- MLive found that all of the tested products contained CBD and were free of THC.
- Some of the products had less CBD than advertised.
The Food and Drug Administration has yet to establish regulations that allow CBD to be used in food products, but a boom of unregulated CBD products has just appeared in Michigan. Showing up in grocery store aisles and even video rental stores, these companies are exposing residents to nutraceuticals that are potentially damaging. To get to the bottom of this issue, MLive is investigating.
The investigation was specific to the most commercially available products in the Michigan CBD marketplace, and it found that the majority of these remedies are true to what they advertise on the label. However, it is important to remember that, without regulations established, this isn’t always the predicament that the industry is faced with.
Dave Crocker, the man in charge of Michigan Holistic Health in Kalamazoo, remarked,
“CBD is in a little bit of a popularity bubble. I think people that have questionable motivation have come into this industry.”
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is derived from hemp, and it has already been added to lotions and oils. Commonly, consumers will use CBD as a way to soothe anxiety, insomnia, depression, and pain. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp a legal crop, but the industry is sorely lacking in regulations and even standards for these types of products. Still, evidence suggests that CBD has medical benefits, considering that the FDA recently approved Epidiolex, which is a CBD pharmaceutical product that treats severe epilepsy conditions.
CBD is already being embraced by mainstream consumers in America in a broad way. Right now, consumers can find these types of products with nearly any retailer, though the lack of regulations means that it is necessary for consumers to do their research. Without these regulations in place, companies are saying that these remedies can do everything from treat Alzheimer’s disease to help with opioid withdrawal. As a result, the FDA has already issued warnings to many CBD companies.
Dr. Cara Poland, the medical director of addiction medicine at Spectrum Health, stated,
“There’s really no question about whether or not there are medicinal properties to be found in the derivatives of CBD and in CBD itself. That’s not up for question anymore — we can start the conversation knowing there are medicinal purposes to CBD, but we don’t know what the extent of that is.” Dr. Poland is also an assistant professor at Michigan State University.
MLive has already investigated many different products on the market in Michigan. The company purchased seven CBD products, which were submitted to PSI Laboratories in Ann Arbor to test out the cannabinoids in the formulas, their strength, and the presence of any pesticides. In the tests, all of the products contained CBD without any THC, which means their labels were accurate in that sense. However, some of the products recorded significantly less CBD than advertised, like Green Roads CBD Oil. This oil stated that it contained 23 mg of CBD in a 1 mL syringe, but the results revealed that there was actually 16.1 mg/g of CBD. In the lab tests with PSI Laboratories, there was 7.3 mg/g of CBD.
Disputing the results, Green Roads released a statement that said that the results of the lab tests show many different results than their own testing. Continuing, the statement said, “The discrepancy between the lab results is likely due to interlaboratory variance which can occur for many reasons and not due to the product itself. Green Roads has been a CBD industry pioneer in self-regulation, consumer education, and transparency, and has championed for industry regulation and standardization.” Furthermore, the company clarified that they stand by the products they offer and that consumers can scan the QR codes on their products to see the independent lab results.
Ben Rosman and Lev Spivak-Birndorf are the co-founders of PSI Laboratories, and they advise that consumers are cautious in the way that they purchase CBD. Spivak-Birndorf stated that some of the bigger vendors work to filter through products before allowing the remedies on their own shelves. He stated, “We’ve definitely seen some pretty bad ones — and many things that contain zero cannabinoids at all — far below the labeled dose by an order of magnitude.”
There are a few key phrases that consumers can look for that give some clues to what is actually inside. MLive states that these are some of the deciphered terms:
- Hemp seed oil – means that there is no CBD involved
- Hemp extract – means that there is some CBD inside
- Full-spectrum – which suggests that the product could include both THC and CBD
- Broad-spectrum – which means that CBD is probably involved without THC
While there are many ways that consumers can be careful about the products they choose, another concern with the substance is that it can interfere with the efficacy and potency of other drugs. As CBD is metabolized by the liver, anyone that wants to integrate CBD should speak with a doctor beforehand.