New analysis shows CBD products are not sold as advertised

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Not since the Beatles showed up in America has a fad as popular as cannabidiol (CBD) made the country swoon. The cannabis compound, while it does not have the power to get the user stoned, has gained a significant amount of notoriety over the past few years as an alternative to medicines designed to snuff out pain, anxiety and depression. This in spite of the fact that there isn’t a heck of a lot of evidence showing how it actually works. But that doesn’t matter to the American people. Blind faith is their Modus Operandi. Much like it does for God, country and fast food, the population has just decided to trust that these products are everything they are advertised to be. It’s part of the reason that the CBD industry, a sector that was given a real boost last year with the legalization of industrial hemp, is predicted to become a $22 billion market by 2024.

Americans are already throwing their hard-earned money at CBD  in hopes that it will knock out whatever ails them. Yet, according to a recent analysis from the folks at CBS News, it turns out that some of the CBD products sold in grocery stores, truck stops and other retail outlets probably do not have what it takes to be called medicine. It’s a lesson in buyer beware.

The news source recently commissioned Mile High Labs in Colorado to test a handful of CBD products from across the country in pursuit of discrepancies. And boy, did they find them. Among other things, the lab tested to see if any of the products contained dangerous chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals. “We test for four different heavy metals: mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead,” senior lab associate Joshua Cogell told CBS correspondent Barry Petersen.

Fortunately, the CBD products they put under the microscope didn’t have any more rotten ingredients than what the federal government allows. After all, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits a certain amount of rat feces in our food products, so allowing a little heavy metals in our CBD wouldn’t be out of character. That’s an issue that will surely get hashed out once the agency figures out how it wants to regulate CBD. But for now, it’s Thunderdome out there, and anything goes.

The greatest discrepancy the report shows is with respect to dosage. Four of the nine samples tested were shown to contain what was advertised on the label. Others were not that accurate. Two of the products had only around 60 to 80% of the advertised dosage, while some contained 10% more. One CBD product tested over 200% more than what was printed on the label.

“This last sample claimed 500 milligrams in the bottle, and we measured 210% in the bottle,” Cogell said.

The problem with the present CBD business model in the United States is there are no federal controls to keep cannabis companies in line. They can put almost anything in those products, cutting corners that make the process more conducive to their bottom line and Uncle Sam isn’t going to show up to give them a spanking. Nope. As long as a CBD producer isn’t making any medical claims, like “Our product cures cancer,” all is good in the neighborhood as far as the U.S. government is concerned. So, of course, there is plenty of room for crooks to capitalize on the CBD craze. It’s just a matter of sorting these people out, which, considering the saturation, is no easy task.

“Right now, there’s no one enforcing any of those things,” said Steve Mueller, founder of Mile High Labs. “It’s sort of up to the companies to do it themselves.”

This is not the first time researchers discovered that CBD is not being produced at the highest standards. A report published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that around 40% of the CBD products purchased online contain less of the ingredient than what is printed on the labels. About 26% even included more significant concentrations than what was listed. Some CBD products also tested positive for enough THC (the compound that produces stoned effects) to cause a failed drug test. The results, much like the CBS inquiry, shows that these popular products simply cannot be trusted right now to deliver accuracy.

But that’s not to say that all CBD products are a veritable minefield. There are plenty of reputable cannabis companies out there that are serious about their business and making sure their products are held to specific standards. You just have to sniff them out. It might not be a bad idea to check with the U.S. Hemp Authority for certified companies all across the United States that deal with CBD. It’s definitely a better move than cruising down to your local truck stop and just hoping for the best. Because as we’re seeing more and more of since hemp legalization, there’s just too many fly by night companies doing business right now to trust just any old producer.

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