Blockchain techonology hopes to keep CBD honest

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Olympic silver medal skier, Devin Logan, is wrapping up a three-month suspension for using a cannabis-based product she says contained higher-than-allowed levels of the banned substance, THC.

Logan expressed her disappointment on social media, saying that she made a serious mistake that she regrets completely. She explains that she was using a CBD product that she trusted did not contain more than trace amounts of THC, a cannabinoid banned by most sports organizations, only to find out by USADA that, in fact, the tests came back positive.

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The product Logan took was listed as having only trace amounts of THC — which is banned above certain thresholds by the World Anti-Doping Agency — but clearly contained more. This isn’t the first time an athlete has taken a product that had wrong information on the ingredients label — plenty of athletes have been disqualified because the nutritional supplements they used were laced with anabolic steroids — but Logan’s case appears to be the first-of-its-kind in the United States involving cannabidiol (CBD) drops.

As marijuana and marijuana-based products become more widely legalized and accepted, supplements using CBD are becoming more prevalent.

While athletes are allowed to use CBD, most sports organizations have banned THC and other cannabinoids found in cannabis; anyone taking CBD to manage pain and other symptoms is at risk of making the same mistake as Logan if they aren’t careful.

Now, instead of getting any mention on social media, the maker of the CBD oil that caused Logan’s THC-positive test and the subsequent ban is getting no love from the slopestyle star. And that’s a big deal for a company that can’t use conventional advertising — as is the way with cannabis — yet deigns to carve out a piece of the multi-billion dollar CBD industry. When it comes to cannabis, murky and misleading labels are a leading cause of brand death.

One company keeping the industry honest is doing so using blockchain technology. BlockStrain is a user-generated immutable ledger that collects, validates and stores all of the information about a product on a stable digital platform. Once entered, the data can’t be altered, only built upon, effectively eliminating the need for third-party trust organizations. BlockStrain CEO, Robert Galarza, says that while blockchain technology carries a bad rap as a cryptocurrency when it comes to protecting the integrity of data, it’s the best. BlockStrain registers and tracks data from the plant to the finished product so that customers have uncompromised information about what is in their cannabis-dosed product.

For instance, if you want to know the origins of a bottle of BlockStrain’s newest partner, AKESO CBD water, you just open the camera on your smartphone, scan the code and see for yourself. The data include real-time test results, certificates of authenticity, and any additional product information the producer would like to showcase.

In the cannabis market, Galarza is seeing labs being shopped for, not based on pricing but based on the results they can promise clients. With AKESO, they are combining high-end water with full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD and want to offer full disclosure of the contents of each bottle.

Galarza says that this is a great way for the “good players” of the industry to educate consumers about what’s in their product, or, what’s not in the product and why. Had Logan been afforded this level of honesty, she wouldn’t have been sidelined over the winter, but she takes full responsibility and hopes this will be the last case of accidental THC doping in sports.

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