New Study Points to Risks from Mislabeled Unregulated Cannabidiol Products

The Real Risk of Buying Medical Marijuana Online

Only one-third of marijuana extracts accurately labeled, researchers say

The team of researchers took 84 CBD products now sold online by 31 different companies and had them chemically analyzed in a lab. Only 31 percent of the products were labeled accurately; 43 percent contained higher concentrations of cannabidiol than indicated on the label, and 26 percent contained lower concentrations of cannabidiol than indicated on the label. The researchers are concerned about the products that contain less of the CBD than what is stated on the label. Studies have found, for example, that cannabidiol may help reduce seizures in children with certain types of epilepsy, and that it may help treat anxiety disorders.

A new study published this week in JAMA found that almost 70 percent of all cannabidiol (CBD) products sold online are either over or under labeled, causing potential serious harm to its consumers.

A study, published this week in JAMA, found that almost 70% of all products sold online made from cannabidiol - an extract of the marijuana plant also known as CBD - contained either higher or lower concentrations of the drug than indicated on the label. 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 researchers also point out that with the range of inconsistencies, in the past, FDA-regulated drugs showing the same degree of inconsistencies was enough to prompt the agency to issue warnings to drug makers.

"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". 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.

"Right now, if you buy a Hershey bar, you know it has been checked over; you know how many calories are in it, you know it has chocolate as an ingredient, you know how much chocolate is in there", Bonn-Miller says. Some of the products contained THC at levels that might cause children to become intoxicated or trigger a positive result for a drug test. This means some cannabidiol products may be labeled inaccurately. The team concluded there was a need for manufacturing and testing standards if CBD products are going to be used for medicinal purposes.

Dr. Bonn-Miller's study report, "Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online", was published this week in JAMA.

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