CBD is the latest hot trend. Fueled by wildly promising statements, some with evidence, some without, that it treats an array of medical conditions naturally, consumers spent over $190 million on CBD alone in 2017. By 2022, sales might well reach $646 million. However, new reports are showing a much darker side to the CBD industry, one filled with risks that consumers would be wise to avoid.
CBD oil derives from cannabidiol, or CBD, a cannabinoid extracted from marijuana or hemp plants, both members of the cannabis family. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, regulating it poses many of the same challenges as the cigarette and tobacco industries. However, CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It cannot make anybody “high,” only healthier.
CBD is legal in most states now. It is also available everywhere via online sales. Lack of federal regulation means that CBD products you find over-the-counter will not contain labels that tell you how much CBD it contains, or whether it has other ingredients that should not be there, such as residual solvents and pesticides. The only way to know if CBD is safe and reliable is to check its laboratory reports.
If a CBD product has a Certificate of Analysis, then you will know exactly how much CBD it contains, whether it is real or synthetic, if it contains poisons or other contaminants, and how much THC is in it, if any. A licensed supplier will happily share this information with you. Failure to do so could cost its operating license. If companies hesitate or outright refuse to provide this data, consider this a warning.
The best way to protect yourself from possible harm and ensure you have a real, pure CBD product capable of treating your illness effectively is to buy it from suppliers and dispensaries who test and vet their products. Random state testing recently revealed some of the horrors occurring in batches of over-the-counter CBD oils both online and in-store. These include:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scientists from the Utah Department of Health discovered a synthetic cannabinoid in CBD and hemp oil products likely responsible for 52 CBD-related poisonings a few years back in Utah. Users hallucinated, vomited, convulsed, lost consciousness, and seemingly lost their minds and all sense of reality after swallowing or vaping it.
The research team claims that since CBD remains largely unregulated, consumers are unable to determine whether the source of their “CBD” is natural or synthetic. They called for federal regulation of all CBD on the market. Then, the U.S. Army sent a warning out after 60 folks showed up with similar symptoms at Womack Army Medical in Fort Bragg and the Naval Medical Center at Camp Lejeune.
The Army subsequently banned use of all CBD products in its troops, stating, “Soldiers are prohibited from using hemp or products containing hemp oil and are also prohibited from using synthetic cannabis, to include synthetic blends using CBD oil and other THC substitutes, or “spice,” or any other substance similarly designed to mimic the effects of a controlled substance.”
More importantly, the Army Public Health Center noted in its alert bulletin, “Although some vape oils may contain CBD oil, CBD, THC, and/or synthetic cannabinoids, many vape oils do not disclose that they may contain illegal and/or potentially hazardous substances to include synthetic cannabinoids.” That is just the reality. You do not even know that the CBD you are getting is, in fact, actual CBD.
Another study, conducted in November 2017 and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers investigated the contents of 84 CBD products, which they sourced from 31 companies they found online. Results showed at least 21 percent of them containing THC, despite claiming on their labels that there was none.
Even worse, the THC levels found were sufficient to cause impairment, even outright intoxication. This is very bad for children and pets, who would never understand the effects of THC and feel frightened, even dangerously panicked, by them. It also shows in employment and other drug tests, causing users to fail them. The only solution is oversight of testing, manufacturing, and safety regulations.
Of the 84 products from 31 online companies analyzed in the same study, only 30 percent contained the actual cannabidiol level advertised on the website or stated on the label. A whopping 26 percent had less than claimed, and 43 percent contained more. Consumer Labs, an independent testing company, found concentrations ranging from 2.2 milligrams to 22.3 milligrams per dose. This is significant.
It is clear that you cannot believe the stated levels of cannabinoids. They do not actually tell you just how much CBD you are getting. To drive this home further, checks made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration back in 2015 and 2016 found concentrations as low as just one percent of that listed on some of these product’s labels. In response, CBD companies received a spate of warning letters.
Industrial hemp, the primary source of most CBD, is famous for cleaning soils of pesticides and heavy metals. It “absorbs” it, if you will. Furthermore, some growers and processors use these chemicals, as well as solvents, to extract CBD. High traces of these toxins end up in your CBD oil, but if you buy it from a licensed company that complies with regulations, laboratory results will prove it free of these risks.
Fortunately, it is possible to buy high quality, pure CBD oil and other products that contain real CBD online. Just avoid unlicensed suppliers and sellers, as well as any CBD products you find without laboratory results. Although the CBD market remains unregulated for the most part, you can keep yourself safe. Ask the company directly for a Certificate of Analysis to make certain of what you get.