The CBD industry is very new, and FDA regulations are not yet in place. Even so, hundreds of CBD products are currently available on the market, and it’s hard to tell the good products from the bad. This article talks about some of the dangers of bad CBD products and how to differentiate between the many different options on the market.
Scope of the Problem
It’s estimated that 7% of Americans are already using CBD in some form, and the number is expected to grow to 10% by 2025. At the same time, the FDA has not yet come out with regulations for the sale and distribution of these products. Labeling is often inaccurate and misleading.
One study analyzed 84 products from 31 different companies and found that less than a third of the products were accurately labeled with respect to CBD content. Another study found that only 51% of tested products came within 20% of the amount of CBD shown on the label, with some containing no CBD at all.
The current lack of regulations allows for bad actors to lie on their product labels. Even for the companies that mean well (and we believe most do), the lack of regulation and confusion in the market makes it difficult for them to regulate themselves for quality. Poor quality CBD products may eventually lead to a consumer backlash, and the industry as a whole will suffer. This is why many of us in the CBD industry are looking forward to the FDA’s upcoming regulation guidelines, which are expected sometime in 2020.
What are the Dangers of Bad CBD?
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means that the plant pulls toxins from the soil and the air. If the hemp is grown in a place with a lot of pollution or pesticide use, those chemicals end up in the plant material, and may be passed on to the consumer.
For example, a lot of hemp is grown in Northern China, where it absorbs airborne pollutants like “black dust,” or heavy metals from the soil, resulting in low-quality, toxic CBD products. Other dangers can include agricultural pesticides, diseases, mold, and bacteria.
The extraction process matters too. Some processes, like CO2 extraction, involve expensive equipment that can drive the price of the finished product up, while other processes are cheaper and easier, using readily available solvents. It’s possible that even high quality hemp can be contaminated from additives and chemicals used in the extraction and production processes.
When it comes to CBD, we recommend that you not bargain shop. New customers wanting an inexpensive introduction may gravitate toward the low-cost options, not realizing that they could be buying a contaminated product. The popularity of the search term “cheap CBD” shows that many people find these lower-quality products attractive.
Poor quality CBD products can also contain THC at levels higher than shown on the label, which can unexpectedly alter your consciousness, or result in a failed drug test. Synthetic marijuana has also been detected in some low-quality CBD products.
What can be done?
In addition to avoiding the cheapest CBD products, there are several other easy ways to avoid buying bad CBD. Here are a few:
- Only buy products made from USA-grown hemp.
- Look for products that have been batch tested by an independent third-party laboratory for purity and accuracy of CBD measurements.
- Buy online or in reputable stores. Avoid buying CBD at gas stations, convenience stores, or places that don’t have an interest in keeping you as their long-term customer.
- Buy from reputable brands that have been around for a while.
- Avoid certain types of CBD products. In the studies mentioned earlier, CBD oils were the most accurately labeled, while food products were less so. Vaping liquid was the most frequently mislabeled, and can have wildly inconsistent CBD/THC amounts.
- Organic sourcing is a good sign.
- Pay attention to packaging. The package should look professional, be properly sealed, and clearly state how much CBD is in the product. Important note: “Hemp extract” may or may not contain CBD.
- Avoid products with artificial flavorings and excessive ingredients.
How is CBD Plaza different?
One of our value offerings at CBD Plaza is that our selection of CBD products has been carefully pre-vetted. We only sell products made from USA-grown hemp, we only sell products that have been batch tested by third-party labs, we only carry products from reputable brands, and all of the companies we do business with are properly insured.
Furthermore, we self-regulate. We don’t sell vape or flower products. Even though these products are legal, it is difficult to properly regulate dosages, not to mention the negative effects of smoke inhalation.
CBD Plaza works hard to stay ahead of industry regulations and we welcome the eventual regulation of the industry.