Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at UPenn and the lead author of the study, told CNN that while the findings weren't surprising to him, they were worrisome.
CBD products sold in liquid form-for use with vaping devices-were mislabeled about 88% of the time, while CBT oils were mislabeled about 55% of the time.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a molecule found in cannabis believed to have therapeutic properties.
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The study team informed, "Discrepancies between federal and state cannabis laws have resulted in inadequate regulation and oversight, leading to inaccurate labeling of some products".
The new study was published today (Nov. 7) in the journal JAMA.
In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the medicinal use of CBD, a chemical that naturally occurs the in cannabis plant (aka "marijuana").
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Now that 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, the online presence of extracts containing CBD has grown significantly because CBD has shown great potential for treating a variety of conditions, including pain, anxiety, and epilepsy. "Reaching compliance with existing standards for cannabis-products could help address this issue". Currently, only retailers possessing full medical marijuana licenses are allowed to sell CBD products within Israel and even then, there are restrictions which permit manufacturing and selling of only the flowers, oils and capsules exclusively to license holders. Wayne Hall of the National Addiction Center at Kings College London and the Center for Youth Substance Abuse Research at the University of Queensland said in an email to Reuters, "Because the industry is still illegal under USA federal law, there has been very little oversight by the FDA and other bodies that are meant to protect consumer health".
To understand the extent of this problem, the researchers analyzed 84 cannabidiol products they bought online from 31 different companies.
The researchers found that the observed CBD concentration varied from 0.1 to 655.27 mg/mL (median, 9.45 mg/mL); the median labeled concentration was 15 mg/mL.
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They found that 42% of the products were under-labeled, meaning they contained a higher concentration of CBD than indicated. But if patients end up taking too little cannabidiol because the products are mislabeled, then they might not get a medical benefit from the drug. Only 30 percent of CBD products purchased contained an actual CBD content that was within 10% of the amount listed on the product label. "The biggest implication [of the study] is that many of these patients may not be getting the proper dosage; they're either not getting enough for it to be effective or they're getting too much". The team concluded there was a need for manufacturing and testing standards if CBD products are going to be used for medicinal purposes.