More Than Half Of Medical Cannabidiol Products Sold Online Mislabeled: Study


A study finds that a majority of medicinal cannabidiol (CBD) products in the online market are actually mislabeled. This could cause potential harm to the growing number of CBD users.

Too Much, Too Little, Just Right

A team of researchers tested the labeling accuracy of medicinal CBD products online and found that nearly 70 percent of them are mislabeled. For a month, the researchers identified and purchased CBD products that had CBD labeled as a product content on the packaging. They then analyzed the 84 products from 31 different companies using high-performance liquid chromatography and found that 42 percent of the products were under-labeled, or had higher concentrations of CBD than is stated in the packaging, while 26 percent were over-labeled, or had lower concentrations of CBD than claimed.

Among the tested products, only 30 percent were found to be within the acceptable range, or 10 percent within the concentration indicated on the label.

What's The Danger?

Researchers note that it has yet to be proven that CBD is dangerous in high concentrations. Still, the potential clinical benefits to the patients may be compromised by the over- or under-dosed CBD products.

"The biggest implication is that many of these patients may not be getting the proper dosage; they're either not getting enough for it to be effective or they're getting too much," said Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and lead author of the study.

What's more, some of the tested products were found to contain significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical compound in cannabis that makes people feel "high." This is a significant finding as many people, even children, are beginning to use CBD to treat their conditions. As such, parents could have been unknowingly giving their children THC.

CBD Clinical Use And Regulation

In recent years, more and more people have been turning to CBD when their prescription medications fail to yield the results that they want. Researchers are still continuous in studying the potential health benefits of cannabis, and many members of the public have embraced cannabis and its medicinal properties.

For instance, CBD is already being used by some to reduce seizures among children with seizure disorders like epilepsy, while California's Salk Institute is fighting a legal battle to develop an Alzheimer's treatment from cannabis. A parent has also shared her story of how cannabis cookies helped her son with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

However, CBD is still classified by the DEA as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance. Because of this, people who need CBD do not have ease of access to the products and rely solely on online and other retailers that are not regulated.

"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. There are currently no standards for producing, testing, or labeling these oils," said Bonn-Miller.

The study was published in JAMA.

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