A recent analysis of lab testing data has found that one out of four consumer CBD products is not tested for impurities including pesticides, heavy metals and microbial contamination. The investigation also discovered that the vast majority of CBD consumer goods are not labeled with accurate information detailing the potency of the products.
In a report published last month, online CBD educational resource Leafreport reviewed the lab analysis data for 2,946 cannabidiol (CBD) products from 136 brands to determine how many companies test their products for purity and potency. The investigation also looked for discrepancies between the amount of CBD advertised on product packaging and the actual potency revealed by lab testing. With more and more consumers trying CBD to treat health conditions including anxiety, inflammation and pain, transparency in labeling can help them achieve the results they desire.
The study relied on certificate of analysis (COA) reports published on each brand’s website for every product listed. Statisticians took note of the number of products offered by each brand, the percentage of products that have been tested for CBD potency, and the percentage of potency-tested products that tested within an acceptable variance of ± 10% of the labeled amount. The percentage of products that had been tested for purity was also noted, as were the percentages of products that were specifically tested for the presence of pesticides, heavy metals and microbial contamination.
One In Four CBD Products Not Tested For Purity
Leafreport found that 25% of brands did not carry out any purity testing, noting that analyzing for contaminants is more expensive than potency testing. Only 13% of CBD brands carried out purity testing for at least 90% of their products to determine the presence of pesticide residue, heavy metals or microbial contamination. More than a third of brands (35%) published test results for only 10% or less of their offerings.
Dr. Stuart Titus, the former CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. and now a spokesperson for the family of hemp CBD brands, told Leafreport that all CBD products should be tested for contamination by an independent laboratory. Test results for the company’s brand HempMeds are available online.
“Third-party lab testing is extremely important for the industry as wholesalers and consumers need to know the exact ingredients that make up a final, finished product that will be delivered to the market,” Titus explained. “The purity of the product – that there are no residual toxins, pesticides, heavy metals or other contaminants – makes for a consumer-safe product. Many children take non-psychoactive forms of cannabis and certainly doctors and parents want to know that the product is lab-tested and assured safe for the child.”
CBD Potency Testing Also Important
The CBD industry as a whole is doing a better job of reporting testing results for the potency of the cannabinoid in their products. Leafreport’s analysis found that only 4% of brands listed test results for 10% or fewer of their products. Still, only 42% of brands test at least 90% of their products for potency and share their third-party lab results with consumers. The review also found that the potency determined by independent lab testing frequently did not match the strength advertised on product labels, with 84% of potency-tested products not testing within 10% of the advertised amount of CBD.
Titus said potency testing can help ensure that accurate information about the product’s cannabinoid concentrations is communicated to consumers.
“Potency testing is important as consumers want to know about the active ingredients – and how much they will be taking per serving,” Titus said. “Often, children with epilepsy will be “dosed” or served according to their body weight and will require a specific amount of product (likely CBD) to control seizure episodes.”
10 Transparent CBD Brands
The analysis from Leafreport also listed the 10 most transparent and accurate CBD brands, based on test results for potency and purity. Stuart Tomc, the senior vice president for business development for CV Sciences, says that his company’s PlusCBD brand made the list because they are tested multiple times.
“At CV Sciences, we do not cut corners. Our PlusCBD products undergo rigorous in-house testing for safety, quality, and consistency throughout the manufacturing process,” Tomc writes in an email. “In addition, all PlusCBD products undergo third-party testing to double verify what is in the bottle matches what is on the label, and we publish certificates of analysis showing results of in-house and third-party testing on our website.”
Transparency and accuracy from CBD brands aren’t only issues for consumer products. A separate analysis by Leafreport found that 56% of pet CBD products had inaccurate label claims.
Read More: New Report Finds 25% Of CBD Products Are Not Tested For Purity