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CBD products fail another test—with an important caveat for retailers

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Study shows only two out of 24 hemp CBD companies contained what was listed on their labels.

A new published study that deigned to check in on the quality status of hemp CBD finished product brands found that out of 24 products tested, a paltry two passed label claim—meaning they contained what was listed on their labels.

One product—a vape liquid—contained a buzz-worthy 45% THC. That’s the cannabinoid that gets you high. By law, hemp CBD products are mandated to contain no more than 0.3% THC. CBD itself has no euphoric effects.

“From this small, but diverse, sampling of hemp-derived merchandise,” said researchers, “it appears that most product label claims do not accurately reflect actual CBD content and are fraudulent in that regard.”

It certainly demonstrates the hemp CBD business remains in its infancy, with quite a bit of maturing to do.

It’s notable that 14 products tested were vape liquids, five were ingestible oils, two were honey sticks, two were beverage shots and one was a topical cream.

“It would be more interesting if more oral products were included,” said Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs at contract research organization Nutrasource.

And only one tested company, Colorado-based Functional Remedies, was a recognizable brand—it passed.

“These are mostly no-name brands,” said Blake Ebersole, founder and president of NaturPro Scientific, a consultancy helping companies with product development, quality compliance and manufacturing of supplements. “The products were actually purchased from convenience stores and ‘CBD shops’ as opposed to health-food stores.”

The results, published in Journal of Dietary Supplements, said the researchers obtained all the products tested in the state of Mississippi.

Fifteen of the products tested were “well below the stated claim for CBD,” according to the study, while two exceeded claims in excess of 50% and five products made no claims.

So while the test results are hardly a feather in the cap of hemp CBD brands, the jury will have to remain out on the responsible tier of product providers—all of whom take steps to vouchsafe product quality from qualifying farmers or other intermediate vendors, requesting certificates of analysis—and not just taking the results at face value but then testing those results—employing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), providing supplement-legal language on products and even listing test results available either on their websites or accessible via QR codes on product packaging.

The best-case scenario from this published study, then, is that smart retailers conduct all appropriate due diligence with brands—including spending less than a hundred bucks to take a bottle from a brand that wants to get on your store shelf and testing it independently at an analytic lab to make sure that there are no discrepancies between the label and the product itself.

The benefits of providing quality hemp CBD products is repeat customers as far as the eye can see.

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