Some CBD products may not be all they seem, according to newly published analysis.
Researchers from the United Kingdom assessed a variety of CBD-based liquid products –– tinctures, oils, e-liquids and beverages –– that are sold online in Britain.
“Cannabidiol (CBD)-containing products are sold widely in consumer stores, but concerns have been raised regarding their quality, with notable discrepancies between advertised and actual CBD content. Information is limited regarding how different types of CBD products may differ in their deviation from advertised CBD concentrations,” the researchers wrote in an introduction to the analysis, which was published this month in the Journal of Cannabis Research.
The researchers purchased 13 aqueous tinctures, 29 oils, 10 e-liquids and 11 drinks on the internet.
“CBD concentrations were quantified in aqueous tinctures, oils and e-liquids via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and in drinks via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry,” they explained.
Ultimately, the researchers found that many of the products were misleadingly labeled.
“Measured concentrations fell -25.7 ± 17.3, -6.1 ± 7.8, -6.9 ± 4.6 and – 0.03 ± 0.06 mg/mL below advertised concentrations for aqueous tinctures, oils, e-liquids and drinks, respectively,” they wrote in their explanation of the study’s results.
“Oils deviated relatively less (-19.0 ± 14.5%) from advertised concentrations than e-liquids (-29.2 ± 10.2%), aqueous tinctures (-51.4 ± 41.4%) and drinks (-65.6 ± 36.5%; p < .01), whilst e-liquids deviated less than aqueous tinctures and drinks (p < .05), and deviation was not different between aqueous tinctures and drinks (p = .19). Only 5/63 (8%) products had measured concentrations within 10% of advertised concentrations,” the researchers added.
The researchers noted that, similar to previous studies on the subject, “few products had measured CBD concentrations within 10% of advertised concentrations, with most falling below advertised concentrations.”
“All individual product types deviated from advertised concentrations, with oils deviating least. These findings may be indicative of poor manufacturing standards, or that CBD undergoes degradation in consumer products,” they wrote in their conclusion. “This reinforces concerns over quality of CBD-containing consumer products and may highlight the need for improved regulation of such products.”
CBD products have proliferated considerably around the world in recent years, including in the United States. But although they are legal, those products are often woefully unregulated, leaving consumers in the dark as to what is –– and isn’t –– in the stuff that they are buying.
Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill reintroduced legislation that would place CBD products under the regulatory eye of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Despite being legally grown in the United States for nearly five years, hemp and hemp-derived CBD are still in a regulatory gray zone that puts consumers at risk and holds producers back,” said Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, one of the co-sponsors of the bill. “The FDA says it needs Congress to act. We’ve got the bill to ensure equal and safe access to hemp-derived CBD.”
In a press release, the group of senators and representatives explained that currently “the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibits any new dietary ingredient, food, or beverage from entering the market if it has been studied or approved as a drug.”
“The FDA has the authority to exempt items from this prohibition, but has yet to exempt hemp-derived CBD, despite Congressional action to legalize its production and sale. By exempting hemp- derived CBD from the prohibition, the Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act will allow FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD like all other new dietary ingredients, foods, and beverages,” the press release said.