and even then, there are restrictions which permit manufacturing and selling of only the flowers, oils and capsules exclusively to license holders. Discrepancies between federal and state cannabis laws have resulted in inadequate regulation and oversight, leading to inaccurate labeling of some products.

Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, of the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn, headed a team of scientists who bought and analysed 84 mail order CBD products. Products considered to be "accurately labeled" contained 90 to 110 percent of the labeled value of CBD. Only 30 percent of products contained CBD content within 10% of the level listed on the product label.

"This is a medication that is often used for children with epilepsy, so parents could be giving their child THC without even knowing it", Bonn-Miller said.

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For the study, Bonn-Miller and his colleagues spent a month searching the Internet and purchasing 84 products, from 31 different companies, that included CBD content on their packaging. Some health professionals say that's a public health concern.

Lack of regulation has also led to "fake" CBD products. Because of the variability between products, it can also be hard for patients to expect consistent results.

CBD is the non-psychoactive component present in cannabis, which can be really effective in treating a series of conditions. "Number one, I might not be getting any therapeutic effect, and number two I'm probably spending a decent amount of money for CBD that I'm not actually getting". This concentration may be enough to induce intoxication or impairment, especially among children, the researchers said.

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A 2015 study by the same group of researchers found similar mislabeling among edible marijuana samples. The primary reason for this is that CBD is now classified as a Schedule I controlled unsafe substance by the DEA, despite having been legalized for medicinal use in many states.

"The big problem, with this being something that is not federally legal, is that the needed quality assurance oversight from the Food and Drug Administration is not available". The DEA, and the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, consider CBD a Schedule 1 substance without a valid medical use. Business experts estimate that the market for CBD products will grow to more than $2 billion in consumer sales within the next three years. The team concluded there was a need for manufacturing and testing standards if CBD products are going to be used for medicinal purposes. One drug company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is now pursuing FDA approval on a CBD-based treatment for children with a rare form of epilepsy - but beyond that, the industry remains unregulated, and Bonn-Miller warns consumers should be wary of what they're purchasing online.

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